Unlike the other branches, there is one military service whose members are about to miss a paycheck. The U.S. Coast Guard is the only military service that is “deployed” all over the nation every day 24/7. And the brave Coasties who are working without pay are risking their lives to protect us. According to a Coast Guard spokeswoman, they are continuing to provide essential operations “for national security or that protect life and property during partial government shutdowns,” such as search-and-rescue, securing the nation’s ports and coastlines, other law enforcement duties and environmental response. Here are just a few examples:
- on Tuesday, the Coast Guard in Michigan rescued an injured crewman on Lake Michigan
- yesterday, the Coast Guard in South Florida rescued three men six miles into the ocean off the Lower Florida Keys– the men were clinging to their vessel
- last Thursday night, a Coast Guard helicopter in Washington state rescued a father and his 15-year-old son who went missing in separate small craft in 2- to 3-foot frigid seas and 23 mph winds during a storm (watch the footage of the rescue here)
- last week, Coast Guard crews based in Hawaii, worked with the Navy to rescue16 mariners from a burning vehicle cargo vessel stranded1800 miles from Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific, and then continue to search for a handful of survivors who jumped into the sea to escape the flames.
The shutdown impacts their families too. The wife of a Coast Guard member stationed in California who has two children told NBC News that the current situation leaves families feeling “cast aside.” She has never in her husband’s 25 years of service had to deal missing a paycheck, and reminded us that “[p]eople who serve in the Coast Guard don’t do it for the riches. They do it because … they want to serve the country they love…We put so much on the line every day.” And for that, you are our heroes — this week and every week.