Thousands of Navy reservists will have the weekend off. The Navy Reserve is out of money - a week before the end of the fiscal year - and is canceling its drills.
Some 20,000 Naval Reserve members who were to report for their regular training have been told not to appear, a Navy spokeswoman said today.However, "to lessen the financial impact" the Navy will let reservists make up the drills next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, and pick up the paycheck they won't get this weekend, spokeswoman Lt. Ingrid Mueller said.
The cancellation was ordered by Rear Adm. Tom Hall, the Naval Reserve's commander. Navy officials said this was the first time the Navy has taken such a step, although other services have curtailed training in the past.
All but about 20,000 of the reservists already have had their weekend duty for the month, Lt. Cmdr. Joe Quimby, a Navy spokesman, told The Washington Post, which first reported the story.
Like other armed services, the Navy has a large contingent of reservists who participate in regular weekend training exercises and serve brief periods of active duty each year.
But this year has been busy for Navy reservists and the reserve force may have exceeded its fiscal 1994 budget by as much as $36 million, Navy officials said.
"Reserve personnel have been participating in an unprecedented amount of contingency operations throughout the world," including getting U.S. troops out of Somalia and picking up Cuban and Haitian refugees on boats in the Caribbean, Mueller said.
Salaries paid to Navy reservists for their weekends and summer training and to those called up for temporary full-time duty total $1.6 billion for the fiscal year, she said.
Petty Officer Kaylee Egar, a spokesperson for the Dallas Naval Air Station, said, "The only people who will be out here this weekend are the full-timers."