Sequestration cuts target color guards, flyovers at games

by: John Bachman Updated:


ATLANTA - Patriotic pageantry at big-time sporting events like Braves games, even this weekend's Final Four, could feel the pinch of massive federal cuts.

Channel 2's John Bachman has learned that sequestration is grounding most military flyovers and clamping down on color guards.

The Braves put on a great show before and during their Opening Day game Monday night. They had vintage planes fly over during the National Anthem. However, there were not jets, or National Guard Blackhawk helicopters as in years past.

"Very few people see that without getting goosebumps," fan David Anthony told Bachman.

Sequestration is cutting the patriotic hair-raisers. The Georgia National Guard can no longer do flyovers without a rare exception given from Washington.

"Sequestration has really put the pinch on what Georgia National Guard and frankly all military outlets can and can't do as far as community events," said MaryTherese Tebbe, public affairs director for the Georgia National Guard.

Last year, Tebbe said the guard did 300 events and said no to 90 requests. So far this year, they've already had to say no 60 times.

Anthony said it's affecting his son's Air Force Academy graduation as well.

"Big thing with that is (the) flyover and tossing hats. They've canceled that. We were looking forward to that for four years," Anthony said.

Fans miss the flyovers, and the Guard misses the chance to show the public what it does.

"But we all have to give up things we want during these times, so I don't want to say we shouldn't give it up. For me it's a little personal this year," Anthony said.

"Something like that is for show for entertainment. As far as economy we have to cut back. It has to happen," Brandon Sanders, of Marietta, told Bachman.

The Final Four has asked the Georgia National Guard Color Guard to perform for the games this weekend. The Guard is waiting on word from Washington to know if it can.