Furloughs Begin Monday For National Guard

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More than 600 members of the National Guard in Connecticut will have to take 11 days of unpaid furlough sometime between Monday and the end of September as part of federal budget cuts called sequestration.

“We’re hoping when the sequestration starts on Monday that this is very short-lived,” said Col. John Whitford of the Connecticut National Guard.

Col. Whitford is one of those who will be furloughed. He says the largest impact will be felt at the aviation repair facility in Groton, where guardsmen repair military aircraft for all of New England, New York and New Jersey.

“Our managers, our supervisors looked at our workforce and can effectively still manage our weekly workload and still hit the requirements,” Col. Whitford said.

Nevertheless, 619 guardsmen will lose 11 days of pay.

“The biggest thing is livelihoods are at stake here, are being affected by this, because a number of our people are married. They have children,” Col. Whitford said.

Sequestration also means military flyovers in Connecticut are canceled until further notice.

Guardsmen will still respond to state emergencies, though under state funding.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal says he’s pushing against the furloughs.

“As a member of the Armed Services Committee I know how deeply and unfairly these furloughs can impact our National Guard and the civilian employees down at the sub base,” he said.

As for Col. Whitford and the rest of the Connecticut National Guard set to start their unpaid vacation, the only option for now is to make due.

“I think it would be better if it was all zero, but we’ll see how far it goes and, hopefully, it’s short-lived,” Col. Whitford said.

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