Officials at the 139th Airlift Wing in St Joseph say they are focusing on readiness, and are working through contingencies as they await formal word from top brass on how the national budget and sequestration will affect their operations.
Wing Commander Colonel Mike Pankau tells us the people under his command are weathering the current budget storm.
“Anytime there’s financial uncertainty in a person’s life there is going to be a certain impact on morale,” Pankau says. “But at the same time, these are service members. They are used to dealing with adversity.”
Just how much adversity is still up in the air, according to wing officials.
Lieutenant Colonel James Treu, the wing’s comptroller, says a lot depends on how long the budget problems continue. By the end of April, 225 permanent, full-time civilian employees and 30 part-time, temporary workers will see changes.
“If sequester is still in operation by the end of April, we will need to terminate the thirty temporary employees, and we will have to furlough the 225 permanent employees,” Treu said.
Treu says they are still waiting for specifics from National Guard headquarters as to what will happen to the remainder of the wingmen at the 139th Airlift Wing.
“We all recognize this is a temporary measure, and is not a permanent measure,” Colonel Pankau said.
“We’ll do our best to maintain our mission, and at the same time take care of our troops, with the assets that we’re provided.”