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Sequester to impact National Guard

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  About 700 Wisconsin National Guard members will lose 11 days of work-and-pay due to the federal budget sequester. The furloughs affect Defense Department technicians, ranging from mechanics and pilots to human resource and finance specialists. Major Paul Rickert says the automatic spending cuts have caused the Guard to make “significant adjustments” to training and operations.

Most of the Wisconsin Guard’s 10,000 members are not affected by the furloughs. That’s because they’re either active duty personnel – who are exempt from the sequester – or they are weekend duty or members. Officials say the work reductions will not affect the annual training for Wisconsin guard units, or weekend duty for part-time Guard members. Those affected must take their 11 furlough days by the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30th.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the furloughs were first rumored to be as long as 20 days. The paper said Guard members assigned to the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee can go on active military status for their furlough days – so they won’t lose any pay. The unit has had to cut outreach programs. They’re not providing support for major air shows, since pilots from the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds have been grounded by the sequester.