PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (June 20, 2011) Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, poses for a photo with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve representatives Robert W. Borek, Jr (left), P. Pasha Baker (right center), and Gayle J. Lau (right) after signing an ESGR Statement of Support. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Patrick Murray)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, signed a Statement of Support June 20, proclaiming the Fleet’s commitment to its civilian employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve organization believes that if volunteer forces are to continue to serve our nation, increased public understanding is required of the essential role of the Guard and Reserve in preserving our national security. This is a key objective of the Statement of Support Program.

The signing of this document allowed Pacific Fleet to publicly announce its continued support for these employees and their families. It will affect civilian employees of all commands within the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

“I see this as an opportunity to advocate for the contributions reservists and National Guard members make,” said Walsh. “It also serves to raise the level of awareness within the community as to just how many people are involved and how fortunate we are to have them.”

There are currently 411 National Guard and Reserve members employed as civilians throughout all commands in the Pacific Fleet.

Also attending the signing ceremony were Army Reserve Ambassador P. Pasha Baker, ESGR Hawaii State Chairman Robert W. Borek, Jr., and ESGR Military Outreach Coordinator and retired Navy Captain Gayle J. Lau.

“If you look at the total armed forces structure, about half of our force is made up of guardsmen and reservists,” said Borek. “So, for the Active Duty and the guardsmen and reservists to all know that they can count on each other and work together is very, very important.”

In signing a Statement of Support, employers pledge to recognize, honor and enforce the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which protects service members' reemployment rights when returning from a period of service in the uniformed services and prohibits employer discrimination based on military service or obligation.

Employers also commit to provide their leadership with the resources necessary to effectively manage Guard and Reserve employees and to recognize and support service members and their families in peace, crisis and war.

One of the major concerns of the ESGR is to resolve conflicts between employer and employee that may arise as a result of service to the Guard or Reserves. By signing a statement of support, an employer makes a commitment to protect the rights of these employees.

“It’s very important that we put into perspective the sacrifices they have to make in order to offer up their contribution,” said Walsh. “Any time that we can take to pause and recognize the work that they do and the contributions they make is very important.”