Budget crisis brings many shortages

The signs are everywhere. A Navy gym in Hawaii is closing earlier. Army families in upstate New York are bracing for possible cuts in on-base child care. Enlisted airmen in California are paying out of pocket for office supplies.

And in North Carolina, Marines on a range are pointing rifles and shouting, “Butter, butter, jam,” to simulate the sound of live ammo after being told there isn’t enough money for real bullets.

Budget cuts are already hitting home, and hitting hard — and they’re about to get a lot worse.

Find out where the cuts are hitting in this week’s Army Times, on sale now.

SMA details budget’s effect on readiness

This is shaping up to be one of the toughest years in Army history. Soldiers will lack training and gear as a result of cutbacks and Congress’ fiscal fumbles. For the difficult days that lay ahead, Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler has one directive: Soldier on.

Providing trained, equipped and ready forces to combatant commanders remains Chandler’s top priority. He is not alone in that endeavor. In an era of big budget cuts, the Army has protected funding for units headed to Afghanistan, South Korea or assigned to the Global Response Force Brigade Combat Team.

Read everything Chandler has to say in the latest Army Times.

Spec ops unit receives 20 medals

Seven soldiers from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment received Silver Stars for their actions during a harrowing rescue in Afghanistan.

The soldiers, from the regiment’s 3rd Battalion at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., were honored with the nation’s third-highest award for valor during a ceremony Feb. 22.

They were honored for their actions of Sept. 14, 2011.

Six other soldiers received the Distinguished Flying Cross their actions on that day.

In addition, seven soldiers from the 160th, including one of the Silver Star recipients, received the Air Medal with “V” device for their actions during separate missions.

One other soldier, Sgt. Jonathan L. Nichols, received a Purple Heart for wounds he received in action Sept. 29.

Read more about the men and the mission in the March 4 issue of Army Times.

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