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How gov't shutdown impacts Vt. National Guard - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

How gov't shutdown impacts Vt. National Guard

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COLCHESTER, Vt. -

The Vermont Guard has lost roughly half of their operating staff -- and says if the shutdown lasts for a long period of time, there could be very serious implications.

The Vermont National Guard sent home 450 employees Tuesday and couldn't tell them when they would be returning to work.

"Because of a lapse in government appropriations has occurred, the Vermont National Guard is required to execute our shutdown plan in accordance with the law," explained Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, the commander of the Vt. National Guard.

That plan means military technicians who perform everyday functions, including operations and administrative duties, will no longer report to work.

With no money to do anything, there won't be any flying or maintenance on aircrafts.

"The F-16s specifically are going to maintain the readiness that they had yesterday, so until there's an appropriation, there's no authorization to do any kind of training," Cray explained.

That means the F-16s will not fly. Training for military members scheduled to begin this weekend may also be postponed.

"If we have to postpone this weekend due to the government shutdown, it will have an impact to out training and readiness," Cray said.

Some technicians who have been placed on unpaid furlough may qualify for unemployment, but the National Guard says there are more questions than answers about how the shutdown will be handled.

"The Department of Defense is currently reviewing the pay, our military act, and working with administrative lawyers to determine if it offers any additional flexibility with regard to our military technician personnel," Cray said.

In the case of a state emergency, employees could be called upon to report to work, but for now, the Department of Labor says it is ready to help process unemployment claims of federal employees, and possibly others, who lose their jobs because of the shutdown.

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