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VIDEO: Coast Guard head slams ‘unacceptable’ nonpayment during shutdown

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz speaks at the Military Reporters and Editors Conference in Arlington, Virginia, Oct. 26, 2018. Schultz spoke about the Coast Guard, it’s missions and the readiness of the service during the conference, which was attended by members of the Washington, D.C., defense press corps and journalism students. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Jasmine Mieszala/U.S. Coast Guard)
January 23, 2019

As the partial government shut down has stretched passed its first month – the longest in history, the Coast Guard continues to serve but not get paid, prompting leaders to speak out.

Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Karl Schultz, tweeted a video late Tuesday night denouncing the detriment incurred by Coast Guard members as a result of the shutdown.

“Your Coast Guard leadership team & the American people stand in awe of your continued dedication to duty, resilience, & that of your families. I find it unacceptable that USCG members must rely on food pantries & donations to get through day-to-day life,” Schultz’s tweet said.

“We’re five plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non pay. You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden,” Shultz said in the video.

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“I remain heartened by assistance available to you within the lifelines and by the outpouring of support from local communities across the nation,” he added. “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 warned of continued nonpayment as the next pay period approaches.

“This week we’ll hit another sobering milestone, and that’s potential nonpayment to our civilians on Friday,” Schultz said, adding that the branch is supported by a civilian workforce of 8,000.

However, he vowed to work with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to “seek solutions.”

“This will end. We will get through this,” Schultz promised service members. “Continue to stand tall. Your dedication, resilience, to this adversity defines the absolute best of our nation.”

Numerous financial institutions have offered loans specially geared toward service members who have not been paid during the shutdown. Communities have also stepped up to help feed Coast Guard families in need.

On Monday, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and retired Gen. Marty Dempsey also tweeted in criticism of the burden affecting Coast Guard members.

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“Yesterday CG Cutter Bertholf and crew of 170 deployed for months leaving their families without pay. A harsh and avoidable burden on them. Someone may eventually declare victory in the shutdown. It will be a pyrrhic victory. Responsible leaders acknowledge limits,” Dempsey said.

Despite their lack of pay, the USS Cutter Bertholf deployed on a six-month mission to the Western Pacific – a first in years.