National Guard soldiers, airmen to be furloughed

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm •  Published: July 4, 2013
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"We don't know what will fall by the wayside because we've never had to do this before," Anthony said.

Commanders are trying to help guardsmen cope.

They invited financial and stress management counselors to talk to two groups of soldiers and airmen on Oahu, where the majority of Hawaii's full-time guardsmen work and live. The guard is sending a DVD recording of one of the sessions to guardsmen and women on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii islands.

Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong, the adjutant general, advised more than a hundred gathered on Monday that the budget cuts could last into the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1, but it's not known whether furloughs will continue.

He stressed he was available to help and shared his cellphone number with everyone in the room.

"You never want this to have happened to people under your watch," Wong said.

A financial counselor urged attendees to consider trimming unnecessary expenses like finance charges on credit cards, giving up cable TV and eating out less. He recommended telling children about the pay cuts and explaining why mom and dad can't afford to buy the same things as before.

Guardsmen could think about the good things that could come from furloughs, a family counselor suggested, like having more time to spend with family.

Spc. Christian Pasco, 27, who paints Humvees and other equipment, said he plans to talk to a financial counselor because he needs "somebody to tell me to stop spending my money."

Sgt. 1st Class Soloman Makaneole, a helicopter electrician who just returned from a nine-month deployment to Kosovo, said his family already has been cutting spending by eating out less often and packing lunches. His wife, a civilian Army employee, and mother-in-law, who works for the Navy as a civilian, are also being furloughed.

"A lot of it is common sense. For some people it's a shock because it's probably something new to them. I've been without before, so it's not shocking. I can survive," Makaneole said.