‘How to be assigned to Area 51’ and other stupid military questions answered


Thirty-three days after the U.S. government shutdown, the only military branch affected has missed one paycheck and is on the verge of losing the next.

The Coast Guard and its approximately 41,000 active-duty members are part of the Department of Homeland Security, which was unfunded before the government shutdown last month. The other branches are part of the Ministry of Defense, which is fully funded.

Officials found a way to pay Coast Guard members on December 31, 2018, but no such move was possible by January 15, 2019. Legislative action is needed this week to ensure a check arrives January 30, 2019. Pay and benefits for civilian workers and Coast Guard retirees are also at stake.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Bryan Evans, a Coast Guard Air Station Miami lifeguard, performs a freefall deployment from an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter east of Miami Beach, June 6, 2017.

(Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric D. Woodal)

“We are in unknown waters”

Some Coast Guard operations, such as safety boarding and licensing services, have been curtailed, but life-saving and national security missions continue. Now, the service’s current and former commanders have weighed in, berating for inaction extending the shutdown.

In a video posted On January 22, 2019, Commander Adm. Karl Schultz told members of the service that he, the service leadership and the public “are impressed by your continued dedication to duty and resilience and that of your families.”

“We have been in the anxiety and stress of this government failure and your non-pay for more than five weeks. You should not, as members of the armed forces, shoulder this burden, ”said Schultz.

Schultz said he was encouraged by officer assistance to the military. “But at the end of the day, I find it unacceptable that the men and women of the Coast Guard have to rely on pantries and donations for their daily living.”

'How to be assigned to Area 51' and other stupid military questions answered

Coast Guard Commander Adm. Karl Schultz, left, with Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer and Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, right, in Nome, August 13, 2018.

(Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jetta Disco)

Paul Zukunft, who retired in June 2018 as Admiral after his four-year tenure as Commander, was more direct in a column for the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine titled “Breaking Faith with America’s Coast Guard “.

Despite the service’s wide and varied responsibilities and ongoing operations, the Coast Guard is often overlooked by the public and by owners of Congress, writes Zukunft.

“To add insult to injury, the Coast Guard is no longer doing ‘more with less’, but ‘doing everything with nothing,’ says Zukunft. “I served side-by-side with our military during previous government shutdowns and listened to the concerns of our volunteer-only force. This current government shutdown is causing long-term damage and is more than just a pablum to fuel the 24-hour news cycle. “

“We are now in uncharted waters given its duration and the hardships it causes, particularly at many Coast Guard facilities that reside in high-cost communities along the U.S. Coast where personnel on duty already lives off paychecks to pay bills and take care of childcare. costs that may exceed $ 1,000 per month for a child.

'How to be assigned to Area 51' and other stupid military questions answered

Family and friends reunite with crew members on the flight deck of Coast Guard Bertholf after a 90-day deployment, September 4, 2018.

(Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi)

“We can only take it day after day”

For the Coast Guard’s more than 14,000 junior members – roughly one-third of the active-duty force – base pay is considered to be at or just below the poverty line, three former Masters said in an editorial, adding that most of them do not have the resources to live without pay “for an extended period”.

“We chose to make sacrifices when we joined or married in the Coast Guard,” Coast Guard wife Susan Bourassa told the Military Times. “We are proud to be there. But part of those sacrifices is that we thought there was a salary we could count on, through thick and thin.

Communities have come together to support Coast Guard families – including in Alameda, Calif., Home to four of the service’s new National Security Coast Guardsmen.

In January 2019, more than 600 military personnel, including 168 families, gathered there for a gift of everything from fresh fruit to diapers. The cutter Bertholf and her more than 100 crew members left Alameda for a multi-month deployment to the Pacific. The Defense Ministry will reimburse the Coast Guard for the mission, but staff will not be paid until the closure is over.

'How to be assigned to Area 51' and other stupid military questions answered

Coast Guard Bertholf on a drug patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean on March 11, 2018.

(Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Trees)

In a letter dated January 18, 2019, Vice-Commander Adm. Charles Ray said Mutual Assistance from the Coast Guard, a nonprofit charity that assists the service, has increased value and broadened eligibility for the interest-free loans it offers.

Mutual Assistance is partnering with the Red Cross to distribute these funds, Schultz said in January 2019. CGMA has “secured enough funds to put money in your hands to overcome your personal financial challenges,” said Schultz said in his video post. “It’s your fund. It is your safety net.

Ray’s letter stated that the service was working with the Department of Defense “to notify all privatized government housing sites that the Coast Guard [basic allowance for housing] allocations will not be available until funding is restored.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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