The Air Force Academy has halted a number of operation, including 20 percent of its classes, because of the government shutdown. Pictured: The basic cadet trainees of the U.S. Air Force Academy's Class of 2017 march out to the Academy's Jacks Valley training area to start the field portion of Basic Cadet Training in Colorado Springs, Colo., July 22. (Ray McCoy / Air Force)
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The US Air Force Academy has halted 20 percent of its classes, closed its cadet library and other study centers, and canceled all flying operations at the 306th Flying Training Group due to the government shutdown.
More than two-thirds of the academy’s civilian staff — or more than 1,000 employees — are now furloughed, the academy said in an Oct. 1 release. This has forced the academy to dramatically scale back its operations. Nearly 450 civilian employees have been excepted from furloughs and will stay on the job to ensure safety and security at the academy.
“The entire Air Force leadership is working hard to guide us through this turbulent time,” the release said. “Here at the Air Force’s Academy, we will continue to conduct our mission to educate and train cadets, but that will be much more challenging without our civilian and contractor teammates who will be furloughed.”
The academy said that due to the shutdown:
■ The base fitness center has been closed.
■ The academy’s commissary held a sale Tuesday to unload perishable goods, and then closed Wednesday.
■ The Cadet Chapel is closed and public tours are canceled. Sunday services are still planned, but without musical accompaniment.
■ Travel for all intercollegiate athletics is canceled. The academy said it will try to play home games, but said they may need to be canceled as well. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to decide by Thursday whether the Air Force-Navy game will go as scheduled Saturday in Annapolis, Md.
■ The academy’s 10th Medical Group will scale back its operations. Outpatient care availability is reduced and available appointments are limited, which will result in longer wait times. Prescriptions, laboratory work and radiology appointments will also take longer.
■ Custodial services — including those for dormitories — grounds maintenance services, information technology support, and laundry are all halted.
■ The academy’s visitors center will remain open, but will not be staffed, and no tours of the grounds will be available.
■ Computer systems are also down, which is hurting the academy’s ability to enter grades and conduct administrative management.