Government Shutdown Hits Military Immediately - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Government Shutdown Hits Military Immediately

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by Adam Ghassemi

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Lee Elder is a civilian employee for the Army, but found out when he got to work Tuesday a family vacation he was already planning will start a little earlier.

"I just had to stop right in the middle of what I was doing," Elder said. "At the end of four hours' time I will turn off my computer, lock my door and leave."

For him, it's like deja vu. Elder was also a victim of the 1995 government shutdown when he was publishing a newspaper at Fort Campbell.

"While one never gets used to it, I kind of know what to expect," he said.

Thousands of civilian workers got similar notices Tuesday, hours after President Obama released a video telling active duty service members their pay is safe, while sending a message to civilians now on furlough.

"You and your families deserve better than the dysfunction we're seeing in Congress," the President said.

Ft. Campbell Maj. Gen. James McConville posted a handwritten note to civilian workers on Facebook thanking them for their service, saying "we could not do what we do without you."

Post officials said since 101st Airborne is made up of some of the most deployed soldiers in the country, they play a big role in national security. That means fewer civilians could be forced out of work at Ft. Campbell versus elsewhere.

For Elder, this time comes when his family is much bigger. He and his wife have three children they didn't have in the mid-90s. That means the shutdown could be harder, but he hopes he'll be able to get back to work soon.

"It's hard on me both personally and professionally," he said. "It's difficult not knowing, but I feel like this won't last very long and we'll be back to work."

Tuesday the Department of Defense posted information for furloughed federal employees who could be eligible for unemployment benefits.

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