Coast Guard Commandant: I Know You Haven't Been Paid But 'Stay The Course'

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Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando

The Coast Guard's top officer is telling his subordinates to "stay the course" after they missed their regularly scheduled paycheck amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

In a message to the force sent Tuesday, Adm. Karl L. Schultz said both he and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary remain "fully engaged" on the missing pay issue, which have caused "anxiety and uncertainty" for Coasties and their families.


"I am grateful for the outpouring of support across the country, particularly in local communities, for our men and women. It is a direct reflection of the American public's sentiment towards their United States Coast Guard; they recognize the sacrifice that you and your family make in service to your country," Schultz wrote.

"It is also not lost on me that our dedicated civilians are already adjusting to a missed paycheck—we are confronting this challenge together."

Schultz also mentioned that USAA donated $15 million to Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, a relief organization for Coast Guard members in need (More information on how to apply for help can be found here).

About 42,000 active duty members and about 8,000 civilian employees are going unpaid during the shutdown, according to Rear Adm. Cari Thomas (Ret.), the CEO of Coast Guard Mutual Assistance.

Despite the lapse in funding — which comes from DHS instead of DoD, which is not affected by the shutdown — Coast Guardsman have been doing what they've been doing, rescuing fishermen, interdicting drug smugglers, and conducting patrols in the Arctic.

"The strength of our Service has, and always will be, our people. You have proven time and again the ability to rise above adversity. Stay the course, stand the watch, and serve with pride. You are not, and will not, be forgotten."

As Politico reports, President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders "are not even talking any more" about reopening the government, so this might not be the only paycheck Coasties can expect to miss.

Here's the full message from Schultz:

To the Men and Women of the United States Coast Guard,

Today you will not be receiving your regularly scheduled mid-month paycheck. To the best of my knowledge, this marks 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.

Your senior leadership, including Secretary Nielsen, remains fully engaged and we will maintain a steady flow of communications to keep you updated on developments.

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. To this end, I am encouraged to share that Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) has received a $15 million donation from USAA to support our people in need. In partnership with CGMA, the American Red Cross will assist in the distribution of these funds to our military and civilian workforce requiring assistance.

I am grateful for the outpouring of support across the country, particularly in local communities, for our men and women. It is a direct reflection of the American public's sentiment towards their United States Coast Guard; they recognize the sacrifice that you and your family make in service to your country.

It is also not lost on me that our dedicated civilians are already adjusting to a missed paycheck—we are confronting this challenge together.

The strength of our Service has, and always will be, our people. You have proven time and again the ability to rise above adversity. Stay the course, stand the watch, and serve with pride. You are not, and will not, be forgotten.

Semper Paratus,

Admiral Karl L. Schultz Commandant

SEE ALSO: Coast Guard To Struggling Families: Have You Considered Becoming A Dog Walker?

WATCH: Coast Guard Responds After Hurricane Harvey

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