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Air Force leaders issue statement on furloughs

by Chris Casteel Published: July 8, 2013

U.S. Air Force Leaders issued a statement on Monday about the furlough days beginning this week for civilian workers. The workers will be taking a furlough day each week for the next 11 weeks. In Oklahoma, about 14,000 workers at Tinker Air Force Base will be furloughed; at Altus Air Force Base, it is 1,035; and at Vance Air Force Base near Enid, it is 242.

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III send the following furlough message to the Airmen of the United States Air Force:

As you all know, Department of Defense civilian furloughs begin this week. With few exceptions, our civilian Airmen face involuntary furlough one day per week from the pay period starting July 8 through the pay period ending September 21.

Civilian furloughs are a measure of last resort and we deeply regret that the arbitrary across-the-board cuts imposed by sequestration led to this result. Despite standing down combat flying units, reducing space and mobility operations, reducing weapon system support, cutting installation support and facility repairs and cancelling most travel, training and exercises, we must still take this painful action. We recognize that this action inflicts personal and financial hardships on our civilian Airmen and their families. We need all of our great Airmen to do the Nation’s work, and furlough is not the way to reward our dedicated civilian workforce for their service. We’re sorry this is happening.

While furloughs have real consequences for civilian Airmen, the reduction in productivity and capability resulting from this action will affect all Airmen. We appreciate your professionalism in dealing with this situation and promise we will continue to work with DoD and Congress to seek repeal of sequestration and an end to the frustration and mission impact it causes.

We could not be the world’s greatest Air Force without the contributions of every part of our Total Force – active duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian Airmen. Thank you for your service to our Air Force and our Nation. We’re proud to stand beside you.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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