Western Pa. military air bases cancel training flights amid shutdown
Two local military air bases have canceled the training flights that keep their crews proficient because of the federal government shutdown.
“The only missions we are flying right now are operational missions,” said Maj. Karen Bogdan of the Air National Guard's 171st Air Refueling Wing in Findlay, where more than half of the daily workforce has been furloughed.
The Air Force Reserve's 911th Airlift Wing canceled training scheduled for this weekend and had canceled the flights that its crews need to maintain their proficiency status, said Capt. Shawn Walleck. Although the crews can adjust to that in the short term, it's not a good long-term option, he said.
“Instead of just having proficiency training, they have to get requalified,” Walleck said. “There is definitely a ripple effect.”
As part of the shutdown triggered by Congress' inability to pass a budget or temporary spending bill, the Obama administration has ordered the Guard and the Reserve to furlough most of their military technicians, who are members of the Guard and the Reserve and work full-time at military bases as civilian employees.
Gov. Tom Corbett on Thursday sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asking him to rescind the order.
“I am urging you to take immediate action to put these soldiers and airmen back to work providing vital full-time support for our National Guard,” the governor wrote.
Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., sent Hagel a letter on Friday saying that the Military Pay Protection Act the president signed Monday was intended to keep these technicians working.
“I supported bipartisan legislation, which is now law, to make sure that our troops in harm's way, and the public servants who support them, will continue to receive their paychecks,” Toomey said.
Maj. Ed Shank, spokesman for the Pennsylvania National Guard, said the main impact of the furloughs has been felt at the Guard's air wings and its headquarters in Fort Indiantown Gap.
“None of our helicopters are flying,” he said.
Most of the Army National Guard's armories are staffed by Active Guard Reserve soldiers who are not subject to furloughs, Shank said.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Inappropriate dress wears thin in schools, courts, jails, elsewhere
- Man arrested after showing up at hospital with gunshot wounds
- Pennsylvania legislative redistricting to take full effect in state House elections
- Wolf, Corbett stump in Western Pennsylvania
- Stand Down Pittsburgh reaches out to veterans, homeless civilians
- Newsmaker: Julie Smith
- Komen acceptance of drilling-linked money raises ire
- Ferrante trial: Cyanide order form in plain sight
- Corbett, Wolf resort to sticks, stones to attract attention
- Public servants honored in Pittsburgh for extraordinary responses
- Curry Hollow Shopping Center has buyer