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Forty-two thousand uniformed members of the U.S. Coast Guard didn’t get paid Tuesday. And if nothing changes, 50,000 USCG retirees, widows and widowers will find themselves in the same leaky boat.

It’s a national disgrace. The Coast Guard is funded through the Department of Homeland Security. It’s the only military service that doesn’t get its money from the Department of Defense, which is exempt from this government shutdown.

Hardest hit are the junior enlisted men and women with families, who serve their country in the U.S. and around the world, with distinction, dedication and pride.

The president and Congress should quickly end what a former Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen, calls “this political theater.”

USCGR Lt. Cmdr. Phil Johnson (retired), Seattle