Unusual name attracts attention

  • Published
  • By Susan Griggs
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
When one Keesler Airman walks by, heads turn and people take a second look. No one has tried to punch him yet, but in this era of sequestration and budget slashing, there's no telling what the future will hold.

Meet Staff Sgt. Larry Furlough, an airfield management instructor in the 334th Training Squadron for the past year. Across the Air Force, about 10 people share the same unusual surname, including his brother, Tech. Sgt. Anthony Furlough, and his sister-in-law, Capt. Jasmin Furlough, both assigned to the 59th Medical Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

For civilian employees across the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, temporary unpaid leave, called furlough, is one of the actions being considered as the government tries to deal with its financial woes.

"My last name wasn't a common name where I grew up, but everyone knew my family when the name 'Furlough' was mentioned," remarked Furlough, a native of Ellenwood, Ga., who joined the Air Force nine years ago.

"People are shocked or stop and do a double take when they see the name on my uniform - most think I'm joking," he said. "Some make corny jokes like, 'I bet you're always on leave, huh?' or 'Furloughs are all right, but vacations are better.' I've also been told, 'Not all Furloughs are bad,' or 'Some Furloughs are awesome.' Others reply with, 'Do you mean Furlong?'

"Some civilians think it's a prank when I call them, but they calm down when they realize that Furlough is actually my last name," Furlough continued. "One guy got angry at me for my last name last week. I think he thought I was in charge of administering furloughs here at Keesler."

In any case, Furlough has no urge to change his name to something that attracts less attention.

"It truly makes my family and me unique," he added.