BLACKFOOT – A group of Blackfoot locals made the trip across the state to experience the military life for a two-day excursion known as Boss Lift. The Boss Lift program was designed to bring supervisors and business owners onto a military base and experience what the men and women in uniform do on a daily basis as well as increasing the understanding of potential employers of National Guardsmen and women.
Jeff Deru and Nick Transtrum were joined by one of their fishing buddies for an experience that can only be described as life-changing. "I gained a completely new respect for those who serve our communities," Deru exclaimed, which he incorporated emergency responders and police officers into the statement. "It was a life changing event for me," Deru added.
The two-day trip included a plethora of activities that ranged from flying in Blackhawk helicopters to flying an A-10 Warthog in a simulator. Deru admitted that he has always wanted to fly in a helicopter, but it had to be an exciting flight and that this checked that off the list.
When it came time to interact with the simulators, Deru took part in every one that he could. His group took their turn on the tank simulator, Bradley support vehicle simulator, and the Humvee simulator. While doing his duty as the turret gunner on the Humvee, Deru claimed it made him feel like a teenager again. The turret gunner is positioned standing up through the humvee, and is tasked with manually maneuvering the gun to provide appropriate support for the rest of the unit onboard. Deru explained that after he performed this role, he stepped out of the simulator sweating from head to toe, but feeling accomplished when service members started referring to him as "gunner." He explained that his humvee driver kept driving their targets, and it came to the point where he started shouting orders to the others in the humvee. "Stop, get out, shoot!" Deru exclaimed. Each of the simulators are indoors, but after proper amounts of training with the simulations, service members are able to carry out the same combat tasks because they have received the training necessary.
Although they also were able to do the tank simulator, Deru spoke about actually crawling in and out of the tanks. He explained that it was not the easiest task but it was a great experience nonetheless.
Besides interacting with the simulators, the people were able to shoot M-14s and were able to inspect a sniper rifle. Adding to the firepower, they took a tour of the A-10 Warthog hanger where the service members opened all the bomb hatches and the belly of the plane showing the large chain-style guns that the A-10 is famous.
The Boss Lift program brought over 100 people out to participate in military life and what it means to fight for their country. Meals were provided, including a large banquet, along with meals-ready-to-eat (MREs). The participants were divided into three units: red, white, and blue. Each of the units traveled together to participate in the different activities and had military personnel to direct traffic.