The ongoing government shutdown doesn’t affect active-duty military, but it’s slowing down operations at two western Massachusetts air bases. Barnes Air National Guard base in Westfield has furloughed about 270 people, mostly technicians, but it remains open. At Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, several hundred employees have been furloughed indefinitely – mostly civilians and reservists. But Lieutenant Colonel James Bishop says there are still enough people to carry out the base’s mission.
“We fly regularly overseas to military and humanitarian ops, says Bishop. “So we’ve got enough people in flying, maintenance, and services to make sure that mission still happens.”
Bishop says those who are still working are doing so without pay. He says many personnel are frustrated with the uncertainty of when they’ll return to work. Bishop says many base employees were furloughed for six days over the summer because of the federal sequester.