Air Reserve Technicians perform maintenance on the C-17A Globemaster at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside. The base is one of many bases that will be affected by the Federal sequestration. (Gabriel Luis Acosta/Staff Photographer)
Humanitarian losses: Missions like Hurricane Sandy relief could be curtailed.
$85 billion: Regionally, March Air Force base looks at major hit to its budget.

Posted: 03/15/2013 07:17:12 PM PDT
Updated: 03/15/2013 09:49:23 PM PDT

Photo Gallery: March Air Reserve Base Washington’s recent failure to meet politicians’ self-imposed deadline for broad-based budget cuts does not seem to have yet had much effect on average Americans, but its impacts on the military are on pace to “snowball”.

That’s the word from Lt. Col Don Traud at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, home of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing.

The 452nd’s pilots and crew members take flight in C-17 Globemaster jets and KC-135R Stratotankers, which are respectively deployed to transport personnel and cargo and conduct air refueling missions.

“One of our biggest missions is actually picking up the wounded in the Middle East and fly them to Germany, or if they need critical care, fly them back here,” Traud said.

At March, cutbacks may lead to a reduced capability to perform humainitarian missions.

March pilots have flown relief missions after crises such as Hurricane Sandy and earthquakes in Japan and Haiti, but planned reductions in training time may result in pilots not having enough hours clocked in to be considered mission-ready.

Traud said those training cuts are set to affect the entire Air Force, as of next month.

Reduced flight training is but one effect of the budget cuts, known in political parlance as “sequestration.”

The cuts began to go into effect March 1 and are expected to total $85 billion during the fiscal year ending in September.

About half of that amount is to be cut from the military’s budget.

Absent any changes, the cuts would total roughly $1.2 trillion over the coming decade.

Elsewhere in Southern California, sequestration may lead to the closure of Federal Aviation Administration towers at Air Force Plant 42 near Palmdale. The L.A. Jobs Defense Council on Wednesday sent a letter to the FAA asking the tower be exempted for cuts.

The irony of sequestration was that the cuts were considered to be so broad-based and lacking in strategic direction that politicians would have forced themselves to negotiate a more sensible deficit reduction plan.

Any resolution to cut spending would have almost certainly involved unpopular decisions, but politicians’ failure to reach an accord means the government has now imposed cuts that are not only unpopular, but as President Obama said two weeks ago, “dumb.”

In 2011, the president signed the law that made sequestration possible.

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