As the partial government shutdown slogs into its fifth week, Commandant Adm. Karl L. Schultz, head of the U.S. Coast Guard, shared a video via Twitter commending his service members’ dedication while they work without pay. Schultz addressed members of the Coast Guard, saying that he and their senior leadership, along with the entire American public, “stand in awe of your continued dedication to duty and resilience of that and your families.”
“We’re five plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay,” he continued. “You as members of the armed forces should not be expected to shoulder this burden.”
Coast Guard service members did not receive their paychecks on Jan. 15, which the commandant said in an earlier statement is “the first time in our Nation’s history that servicemembers in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations.”
In the video posted on Tuesday (Jan. 22), Schultz said he was “heartened by assistance available to you within the lifelines and by the outpouring of support from local communities across the nation.”
“But ultimately, I find it unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day-to-day life as service members,” Schultz added. If the shutdown lasts through Friday (Jan. 25), the Coast Guard head says their 8,000-strong civilian workforce faces potential nonpayment, as well.
Schultz reiterated that he and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen “will continue to seek solutions.” Of course, Nielsen blamed the parents when a seven-year-old died in Border Patrol custody, so it remains to be seen if she actually cares all that much about the wellbeing of families.
“I will continue, along with the Master Chief, to take to Capitol Hill the message the critical importance of putting paychecks in the men and women’s hands that serve in the world’s best Coast Guard,” Schultz added.
“So in closing, continue to stand tall,” he concluded. “Your dedication, resilience, to this adversity defines the absolute best of our nation.”