Idaho guardsmen returning from furlough

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Dozens of Idaho Army National Guard aircraft mechanics are on the job again at Gowen Field.

They're among the first wave of guardsmen to return after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel over the weekend ordered some 300,000 Department of Defense employees back to work.

Congress recently passed, and the president enacted, the Pay Our Military bill which gave Hagel the authority to recall certain civilian defense workers from furlough.

"I got a phone call last night, the one we've been waiting on," said Capt. Nate Patrick with the Idaho Army National Guard. "It was telling me to let all my employees know to come back to work."

Most of the 850 furloughed guardsmen around the state will be back by Tuesday.

And job one at the helicopter maintenance hanger now is to catch up where they left off several days ago.

"The worst thing that can happen to an aircraft is to let it sit too long," said Capt. Patrick. "Then they start leaking from different places."

But the guard is still feeling the pinch of this shut down. For example, they can't order any spare parts.

"It's still going to hurt us a little bit," said Capt. Patrick. "We can't get parts. We can't buy fuel."

But they'll soldier on as they always do,wondering, like the rest of the nation, when things will ever get back to normal.