y Brian Tumulty
Gannett Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON – The New York National Guard has furloughed 1,500 civilian technicians around the state because of the federal government’s partial shutdown.
About 435 furloughs were in Niagara Falls, where the 914th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve and the 107th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard operate.
Another 220 furloughed technicians are employed by the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in the Hudson Valley.
Other locations with Air Guard furloughs are Westhampton Beachon eastern Long Island (200), Schenectady (190) and Syracuse (130).
In addition, this weekend’s scheduled training by the state’s Air National Guard wings for 3,200 reservists is likely to be canceled because of lack of funding, according to Eric Durr, spokesman for the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.
“They are looking at pulling the plug,” Durr said. “But nobody wants to do it yet. They are hoping Congress comes to its senses because this is a pretty major operation.”
Most New York Army National Guard units are not scheduled to hold their monthly training until the third or fourth weekend of this month.
How long the partial government shutdown will continue is uncertain.
House Republicans have tried and failed several times to make continued government funding contingent on delaying or defunding the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The Democratic-majority Senate has rejected those proposals.
On Tuesday, House Republicans proposed several noncontroversial spending bills, including one to fund the National Guard. Senate Democrats, however, have said they won’t accept a piecemeal approach.
Roughly 12,000 of the 16,500 members of the New York Army and Air National Guard are reservists who generally serve one weekend each month and two additional weeks once a year.
“That’s when a lot of work gets done,” Durr said. “Guys come in and work on helicopters or airplanes. They come in and do paperwork. It’s training because they are doing their job. And so, as things go now, there’s no training for our traditional citizen soldiers and airmen as long as the government shutdown is in effect.”
Active-duty Army and Air Force guard members are working to pick up the slack along with the 200 Federal Military Technicians around the state who remain on the job, he said.
But the 1,500 furloughs of civilian technicians will have “a major impact on readiness,” Durr said.
The Army National Guard furloughs are scattered around the state at 20 different maintenance facilities. About 25 of them are at CampSmith near Peekskill.