News / USA

    US Air Force Facing Cuts in Manpower, Flying Hours

    US Air Force Facing Cuts in Manpower,Flying Hoursi
    X
    March 22, 2013 1:43 AM
    The U.S. military is getting ready for the impact of big automatic budget cuts, in what’s termed "sequestration." The Defense Department faces bigger cuts than any other agency. For the 459th Air Refueling Reserve Wing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, that means pay cuts and reductions in flying hours, right before a scheduled deployment. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti introduces us to the flying men and women this would affect.
    US Air Force Facing Cuts in Manpower,Flying Hours
    The U.S. military is getting ready for the impact of big automatic budget cuts, in what’s termed "sequestration."  The Defense Department faces bigger cuts than any other agency. For the 459th Air Refueling Reserve Wing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, that means pay cuts and reductions in flying hours, right before a scheduled deployment.

    Captain Frank Gilliard flies an air refueling tanker - a KC-135.  “The 135 can also be set up as a hospital,” he said.

    He and all other Air Force pilots are facing an 18 percent cut in flying hours.  That means less time in the air to refuel other planes out on missions. “Yes, readiness definitely could be affected,” Gilliard said.

    All reserve civilians will be furloughed one day a week if the budget cuts go into effect. “It’s going to be tough. It's going to be tough,” Gilliard said.

    That’s a 20 percent pay cut.  

    "Whew.  It can cut into a lot of things, just like I have my home, I have my basic utilities, day to day living,” Gilliard said.

    Senior Airman Kevin Weedn maintains the KC-135 and also serves as a trainer.  He already downgraded his cellphone plan, sold his second car and is rethinking his upcoming wedding.

    “Our plans to pay for our own wedding is hard.  I am putting aside money we have now.  I am able to do it, but it’s just going to be a little tight,” Weedn said.

    Weedn and Gilliard are among the 230 civilian reservists with the KC-135s who face cuts at Andrews Air Force Base.

    Their primary mission is twofold -- to refuel other planes in flight and to train pilots how to connect and refuel.  But their plane is aging -- the KC-135s here were built in the late 1950s.

    The plane still carries some relics of the past-- like this sextant port.  The navigator would pop open the valve to gaze at the stars and plot his course.

    A Boeing contract would replace these planes with newer models … but the military is waiting for Congress to approve that funding, too.      

    Colonel William Mason is the wing commander.
     
    But his status does not protect his pay either -- Col. Mason is withdrawing a savings account to pay for his daughter's college education.  He says the sequestration may actually cost the Air Force more.

    "It costs more to let somebody not fly and try to get them retrained than to continue flying them throughout the month and maintain that readiness," Mason said.  

    Colonel Mason says if the cuts go through....it could take his wing up to a year to recover.

    None of these cuts has been made here yet.  But if lawmakers take no action to stop them…much of the needed funding will simply disappear.

    Carolyn Presutti

    Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters. She has also won numerous Associated Press TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion for her TV coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, Google Glass & Other Wearables, and the 9/11 Anniversary.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora