CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hundreds of National Guardsmen in the area are being forced to take a twenty percent pay cut.
It was just a few weeks ago that more than 30 members of the North Carolina Air National Guard returned to their base in Charlotte after fighting the Arizona wildfire that killed 19 firefighters. It was around the same time they found out they would be furloughed.
Captain Catheran Rodriguez works on base as an information protection officer. She is one of a few hundred workers there who faces a 20 percent pay cut as the Department of Defense tries to trim its budget.
“Twenty percent is a lot. My husband is also full-time out here, as well, so we both are taking a 20 percent cut,” Captain Rodriguez said.
The couple camped instead of getting a hotel for their summer vacation, got rid of cable and the internet, and are eating in more.
Some colleagues are taking on second jobs.
Rodriguez said, “My husband and I have done our best in the past to put money away, but now we have to dip into the savings. Now we have to dig into that emergency.”
It's frustrating, she says, and they're hoping only temporarily. Right now the furloughs end in September, but there are fears there could be a second round next year.
In a statement, a spokesman for the National Guard told NBC Charlotte, “If this furlough plan remains in effect through 2014, the continued reduction in manpower and readiness will, no doubt, impact this organization's ability to perform certain functions."