In the midst of the longest government shutdown in American history, it can be difficult to keep track of who is affected and exactly how they are affected.

But this one letter from the head of the U.S. Coast Guard does a better job that just about any other symbolic example of showing how a partial shutdown supposedly centered on American border security is literally hitting home the hardest for the people who have signed up to protect America from outside threats.

Admiral Karl Schultz is the 26th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and was forced to issue a letter to those serving their country that for the first known time on record they would not be receiving paychecks for their work. On Twitter, Schultz summarized the news with a thunderously simple message:


“Today you will not be receiving your regularly scheduled 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 appropriations.”

In a series of follow-up tweets, Schultz continued to outline how the members of the USCG are continuing to serve and protect America’s interests even if the American government, primarily because of President Trump, can’t hold up its end of serving our country.

The letter reads in full:

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

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