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Coast Guard Commandant Blasts Government Shutdown That's Forced Service Members 'To Rely On Food Pantries And Donations'
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.
"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."
While Schultz praised the "outpouring of support" from local communities who have donated daily essentials, he sharply criticized the situation and said he would "continue to seek solutions" on Capitol Hill.
"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 said.
"This will end. We will get through this," Master Chief Petty Officer Jason Vanderhaden added.
In a statement to Coast Guard service members last week, Schutlz offered his support after receiving word their paychecks were delayed.
"Today you will not be receiving your regularly scheduled mid-month paycheck," Schutlz said in a statement.
"I recognize the anxiety and uncertainty this situation places on you and your family, and we are working closely with service organizations on your behalf," he added.
Around 800,000 federal employees and contractors are affected by the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The Coast Guard, which operates under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security, was reportedly not able to pay around 42,000 active-duty service members last week.
The shutdown, which has been ongoing for more than a month, marks the first time a branch of the military was not paid.
Around 3,500 Coast Guardsmen in Washington and Oregon are reportedly affected by the shutdown, the majority of whom are working without pay. Food banks have been operating to support the service members, similar to those that have sprouted up in other areas of the nation for federal employees and contractors.
President Donald Trump, who is demanding $5.7 billion in funding for a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border, faces opposition from a Democratic-majority House, who have refused to pass any funding bill that includes spending on the barrier.
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- 2 of the U.S. military's service academies are falling apart, with major maintenance backlogs
- A long-awaited Army study found that Iran was the only winner from the Iraq war
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Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
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You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.