Nearly 200 furloughed at 128th Refueling Wing due to shutdown

CREATED Oct 1, 2013

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MILWAUKEE -  It felt like they were closing up shop at the 128th Refueling Wing on Tuesday.  Many servicemen and women clocked out, not knowing when they will be back at work.

For the hard-working men and women at Wisconsin Air National Guard facility, a wide-reaching furlough feels like splitting up the family.  

"A little sad for not being able to come to work to do our normal job,” said MSgt. Keith Dodge, one of those who received a furlough notice. 

Refueling jets sat idle.  Training flights are grounded until the government shutdown comes to an end.

Nearly 200 furloughed servicemen and women were told to be off the base by 2:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. 

“It's a lot of uncertainty,” said TSgt. James Zaleski, another furloughed guardsman.

Captain John Capra, who frequently serves a spokesperson for the 128th, is one of about two dozen ‘technician’ workers who will stay on the job to keep the refueling wing mission-ready and secure.

"They get the opportunity to change their voicemail to say that they're out of the office and their email outlook to say that they'll be out of the office for unknown period of time due to the furlough,” Capra told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.

Leadership made a compassionate move to share the suffering and to soften the blow...

"I'll be working this week,” Capra explained.  “I'm not being furloughed.  But, next week, I'm being furloughed and one of my senior NCOs will take my place to fill in my role.  The goal is share the burden of the furlough."

Capra said the 128th could quickly restore full staffing in the event of a state or national emergency.