News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 27, 2013

Almost 150 impacted by cuts at Air Guard base

TERRE HAUTE — A series of automatic federal spending cuts totaling $85 billion that could be triggered Friday would impact 149 people in the Indiana National Air Guard and four in the Indiana National Army Guard in Terre Haute, said Lt. Col. Cathy Van Bree, spokeswoman for the Indiana National Guard.

The air guard members are stationed at Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field, and the army guard members are part of the 81st Troop Command or one of its units.

“Statewide, only half of our full-time force will be affected by that [sequester],” Van Bree said.

The cuts would not touch the 1544th Transportation Co. stationed in Paris, Ill.; however, four guardsmen would be impacted at a field maintenance shop which services vehicles of the 1544th, said Capt. Dutch Grove of the Illinois National Guard.

The federal cuts will result in one furlough day per week for guardsmen, resulting in about a 20-percent pay cut, Van Bree said.

The guardsmen would have 22 days of furlough through the end of September, which marks the end of the federal fiscal year. Depending on rank, the furlough could result in $5,000 to $8,000 less in pay for guard members.

While Friday is the deadline for the cuts, legal notices are required to be given to guard  members and even labor unions “so [pay furloughs] will not happen on the first of March, but it will be approximately seven weeks after the first of March,” Van Bree said.

That means sequester cuts would start around April 20, she said.

If an agreement is reached by Congress and President Obama between March 1 and April 20, the furloughs may not be initiated, Van Bree said.

Full-time military, active guard or guard under Title 10, which are active orders, will not be affected by the sequester.

“Also, our two-day-per-month weekend training assemblies and our 15-day annual training periods will not be affected or reduced,” Van Bree said. “The weekend warriors that most people call the traditional guardsmen, they will not be effected either. As far as our ability to respond to a state or national emergency, that will not be compromised at all because we will have 14,000 service members, both Army and Air National Guard, that will be able to respond,” Van Bree said.

The White House stated about 11,000 civilian Department of Defense employees in Indiana will be furloughed, reducing gross pay about $64.4 million. Base operations for Army units would be reduced about $1.7 million in the state, while Air Force operations would be cut by about $7 million, according to the White House.

Scheduled Navy Blue Angels shows in Indianapolis and Evansville could be canceled, according to the White House.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

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