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.

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Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Lyman Dickinson, an aviation-survival technician, is lowered into the water during a search-and-rescue exercise with the Mexican navy off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico, June 7, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Joel Guzman)

Twenty-four days into the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, the strain is being felt acutely by the U.S. Coast Guard, as some 42,000 active-duty members are preparing to miss their first paycheck on January 15.

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As the government shutdown drags on into its third week, the Coast Guard is the only branch of the military whose members will continue to serve without pay. And not everyone thinks that arrangement is acceptable.

In a recent essay for Proceedings Magazine, the 23rd Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Thad W. Allen (Ret.), criticized the shutdown, calling it "political theater" before slamming elected officials for losing sight of their "constitutional responsibilities," even as coast guardsmen across the country continue to serve in austere and dangerous situations.

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A surprise maneuver at the end of December ensured Coast Guardsmen got their final paychecks of 2018, despite the government shutdown that began on December 22.

But the shutdown has dragged on, and the income for some 50,000 personnel, including 42,000 deemed essential personnel and required to work during the shutdown, remains in doubt as the first payday of 2019 approaches.

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It's a miracle! The federal government figured out a way not to screw some 42,000 Coast Guardsmen out of pay during the government shutdown. Sort of...

An updated memo released Dec. 27 notes that coasties can expect to get paid on Dec. 31 thanks to a "one-time action" that applies to "military members that served on active duty in the month of December and those reserve military members that drilled prior to the lapse in appropriation."

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