Government furloughs hit National Guard technicians
NEW ULM – The Minnesota National Guard (MNG) informed 1,207 military technicians Tuesday that they are furloughed until further notified, due to the government shutdown.
About 2,100 full-time military personnel support the activities of the Minnesota National Guard, according to the MNG. Military technicians are federal civilian employees who are also members of the Minnesota National Guard and wear military uniforms to work, a guard spokesperson said.
Technician jobs include human resources, mechanics, logistics, telecommunications and leadership roles. Most of the technicians work at the Camp Ripley Training Center, the 133rd Airlift Wing in St. Paul and the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth. The guard has facilities in 63 Minnesota communities.
Major Michael Graves of the 1-125th Field Artillery Headquarters Battery Battalion Headquarters at the New Ulm armory said four (locally-based) federal technicians were sent home Tuesday.
“The AGR (Active Guard and Reserve) will continue on duty,” Graves said. “We have 14 employees working at the (New Ulm) armory. Twenty-seven work for split units in Luverne and Pipestone, St. James and St. Peter and in headquarters battery in Anoka.”
Graves said drills scheduled for this weekend were cancelled and will remain cancelled until a spending bill is passed.
Army Lt. Col. Jon J. Lovald, MNG Director of Human Resources said while the MNG is required by law to follow the Department of Defense furlough policy, citizen-soldiers and airmen remain ready to respond to state or federal emergencies.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff posted a message on the MNG Facebook page.
“I regret to inform you that our government has shut down,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, we don’t have that option. Please continue to do what you’ve always done-serve the nation. For those of our civilian teammates who will be furloughed, I’m sorry. You are valued members of our profession. We look forward to your return to duty. Thank you. I’m honored to serve with you.”
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org