President Trump at the U.S. Coast Guard Change-of-Command Ceremony in June, as Adm. Karl Schultz became commandant. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
Adm. Karl Schultz, top commander of the U.S. Coast Guard, addressed the government shutdown in a letter on Tuesday, telling the men and women of the Coast Guard that it's "the first time in our Nation's history that servicemembers in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid" in a lapse of federal funding.
The big picture: The men and women tasked with keeping the country safe — including TSA agents, FBI agents and other law enforcement officials — aren't being paid. Schultz told the Coast Guard that it's not lost on him "that our dedicated civilians are already adjusting to a missed paycheck," but encouraged them to "[s]tay the course, stand the watch, and serve with pride." Schultz also said that USAA has given a $15 million donation to Coast Guard Mutual Assistance "to support our people in need."
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.
Admiral Karl L. Schultz