Shutdown grounds Davis-Monthan AFB A-10 fleet - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Shutdown grounds Davis-Monthan AFB A-10 fleet, furloughs 500+ civilians

Posted: Updated:
  • More newsMore>>

  • Official: 3 bodies retrieved from inside ferry

    Official: 3 bodies retrieved from inside ferry

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:52:12 GMT
    The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into...More >>
    A coast guard official says divers retrieved three bodies from inside a ferry that sunk off South Korea, raising the confirmed death toll to 36 with more than 265 people still missing, most of them high school students on...More >>
  • Montgomery native wins Ancil Payne journalism award

    Montgomery native wins Ancil Payne journalism award

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:50:55 GMT
    A Montgomery native and former student at St. James High School has won the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism. Mazie Bryant, who is the editor-in-chief of the University of Alabama's CrimsonMore >>
    A Montgomery native and former student at St. James High School has won the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism.More >>
  • Creeping landslide devouring part of Wyoming town

    Creeping landslide devouring part of Wyoming town

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:43 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:43:28 GMT
    A sudden lurch in a creeping landslide in the northwest Wyoming resort town of Jackson split a house in two and forced workers to abandon efforts to stabilize the hillside.More >>
    No one can say when the mountainside collapsing into this Wyoming resort town will give way. But it appears increasingly likely that when it does, it's going to take a piece of Jackson with it.More >>
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The federal government shutdown is having a huge effect on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.

They have two major worries: Their A-10 training mission and their civilian employees who have been furloughed without pay.

You may have noticed that the A-10 jets we're used to seeing up in the sky are not there.

Davis-Monthan 355th Fighter Wing Commander Colonel Kevin Blanchard says we are in a fight in Afghanistan so any training or anything else to do with that mission continues.

However, the A-10s are grounded and so are their pilots.

"Our A-10 fleet, since we're a training mission, we're grounded. We're not flying any A-10s right now until we receive money. As far as keeping that fleet healthy, our maintainers are at work doing work, but there's no money to buy parts or fuel or oil or things like that," Blanchard says.

The D-M commander says that will have a cost.

"We have a minimum number of sorties we're required to fly in a month and you can do that in two or three weeks. But if we go two or three weeks into the month without that, now we're really going to start to affect readiness proficiency and currency of our flying force. That will be a bill to recover from," Blanchard says.

Blanchard says that means planes will have to be fixed and pilots retrained.

He says the longer the shutdown lasts, the more concerned he is for his civilian workers as well.

Blanchard says so far 510 civilians have been sent home.

He has many others who are working in safety or health who have no idea when they'll be paid.

Blanchard says the work the furloughed civilians do is just not getting done.

So, the commissary is closed.

It's a grocery store on the base that serves the military and some veterans.

The Airmen and Family Readiness Center that helps the families of our military in several ways has been closed down.

Basically, civilians who help make life better or easier for those who serve and for their families are gone.

"It's a huge mission impact to not have them. They're a valuable part of our workforce. We depend on them day to day," Col. Blanchard says, about losing the civilians. "It's an impact. It hurts our airmen and their families."

"Fear of the unknown I think is the worst fear for any human and that's what they're facing because they're out of work. Don't know when they'll be coming back to work. Don't know what their next paycheck--if they'll get one-- is going to look like. So I know we have a lot of our civilians out there in the community hurting," Blanchard says.

Commander Blanchard says his civilian employees have suffered through the sequestration, and now this.

He's worried that he could lose his well-trained and efficient civilian workers to other jobs.

Thursday, many veterans who live in and around Tucson, and who depend on the commissary, drove up to find it closed.

"I just didn't think the commissary fit in that category, but I guess it does," said disabled Korean War Veteran Joe Szymanski.

Army veteran Steve Sinkovich worried about U.S. military personnel and their families in other places too.

"I'm fine. I can go to the stores, but I was thinking about remote places where there's just a commissary and families may have to drive 50, 100 miles or--that may not have other resources," Sinkovich says.

He is angry.

"The Congress, the Senate, the House. They placed an unreasonable burden upon the common man. For what? We're paying for all of this in so many different ways and we'll continue to pay for years," Sinkovich says. "Come on, Congress. Do something. Get together. Work it out. This is ridiculous."

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

 

Powered by WorldNow