Goverment shutdown affects Chaminade students

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Dray Thompson

Cadet Major Anthony Fisher (left) standing aside with Corporal Chesley Bond (right).

On October 16, the government shutdown reached its end of calamity. From U.S. departments to federal agencies, millions of employees were affected by being sent home and not receiving their next salary. Due to the chain reaction, the impact of the shutdown reached to the state of Hawaii.

The Hawaiian branch of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the University of Hawaii‘ Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (UH ROTC) were also affected from the shutdown. Chaminade students Chesley Bond, a corporal of the Marine Corps, and Anthony Fisher, a Cadet Major of the UH ROTC, explains on how the alarming event impacted their lives.

One of the critical concerns from Cpl. Bond and Cadet Maj. Fisher is that their salary from the Montgomery GI bill was forced to be on hold. If the shutdown extended to the end of October or the beginning of November, the funds wouldn’t go to their housing and registration for the spring semester.

“I wouldn’t have the money to be able to put down the next semester of school, or anyone to process the paper work to be able to register for school and housing benefits under the GI bill,” Cpl. Bond said.

“ It had created an issue where if the shutdown had continued, I wouldn’t be able to complete schooling next semester,” Cadet Maj. Fisher said.

The impact of the shutdown for Hawaii became intense since there are many military bases around the island, which contributes the economic atmosphere. During the shutdown, military families were unable to shop at the commissary and had to buy necessities’ at full price plus tax. In addition to paying full price, federal employed were cautious with their money while they were furloughed.

“On my business side, my battalion stopped being able to conduct any training,” Cadet Maj. Fisher said.  “My entire job is to train 300 people. If I can’t train 300 people because I don’t have funding, my vans don’t have gas, we can’t fire any bullets, we can’t maneuver anybody anywhere. What is accessible are the baseball field and football field, which is strictly power training, drills and ceremonies. I cannot fully prepare my guys for testing this summer, and we are a time-sensitive schedule.”

All from 16 days of the shutdown caused a shift in time for Cadet Maj. Fisher and his troops to adjust for what’s to come later in the near future.

In addition to a salary delay, politics became the other critical concern for Chesley and Anthony. Cpl. Bond stated that the situation is never really over.

“It’s going to happen next year and the year after that….who is to say that they are not going to keep pushing it again, and play with our salaries and benefits,” Chesley said.

For Cadet Maj. Fisher, he respects the decision made by President Barack Obama since he is the acting commander in chief. That aside, the shutdown affected his personal life.

“Personally, it caused many issues in my personal life, but you got to do what you got to do,” Cadet Maj. Fisher said.