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National Guard Members Prepare For Furloughs

March 7, 2013, 6:01 PM by Derek Olson

National Guard Members Prepare For Furloughs
RAPID CITY, SD -

According to the White House, South Dakota will see about $1.9 million in military cuts and 1,000 furloughed jobs. Hundreds of those jobs cuts are coming from the National Guard.

If a budget deal isn't reached in Washington by late April, the Guard will be forced to furlough more than half of its full-time workforce.  For one Rapid City guardsman, the loss of pay couldn't come at a worse time.

"You will see readiness be degraded a little bit because some of the vehicles aren't going to get fixed and maintained to the level that they should be. But what I'd emphasize to you is that the units that are still in the cue to go to war, they are still going to get full funding," Brigadier General Ted Johnson of the South Dakota Army National Guard said.

But the sequestration's impact on unit readiness is only one of the concerns shared by soldiers and airmen across the state. Almost 550 full time guard members are facing a furlough that would cut their pay by 20 percent.

"Twenty percent is no small amount of money by any means for anybody, not only our employees but anybody in South Dakota," South Dakota Army National Guard Major Anthony Deiss said.

Deiss is a Public Affairs Specialist for the Army Guard and is on the list of employees facing lost hours and pay.  For Deiss, this couldn't have come at a worse time.

"It's definitely going to create a financial hardship. I've got a new baby on the way right in May when the furloughs are going to take effect," Deiss said.

Like anyone expecting a child, Deiss and his wife Cara were anticipating that their lives would be changing. But this wasn't what they had in mind.

"We're sitting down and looking at where we can make cuts in our lifestyle to help save those dollars here and there and in a way to be able to support a new member of our family," Deiss said.

In spite of the preparations his family is making, Deiss hopes that lawmakers can find a compromise, before he and the others that will be impacted are put in a compromising situation.

"It's frustrating that it's the people that really have to suffer because of that inaction," Deiss said.

The furloughs will effect guard members across the state, but the largest impacts will be felt in Rapid City where more than 200 Army Guard members will see pay cuts and in Sioux Falls, where close to 250 members of the 114th fighter wing will face cuts.

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