U.S. Army Sergeant's career put on hold due to shutdown

By WEEK Producer

October 10, 2013 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 8:17 PM CDT

A bill to pay military death benefits is on its way to the President's desk. The benefits were not covered by the Pay Our Military Act which guarantees service members their pay during the shutdown.

While many members of the military continue working during the government shutdown, they are finding out that other aspects related to their jobs have been put on hold.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Marcel Walker was at a base in Virginia last week getting ready for training when the federal government shutdown began.

"Coming back I’ve got to re-tweak everything and see what I'm going to do for this next year, how to move forward from this point,” Sgt. Walker said. “The issue is that we're here still the government is not being picked back up. I still don't really know what's going to happen, when certain things are going to become available.”

Sgt. Walker, like other active duty members, will collect a paycheck on the October 15. He continues to work full-time at the reserve base in Bartonville but said restrictions are in place due to the government shutdown.

His wife Carolyn, who previously served in the military, was scheduled to start reserve drill this month. She said it has been canceled. Carolyn said the couple and their three children are spending more time together now.

"We had our first family night in a long time yesterday,” she said. “If he was in training he would have missed our son's birthday, our anniversary. So while I wanted him to go to school and get eligible for his promotion there are some things that are a little more important.”

In the meantime Sgt. Walker said he is taking college courses on line.

"I guess everybody is hoping this won't go on too long,” he said. “If it does we'll just have to you know "adjust fire" as they say in the military.”

As for his career training, Sgt. Walker said he will focus on obtaining his degree and enjoying valuable time with his family.

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