Government shutdown leads to local national guard furloughs

GATE CITY, Va. - Military technicians and contract employees who work for the national guard are feeling the effects of the government shutdown in their wallets.

News 5 spoke with a military veteran who will be out of work until there is a decision made on Capitol Hill.

"We just sit at home and suffer," said Joe, a guard mechanic on furlough.

That's what some some non-essential government and military workers say they will be doing since they were put on furlough, meaning they wouldn't work and they won't get paid while the government is shutdown.

Tuesday's government shutdown leaves more than 1,500 Tennessee National Guard military technicians and contract employees throughout the state on unpaid furlough.

Major General Max Haston, Tennessee's Adjutant General notified employees last week of possible furloughs beginning on October 1, 2013.

"This is an across the board furlough effecting essentially every military technician and contract employee in the Tennessee army and air national guard," Haston said.

"There is no question that this will cause serious hardships on our employees and degrade our ability to conduct operations, but even with the government shutdown, our remaining soldiers and airmen will strive to continue to meet the challenges and ensure the security of our state and nation. Our active guard and reserve (AGR) and Tennessee state employees will continue to work and maintain essential operations of the military department," said Haston.

We went to Gate City, VA where military workers are being placed on furloughs too.

Four surface maintenance mechanics are stationed at the Gate City Virginia Army National Guard and they were put on furlough Tuesday.

And Joe, who asked us not to share is last name, is one of those mechanics.

"About 30 to 40 minutes into it we got notified that we had 4 hours to take care of hour business, do the paperwork and lock everything up and come to the house, with no pay," said Joe.

He also is an Iraq war veteran and is working to support his wife and 3 kids and the shutdown is leaving them with no source of income.

But this is not the first time, he was put on furlough before less than 2 months ago. He tells me he is frustrated with the government.

"You're out here struggling, you getting put on furlough, you're just trying to have a decent life for your family it's not easy," said Joe.

News 5 contacted the Virginia Army National Guard to see who many of their workers will be placed on furlough and we haven't heard back from them yet.

This could change if Congress decides to pay government workers retroactively for their furlough days.

The shutdown has no effect on active guard soldiers.

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