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Florida National Guard members are back from their trip to Washington

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Updated: 2/06 8:28 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida National Guard members are back from their trip to Washington. They went to ask for Congress' support to stop the Army's proposal to cut the National Guard.

After 27 meetings with members of the nation's Legislature, Ed Kalakauskis said the National Guard may be safe from cuts.

"They understand how important we are. They understand how we have to respond as the National Guard," said Ed Kalakauskis," retired National Guardsman.

Kalakauskis took a trip to Washington with other guardsmen from Florida and all over the country.
The guard is now facing cuts after the Army proposed a new budget plan for 2015-2016 that would reduce the National Guard by 10 percent to deal with sequestration cuts.

"I was impressed with how they wanted to engage with us," said Kalakauskis.

Some members of Congress have already begun to show their support.

Congresswoman Corrine Brown started circulating a letter gaining signatures to stop the cuts.

Kalakauskis the Guard in Florida will be reduced by about 1,000 members, but the Army also wants to cut some of the of the aviation brigades.

There's now a bill on the table to help stop the cuts.

House Bill 3930 would freeze all aviation transfers and would keep the National Guard at a total of 350,000 members.

"We're one of the smallest Guard units there is. We're like 52 or 53, as far as handling personnel in the Guard, and to cut us more in Florida would just even hurt us more," said Kalakauskis.

Kalakauskis said the Army is trying to save money by making these cuts, but having the Guard actually saves money.

"We cost one-third of what the active duty actually costs. The Guard is more bang for your buck," said Kalakauskis.

The bill was introduced last week, and now they're just waiting to get a hearing. Kalakauskis said about 50 members of Congress have joined so far to co-sponsor the bill.
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wishmistress - 2/7/2014 12:30 PM
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Thank you all for your service!
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