February 2006 
Volume 04, Issue 9 
Integrated Defense Systems

Hitting the high notes

Hitting the high notes

Boeing-backed Great American Voices program brings quality performances to troops across U.S.

Boeing supports the U.S. armed forces with platforms, networks, modifications, maintenance—and song and dance. Through its sponsorship of the Great American Voices program, Integrated Defense Systems is helping bring quality performances of classic American musical numbers and opera favorites to military facilities around the country.

In partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Defense and OPERA America, the program began in September and will visit 39 military installations through August.

More than 20 professional opera companies are conducting the performances at bases across the country. The performances are offered at no cost to the base or to audience members. Singers will offer up arias from popular operas such as Bizet's "Carmen" and Mozart's "Don Giovanni," as well as highlights from classic American musicals including Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!"

Boeing supports employee reservists called to active duty

With the continued United States involvement in Operation Iraqi Freedom, many U.S. Boeing employees serving in the Reserve or National Guard have been called to active military duty.

While the company's normal military leave policy allows for up to 90 calendar days of pay differential and benefits, Boeing has extended this period to up to five years of pay differential and benefits for individuals called to active military duty under Sept. 11, 2001–related orders.

Boeing's military leave package includes both pay and benefits components to help employees and their dependents. As military pay may be less than an employee's regular pay, Boeing's "military differential" pays the difference—allowing employees to keep their total pay at the Boeing level while away from work. In addition, the company's contributions for medical, dental and basic life insurance coverage continue for the full five-year period, as long as the employee's portion of the cost continues to be paid.

Boeing employees returning to work from military leave status can talk with a professional counselor through the Boeing Employee Assistance Program if they want to discuss issues about rejoining their families, workplaces and communities. Upon their return to work, employees receive an e-mail from EAP highlighting several specific EAP offerings, such as personal or family counseling, and a list of resources.

View Boeing's military leave policy, PRO-481 (internal link only), on the Boeing Web. (Applicable provisions in a collective bargaining agreement will take precedence over company military leave policy for any employee subject to that agreement.)

"It's a tremendous idea," Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Cornell A. Wilson Jr. said about the program. "When troops can see this kind of support from the American public—from all facets of life—it really makes them feel proud because of all the sacrifices they've had to go through."

In January, about one-third of the way through the tour, stops included Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., which hosted a performance for cadets.

"We're honored to support the NEA and its work in bringing such outstanding programs to our servicemen and women and their families," said Jim Albaugh, IDS president and CEO. "These performances are a way to recognize and embrace our men and women in uniform, to remind them they are not forgotten, and to remind us of their dedication."

IDS also sponsored NEA's Operation Homecoming effort, which brought distinguished writers to military bases to help troops commit their thoughts to paper. An anthology of those essays is due this year.

For more information on Great American Voices and a complete tour schedule, visit www.greatamericanvoices.com.


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