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  • Bitting, Robert A.
    Air Force Airman 1st Class Robert A. Bitting graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
  • Nave, Zachary J.
    Air Force Airman Zachary J. Nave graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
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    Army Pvt. Moniq Jasso has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.
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No deployment to Africa, so Guard sets up job fair

Army National Guard members based in Fort Wayne are looking for work instead of preparing to provide security in East African nations.

The 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry Regiment will have a job fair today at the battalion’s armory at 130 W. Cook Road.

The fair was organized after federal spending cuts known as sequestration canceled the 500-member battalion’s scheduled deployment to Africa, which was to begin in June and last nearly a year.

“The whole purpose of this job fair is to help guys who didn’t make a plan for being here this year,” Indiana National Guard spokesman Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Scotten said Thursday.

About 30 employers will send representatives to today’s job fair. Scotten said they include Buchanan Hauling & Rigging, Comcast, Frontier Communications, Heritage Food Service Group, PepsiCo and Raytheon.

The job fair will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Assisting in the event will be WorkOne Northeast, the Fort Wayne Base Community Council and the 1-293rd Family Readiness Group.

The Army in March called off overseas deployments for about 1,000 Indiana Guard members, including the 1-293rd. The Indiana National Guard told the Military Times it was the third instance since September 2010 that the same Guard members had seen their missions canceled.

At the urging of Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., the Army agreed in April to delay the cancellations and provide an extra month’s worth of pay and medical benefits to the affected personnel. Guard members are compensated during training drills and if they are placed on active duty.

Donnelly, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said last month the Indiana Guard members had “delayed their educations, asked their employers to find replacement workers and canceled or changed their leases on cars and homes” because of the pending deployment.

The 1-293rd had been scheduled to take part in a U.S. joint task force designed to enhance stability and protect American and allied interests in Horn of Africa nations that include Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda.

Scotten said the battalion instead will return to its routine schedule: monthly drills and two weeks of training in the summer. The 1-293rd has been training for the past two weeks at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center near Columbus, Ind.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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