The California Air National Guard base in Fresno has about 200 fewer people working now because of the federal government shutdown.
Technicians -- or support staff -- at the base have been furloughed, said Sr. Master Sgt. Chris Drudge, base spokesman.
About 150 members on active duty remain ready to provide air defense -- but the furloughs are having an effect.
The technicians' "main job is to train and prepare the force for anything needed," Drudge said. "The furlough could affect our training status -- our preparedness."
For example, the furloughs have slowed training for the 144th Fighter Wing's new F-15 Eagle. Flying was scheduled to begin this week, but now is on hold, Drudge said. The F-15 has two engines, two tails, more speed and a larger radar than the F-16 it replaces.
In the meantime, pilots remain trained and ready to fly the F-16s, Drudge said. "The most important thing is we are still sitting alert 24/7 ready to respond if anything comes up," he said.
The 144th Fighter Wing provides air defense for the United States and will be deployed overseas with the new planes. The California Air National Guard is a component of the U.S. Air Force that can also be activated by state and federal officials.
Drudge said an open house had been planned at the base this weekend, but has been cancelled because of the lack of personnel.
It's unknown how long the government shutdown will last and when technicians will be called to return to the base. Drudge himself is on furlough and is spending the time doing projects around his home.
He's fortunate that his wife has a job, he said. "It's not going to affect us as much as others."
For those that could face a hardship, Drudge said "there's agencies out there that will put out a helping hand for us."
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