Federal shutdown leads to immediate furloughs for almost 60 Guardsmen at Salisbury’s Army Aviation Facility

SALISBURY — Almost 60 N.C. National Guardsmen working for the Army Aviation Support Facility II at the Rowan County Airport were placed on furlough Tuesday because of the federal government shutdown.

Those affected are men and women under dual status — they are federal technicians and pilots who also hold positions in the N.C. National Guard.

The immediate furloughs mean they will not be reporting to work nor receiving their federal paychecks until the government shutdown is resolved. Those affected include the entire range of positions and pay scales at the facility, all the way up to its commanding officer, Lt. Col. Bryan V. Hill.

The positions at the flight support facility were considered “non-essential,” according to reports, though officers who wanted to remain anonymous said the unit is more prepared, better equipped or as evenly equipped as active-duty units.

This particular Army Aviation Support Facility, one of two in North Carolina, has had two missions to Iraq in recent years.

The federal government went into a partial shutdown at midnight Monday as Congress gridlocked in a funding showdown between Democrats and Republicans.

There will be some flight activity going out of the Army Aviation Support Facility Wednesday through Friday because of pre-scheduled training missions, whose orders have been upheld by the state of North Carolina.

They involve the flight facility’s Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (HART), but it will affect less than 10 percent of the Salisbury facility’s employees.

This isn’t the first time the National Guard technicians have been placed on furlough because of a gridlocked Congress. It happened during the Clinton administration. Earlier this year, the federal workers at the facility in Salisbury were on partial furloughs — a day for every two-week pay period.

But with those furloughs, which ended in July, several months’ notice was given, so the men and women had some time to prepare.

For now, the Salisbury workers are considered to be on emergency, non-disciplinary furlough for the duration of the shutdown.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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