No National Guard drill due to shutdown - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

No National Guard drill due to shutdown

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CRANSTON, R.I. -

The government shutdown has thousands of local troops sitting on the sidelines this weekend...and not getting paid.

This should be a busy weekend for National Guardsmen.  The first weekend of the month is usually drill weekend for the part-timers.

But not this month, thanks to the political battle in Washington.

2800 citizen soldiers and airmen of the Rhode Island National Guard who should have been in action this weekend won't be.  That also means they won't get a paycheck.

"A lot of the soldiers depend on that money, especially some of our younger soldiers and airmen," Rhode Island National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Parente told NBC10.

While the level of pay depends on rank and other factors, Parente said the shutdown means most younger troops will lose out on about $400.  "It is a hit to them.  A lot of them depend on that to pay their utility bills, part of their mortgages or rents, however our leadership throughout the state is working with them diligently, keeping in contact with them," Parente said.

The regularly scheduled drill weekend is postponed, not yet cancelled.

The National Guard hopes to reschedule the training for some other time when the shutdown dust settles, but that hasn't been worked out.

"We're going to get through this.  We're hoping it's temporary.  We have a lot of good folks that are home right now that want to get back to work and we're hoping that this ends soon," Parente said.

The Rhode Island National Guard had already furloughed about 300 full-time people because of the shutdown.

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