Offutt AFB Up and Running
Photo: Video by kmtv.com
BELLEVUE, NE- It's been a day of frustration and confusion for thousands of federal employees. The government shutdown is being felt here in the Heartland.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Offutt Air Force Base was fully operational, even without the thousands of civilian employees who help keep the base running.
"I need to emphasize that right now we are still fully operational." says Col. Gregory Guillot.
Offutt Air Force Base is up and running, but two thirds of their civilian support staff is forced to stay home.
"We'll get the support from within, we won't be able to do as much as we normally would do, but we'll scoop that down to fit with our priorities." says Col. Guillot.
Colonel Gregory Guillot says the two thousand civilian employees are now on emergency furlough, but some civilians were cleared to stay.
"Our fire department is all civilian manned so we're able to keep the firefighters on so we can respond to any emergency here on the base or anything to do with our flying operations." says Col. Guillot.
Military personnel aren't furloughed and will get paid during the shutdown. They may also be required to perform duties their civilian counterparts were in charge of.
"The short term we'll be able to endure it ok, if this prolongs we'll sit down and look at what type of training we're missing." says Col. Guillot.
Colonel Guillot says all flight operations will proceed as normal and training for overseas missions will continue.
"What we've been asked to do is fly all the missions that directly deal with national security so we have a number of those that will go at the normal level we also need to prepare for our overseas and contingency deployments and those will continue at a normal level," says the Colonel.
Some contractors have also been forced to halt work, but work like cutting the grass will continue. Col. Guillot says that's because keeping the grounds clear falls under the safety category.
"The sun never sits on the fighting 55th."
Colonel Guillot says the employees who are working will get paid, but probably not right away. He says the base will get by in the short term, but if it lasts longer than the end of the week, they will be forced to re-prioritize.