We Are The Wall – A Coast Guard Commentary On The Government Shutdown

United States Coast Guard SealDid you know the Coastguard, the United State Coast Guard (USCG) are the first armed service branch not to be paid in the history of the USA. The cause of this is the Government shutdown that has effectively shutdown the department the USCG get their funding from, the uniquely titled Department Of Homeland Security (DHS). Imagine that, you’re putting your life on the line, standing watch, and the Government, the President of the USA has effectively turned their back on you. It is time for Congress to do its job, to override the President’s veto, it is time for action to tell, the Commander-in-Chief, to live up to his responsibility and commitment to these heroes.

Ironically by shutting down the Government, the entire security internally, and externally of the USA is now at threat, cause FBI, ICE, TSA and Border Patrol, all integral parts of our intelligence and security apparatus, are not getting paid either. It all smacks of sticking your finger in your eye and wondering why it hurts moment, from a President who screams border security every second tweet.

But, I am getting ahead of myself and a little too political for my blog; I cannot help be passionate about this because my own son serves proudly in the Coast Guard and is one of the 42,000 service members who isn’t getting a paycheck. I cannot put it into better words than this essay posted by an anonymous active duty Coast Guard on the Facebook Coastguard Groups – reposted here so it doesn’t get lost in the electronic shuffle.

We Are The Wall by Anonymous

“Up until recently, I thought I had a guaranteed paycheck. Or at least guaranteed until the Coast Guard decided it didn’t need me or I decided I didn’t need the Coast Guard- both cases offering months notice to properly plan ahead for the change in financial readiness that accompanies separation from Active Duty.

While our country’s leaders enjoyed Christmas feasts, we stood the watch. While our country’s leaders enjoyed long holiday vacations, we stood the watch. While our country’s leaders decided they didn’t want to go to the White House for negotiations because it was snowing, we stood the watch.

But today something happened. I wasn’t given notice, I couldn’t plan ahead, I was taken by surprise. Sure, DHS has been shut down since December 22nd, so technically I’ve had 24 days to plan for this. Sure, I received my December 31st paycheck despite being told I might not, so I could be grateful. Sure, I’ve been warned since the New Year that I would likely miss my next paycheck, this paycheck, so maybe I should have known.

But today NOTHING happened. No agreements were reached. No decisions were made. No funding was provided.

Today the Coast Guard made history as the first service to EVER work without pay.

Without getting paid, we’ve interdicted migrants in unseaworthy crafts attempting to seek entrance to U.S. soil; we are the wall. Without getting paid, we’ve intercepted semi-submerged vessels with drugs bound for the streets where our children play; we are the wall. Without getting paid, we’ve enforced laws, treaties, and conventions on the high seas; we are the wall.

Today, 42,000 Active Duty Coast Guard men and women needed help. We sent out SOS messages, lit off flares, and alerted anyone who would listen that we, your wall, were in trouble.

We needed a giant red ship to break through the ice and free us when we were stuck. We needed a fast white boat to come and rescue us when our yacht was taking on water. We needed a fearless orange helicopter to brave a storm and lift us from a rocky shoal.

But today, no one came to our rescue. No one saved the men and women who risk everything to protect our country’s homelands and borders. No one defended the Coast Guard as your wall.

For the past 24 days, 42,000 American Heroes feared this day would come.

Today, we are in danger.

Coast Guard families are deciding which bills they can skip, what belongings they can sell, and what personal sacrifices they need to make to literally feed their children.

Today, we begin to drown.

Coast Guard families are scouring the internet for Good Samaritans offering free food, free house hold goods, and free money they can use to put gas in their cars so they can drive to work.

Today, they’ve called off the search.

The damage is done. Even if the Coast Guard gets paid tomorrow, the wounds will continue bleeding from today. Thousands of Coast Guard men and women have taken out loans, accrued debts, and cashed in on lifetime savings to make ends meets- potentially altering their financial readiness forever.

Yet despite all this, just know, we’re still here for you, America. We’ll continue to stand the watch. We’ll continue to protect our borders. And we’ll always be ready for the call”.

Semper Paratus”

#semperparatus #coastguard #coastguarddad #trumpshutdown

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About Nick

Just an Englishman lost in the USA who happens to write now and again... Anyone got a cup of tea?

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