Ala. Air National Guard could face furloughs - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Ala. Air National Guard could face furloughs

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The Alabama Air National Guard isn't immune to budget cuts. In fact, Captain Scott Eshelman anticipates furlough days ahead.

"The specifics right now are being worked out but there is a potential for up to 14 days furlough for the rest of the fiscal year between now and September."

"Those are our core, full-time people who are responsible for maintaining the training and the readiness of our entire wing," says 187th Fighter Wing Commander Colonel Samuel Black.

Black says it could still be worse.

The Department of Defense hasn't cut the 187th Fighter Wing's flying hours like they have for active duty Air Force pilots.

Flight hours are how the pilots train and stay ready for war.

"There are a whole lot of different elements that you have to be proficient with and train on almost a daily basis," adds Black.

Colonel Black doesn't believe the Alabama Air National Guard's flight hours will be cut at all in 2013, but when it comes to next year, it's hard to tell.

"We're fairly secure between now and the end of this fiscal year. But that says nothing about the future years...2014, 15 and 16, which will all have to be addressed."

In the meantime, everyone is preparing for whatever change may come.

"We'll find work arounds as far as the flying goes to make sure we train to the utmost potential," adds Eshelman.

The Army Guard is also facing furloughs. Both the Army and Air guards make up the entire Alabama National Guard.

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