HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- The impacts of government spending cuts continue to pile up in the Top of Utah as one of Hill Air Force Base's F-16 squadrons will be grounded because of sequestration.
The U.S. Air Force announced Tuesday it will begin to reduce flying hours and, in some cases, ground active-duty combat units to ensure the remaining units supporting worldwide operations can maintain sufficient readiness through the remainder of the fiscal year.
The "stand down," as the Air Force is calling it, is the result of cuts to the Air Combat Command's operations and maintenance account, which will be implemented in part by flying approximately 45,000 fewer training hours than what was previously scheduled between now and Oct. 1.
As part of the stand down, the 29 pilots of Hill's 4th Fighter Squadron will be grounded once they return home from a deployment in the Asia-Pacific.
The group left in October, but a return date has not yet been set, said Andrea Mason, spokeswoman for the 388th Fighter Wing.
Mason said that, during the stand down, air crew and maintainers will use flight simulators and academic training to maintain basic skills and knowledge of their aircraft.
Air crews will also complete ground training as funding allows, conduct nonflying exercises and study mission-related material and guidance.
Maintainers will complete upgrade training and clear up a backlog of scheduled inspections and maintenance to the extent possible given budget impacts in other areas, such as the supply of spare parts.
Hill's other F-16 Fighter Squadron, the 421st, will train at a "basic mission capable" level, down from its normal "combat ready" level of training.
Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, said the branch would focus its budget and resources on units supporting major missions, like the war in Afghanistan, while other units stand down on a rotating basis.
"The current situation means we're accepting the risk that combat air power may not be ready to respond immediately to new contingencies as they occur," Hostage said in a statement.
Hostage said the stand down involves a "tiered readiness" concept where only the units preparing to deploy in support of major operations like Afghanistan are fully mission capable.
Barring any changes to current levels of funding, the stand down will remain in effect for the remainder of fiscal year 2013, which ends Sept. 30.
The U.S. Navy confirmed that the Blue Angels aerobatic team would be canceling the rest of its season.
Tom Frosch, the Blue Angels lead pilot and team commander, announced the news late Tuesday at the team's Pensacola Naval Air Station headquarters standing in front of the one of the iconic blue-and-gold jets.
Frosch said the news marks the first time since the Korean War that the team would not make the air show rounds.
"The Navy held off as long as possible with the hope of salvaging some of the season," Frosch said. "We hope we'll be turned back on for 2014."
As the news trickled out, business owners and residents of the coastal enclave where the team is based were disappointed.
"I just think it's sad that there are political games being played. I doubt the Blue Angels are even half of 1 percent of the entire Navy budget," said Lloyd Proctor, co-owner of Blue Angel Hot Tubs in Pensacola.
Proctor and his wife named their business after the team 10 years ago.
"They have national name recognition, and they are loved by people everywhere," Proctor said Tuesday.
Most held out hope that the grounding was temporary and that the season could somehow be salvaged.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.