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Budget cuts hit uniformed Guard members

More than 1,100 in Hawaii will lose a fifth of their pay and hours of work

By Audrey McAvoy / Associated Press


More than 1,100 National Guard soldiers and airmen in Hawaii — and thousands in other states — will be living with 20 percent less pay over the next three months as the Defense Department carries out automatic federal budget cuts.

Guard members will be furloughed for one day a week starting Monday, so helicopter pilots and mechanics, pay and finance clerks and others who keep the guard operating will have eight hours less each week to do their jobs.

It's not clear precisely what effects the unprecedented cuts will have. They could, however, make it more difficult for the Guard to fly helicopters to help put out wildfires or rush to the scene of natural disasters in trucks.

"Our general sense is that short-term, it's going to be a terrible hardship for those soldiers, airmen and their families," said Hawaii National Guard spokes­man Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony. "But if it goes on for any length of time, that may have a negative impact on our readiness and our ability to respond."

The military's furloughs were only supposed to involve civilians, but large numbers of National Guard members who wear Army and Air Force uniforms full time will experience them as well. The National Guard added military technicians to the furlough list in May, after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave official notice to begin furloughs for civilians.

It's not immediately clear how many uniformed personnel will be affected nationwide.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the furloughs, which will affect nearly 1,000 guardsmen in his state, are his biggest concern for this summer's hurricane season. The Pacific hurricane season also began June 1 and lasts through November.

Some units will be exempt, like the 169th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron responsible for tracking aircraft in the skies above Hawaii. The 199th Fighter Squadron, which protects Hawaii airspace with F-22 Raptors, will be somewhat shielded from the effects of the cuts because a large number of active-duty airmen work alongside them.

But many others will have to squeeze 40 hours of work into 32 hours and receive one-fifth less pay.

It could become difficult for mechanics to maintain helicopters and trucks at the same pace, meaning fewer aircraft and vehicles may be available when needed. Guardsmen who plan drills for the part-time soldiers and airmen who train on the weekend might have difficulty getting exercises ready.

"We don't know what will fall by the wayside, because we've never had to do this before," Anthony said.

Commanders are trying to help guardsmen cope.

They invited financial and stress management counselors to talk to two groups of soldiers and airmen on Oahu, where the majority of Hawaii's full-time guardsmen work and live. The guard is sending a DVD recording of one of the sessions to guardsmen and women on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii islands.

Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong, the adjutant general, advised more than 100 gathered Monday that the budget cuts could last into the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1, but it's not known whether furloughs will continue.

He emphasized he was available to help, and shared his cellphone number with everyone in the room.

"You never want this to have happened to people under your watch," Wong said.

A financial counselor urged attendees to consider trimming unnecessary expenses like finance charges on credit cards, giving up cable TV and eating out less. He recommended telling children about the pay cuts and explaining why mom and dad can't afford to buy the same things as before.

Guardsmen could think about the good things that could come from furloughs, a family counselor suggested, like having more time to spend with family.

Spc. Christian Pasco, 27, who paints Humvees and other equipment, said he plans to talk to a financial counselor because he needs "somebody to tell me to stop spending my money."

Sgt. 1st Class Solo­man Maka­ne­ole, a helicopter electrician who just returned from a nine-month deployment to Kosovo, said his family already has been cutting spending by eating out less often and packing lunches. His wife, a civilian Army employee, and mother-in-law, who works for the Navy as a civilian, are also being furloughed.

"A lot of it is common sense," Maka­ne­ole said. "For some people it's a shock because it's probably something new to them. I've been without before so it's not shocking. I can survive."

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allie wrote:
It is time for the military to share the burden of paying down our crippling debt. In fact, waste, fraud and bloated budgets in the military have helped cause the problem. Time to close some of the 1000 military bases around the world and find places we can turn over defence issues to local populations. Germany is a place to start.
on July 5,2013 | 06:13AM
honopic wrote:
Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform,.
on July 5,2013 | 08:17AM
turbolink wrote:
Roger that!
on July 5,2013 | 08:50AM
false wrote:
The eagle has landed.
on July 5,2013 | 09:30AM
serious wrote:
Does this mean that the air national guard will not escort AF One in for HIS vacation?
on July 5,2013 | 09:44AM
WEATHER wrote:
Why would you spew out such a string of uninformed trivia that has no factual backing? #1. The DOD does not make up a majority of the federal budget. It has and continues to take a hit. Time to go after Social Security and the rest of the bloated welfare programs...want to find some real FW&A, start there. #2 You obviously have no idea why they are in those countries. They are not their for "internal defense" as you imply. And why would you start in Germany? Any facts or analysis to back that up? Any idea how many got closed after the Berlin Wall came down and how many remain? Or why they are there? #3 Please go tell any of your friends or acquaintances among the 15,000 or so on Oahu taking a 20% pay cut through the end of Sept that they have not shared in the burden. Civilians taking this pay cut haven't had a pay raise since Jan 2010.
on July 5,2013 | 11:25AM
Watergate_Mike wrote:
There MUST be a reason why every year the military budget comes up for a vote and everyone talks about slicing a reasonable number of dollars off the budget, and in the end the Pentagon is given more than they asked for. This needs investigation. Also, quite a bit of the "military" budget is used for NSA and CIA purposes, which are in aid of military operations. This adds a chunk to the budget also. Reduction of "our crippling debt" (as allie calls it) requires a re-thinking of wars, including wars on Muslims who may or may not be terrorists, Wars on Crime & Drugs which have placed the US in the top 10 worldwide for jailed prisoners, and on and on. For several years I lived in a community that had no police dept or embedded law enforcement of any kind. However, more than 90% of residents owned registered firearms. Except for teen-age crime like bashed mailboxes and graffiti---no felonies or violent crime whatsoever. Food for thought.
on July 5,2013 | 11:40AM
WEATHER wrote:
In all cases where the military is "given more than they asked for" it's because Congress...yes your and my elected federal officials, added to it. Generally referred to as pork. Inouye was a master of it. That's about the extent of the investigation required there. So now write your elected officials and tell them what your priorities are and what it is they do you disapprove of. Akaka and Inouye would at least reply to such letters and e-mails. I have not seen the same from our current batch.
on July 5,2013 | 11:52AM
stingray65 wrote:
Mike, I don't think that CIA abd NSA are under Department of Defense..
on July 5,2013 | 10:47PM
mrrdgreen wrote:
allie...I agree with you 100% need to reconfigure military basesand budget to the 21st century not 1945.
on July 5,2013 | 12:30PM
WEATHER wrote:
Hmmmm. During the war years including 1945, military was 70 to almost 90% of the budget. Today it is roughly 20% (White House projects 17% of 2014) of the budget. OMB projects social security, medicare, unemployment make up almost 60% of the budget. BTW, military agrees with "reconfigure bases." It's called BRAC. Most elected official oppose it. Hanabusa, for example, specifically voted against BRAC as posted on her web site. http://hanabusa.house.gov/press-release/hanabusa-votes-approve-2014-national-defense-authorization-act Write your elected officials like those who understand the process and care about it rather than whining here.
on July 5,2013 | 01:44PM
stingray65 wrote:
Why not start Hawaii first? Since, lots of local residence does not like Military any way? I really wanted to see what will happen to the economy!!
on July 5,2013 | 10:43PM
Hawaiianhaole wrote:
Obama should have included his wasteful around Africa family vacation in the budget cuts. During his last term in office we will see a lot more of these useless family trips as Obama uses the taxpayer to fund his own personal "life styles of the rich and famous". His true colors will definitely come out in these next four years. I am proud to say I never voted for him.
on July 5,2013 | 08:15AM
eoe wrote:
Keep spewing fox talking points. We are listening, riveted, to your "opinions."
on July 5,2013 | 10:41AM
Anonymous wrote:
He had to get out of the country while the IRS and NSA issues died down. All presidents (democrat and republican) find an excuse to leave the country when a lot of questions will be asked that they don't want to answer.
on July 5,2013 | 12:33PM
Cantopop wrote:
Thank goodness the air traffic controllers were immediately un-sequestered once CONgress got an earful from their rich benefactors that it would not do to delay their private jets from taking off to visit the Cayman Islands...
on July 5,2013 | 08:35AM
Bully wrote:
Probably wouldn't happen if Inouye was still around.
on July 5,2013 | 08:57AM
WEATHER wrote:
Wrong. The furlough in this article is a direct result of the Budget Control Act passed with a yes vote from Inouye, Akaka, Hanabusa, and Hirono. The President gave Congress a budget that met the BCA limits in 2012 for 2013. Congress rejected that budget and passed one that exceeded the BCA limits. Then the limits they set by law kicked in and forced cuts in the budget that they (Congress) approved and passed on to the President.
on July 5,2013 | 11:29AM
roninsensei wrote:
Eliminate all government entitlement programs. That would save a lot more. Too many Americans looking for a handout.
on July 5,2013 | 09:12AM
false wrote:
Now that's a bright idea.
on July 5,2013 | 09:30AM
cojef wrote:
OOPs, that mean grandma has got to find a job. Someone has to bring in the kala to buy the vittles for the babies whose un-named fathers refuse to support or can't because he is in the can serving time, or just plain lazy and has to hang out with other beach boys.
on July 5,2013 | 11:11AM
jwaldrip7 wrote:
on July 5,2013 | 09:31PM
jwaldrip7 wrote:
OMG...you nailed it my friend..here's one you can share with your friends: http://www.bizpacreview.com/2013/05/31/fla-illegal-on-welfare-for-20-years-shows-others-how-to-milk-system-73531 but somehow we have extra $ to help get electricity to Africans WHAT THE .......?
on July 5,2013 | 09:30PM
stingray65 wrote:
Just cut for foreign aids.. Like Egypt !! 2.1 Billions Dollars? For what?
on July 5,2013 | 10:52PM
Let's not forget the DoD civilian force who will be undergoing the same pay cut. This collective group totals in the tens of thousands versus 1,100.
on July 5,2013 | 12:16PM
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