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National Guard forced to stand down

Because of the federal government shutdown, 48 South Dakota National Guard employees based in Mitchell and Chamberlain have been forced to take unpaid time off.

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According to Corey Norris, a Guard spokesman, 42 of the Guard’s employees in Mitchell and another six in Chamberlain have been furloughed because of the shutdown that went into effect Tuesday.

The Guard announced Tuesday that 549 of its 974 full-time employees statewide have been furloughed as a result of the shutdown. In the event of a disaster or emergency, the Guard could still be called to duty.

These furloughs come only a few months after many of the Guard’s employees were forced to take 11 unpaid days off because of the government’s automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Those furloughs affected a combined 55 Guard employees in Mitchell and Chamberlain.

Last year, the Guard relocated six units across the state to save money. Units in Platte, Winner and Salem were among those relocated. The Platte and Winner units relocated to Wagner and Rapid City,

and the Salem unit relocated to Yankton.

No Guard employees in Wagner have been furloughed because of the shutdown.