Employers learn about day in the life of National Guard soldier - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Employers learn about day in the life of National Guard soldier

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - It's not every day civilians get to board a military helicopter.

The aircraft can be used in overseas missions -- though one Wednesday flight took a sightseeing trip around Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

It's called the Center of Influence flight, a chance for employers to learn more what members of the Iowa National Guard do when they miss work to train.

"Really, really interesting," said Terrance Williams, Nationwide Agribusiness President and CEO. "Had a good time doing that."

It's also important, say officials with the Guard.

"Employees are going to be gone for a couple weeks and just want the employers to know what their employees are doing," said Corey Crain of the Iowa National Guard.

The actual flight is just part of the day.

The employers also spend time at the Reserve Center learning what the guard does when they're training. Guardsmen show off their gear and vehicles and the civilians get to try their hands at shooting military weapons, thanks to this simulator.

"It was an opportunity for us to learn more about what goes on and what they do," said Melissa Beastrom with Community 1st Credit Union.

"The opportunity just to be here around the armory to see how they're trained with weapons simulations, and now some of the things we're going through with some of the EMTs and other things, it just gives a different perspective," said Williams.

Thanks to Guardsmen and the Iowa Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), dozens of employers now have a better idea of what the life of a soldier is like.

The Iowa National Guard hosts around half a dozen Center of Influence flights around the state each year. The ESGR also offer Boss Lifts and Lunch and Learns.

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