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SD Guard sends 549 employees home in shutdown

PIERRE (AP) — About 549 full-time employees of the South Dakota National Guard have been laid off because of the federal government shutdown.

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Guard spokesman Maj. Anthony Deiss says the South Dakota Guard has about 974 full-time employees, and 372 will remain on duty during the shutdown.

Deiss says the layoffs will hurt the National Guard's ability to maintain vehicles, aircraft and other equipment, and it could affect weekend training for regular guard members.

But he says the National Guard can still be called to duty in the event of a state disaster or emergency.

Deiss says the layoffs will hurt many employees financially. Some have already given up income because they had to take six days unpaid leave due to the automatic budget cuts.