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“Boss Lift” event honors NGA’s commitment to guard, reserve employees

8 February 2018

Amy Mahlke
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Chad Schoonover and his second-line supervisor, Christopher Ring, met in November 2018 at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, for an adventure - a "Boss Lift" event where airmen like Schoonover take their civilian bosses on flights to see what it is like during a drill weekend.

NGA employees Christopher Ring, left, and Air National Guard Lt. Col. Chad Schoonover, right, stand in front of a KC-135 tanker after finishing a refueling exercise involving the B-2 Stealth Bomber during an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
NGA employees Christopher Ring, left, and Air National Guard Lt. Col. Chad Schoonover, right, stand in front of a KC-135 tanker after finishing a refueling exercise involving the B-2 Stealth Bomber during an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve "Boss Lift" event November 2018 at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Photo by Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Korbin Hays.

Schoonover is a full-time section chief at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's Aeronautical Navigation Office and a part-time Air National Guard KC-135 pilot with the 126th Air Refueling Wing.

The unit operates from Scott Air Force Base, near NGA's St. Louis site.  

This Department of Defense program helps foster understanding between guard and reserve service members and their civilian employers of what it is like to be a solider or airman.

“I was lucky enough to be selected for this competitive opportunity when (Schoonover) put my name forward,” said Ring.

Schoonover has been with NGA since 2006 and believes the support he receives from the agency has been “exceptional,” he said.

“It has far exceeded my experience with previous employers,” said Schoonover. “I was always welcomed back from deployments and supported in my career progression while deployed. My reintegration back from Air Force Air War College into a branch chief role is just one example of that.”

For the “Boss Lift,” Ring was able to join Schoonover on a refueling exercise involving the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

“As for the flight itself, it was an incredibly well-conducted and exciting opportunity,” said Ring, who previously served in the Marine Corps as a navigator on KC-130 aircraft. “The fact that the exercise involved the B-2 bomber was certainly a bonus.”

The event also recognized NGA for its support of employees who serve in the guard or reserve and highlighted the agency’s direct role as producers of all aeronautical safety of navigation data and products for DOD aircraft.  

“As a mobility pilot and commander, I add value to my tradecraft and work role as an NGA aero analyst and branch chief,” said Schoonover. “Being an aero analyst with NGA also adds value to my role as an instructor pilot in the KC-135. I feel fortunate and humbled to be able to do both with such support.”