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Federal budget cuts hit state's only Air Force Reserve wing

Posted by: Corey Mitchell under 5th District Updated: May 28, 2013 - 7:44 PM

More than 320 Minnesota Air Force Reserve 934th Airlift Wing employees could be forced to take furloughs this summer because of the federal budget standoff.

The 323 civilian employees will receive notice this week that they face up to 11 unpaid days off in July, August and September because of sequestration, the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect in March, said Paul Zadach, spokesman for the 934th Airlift Wing.

The furloughs, spread out over 11 weeks, would amount to a 20 percent pay cut during that period.

The 934th Airlift Wing, the state's lone Air Force Reserve Unit, is based adjacent to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

"I was at the Joint Reserve Station earlier this month, and know how harmful these furloughs will be for the workers -- many of them veterans -- and their families," said U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. "The sequester was designed to hurt middle class families when they can least afford it. It should be repealed as soon as possible to stop further pain for working Minnesotans."

The 934th, known as the Flying Vikings, operates eight C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. As opposed to the active-duty military, in which members serve full-time, the Air Reserve unit includes personnel who have civilian jobs.

The Department of Defense announced earlier this year that it expected to furlough up to 800,000 civilian workers for 22 days each because of the congressionally mandated budget cuts. They've since pared down the furloughs.

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