Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,
During my travels, I’ve had the pleasure to meet face-to-face with men and women currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. These are not customary meet-and-greets with a simple exchange of pleasantries.
I have been to sit and engage with them, learn about their commitment to serving our nation, and understand the issues they and their families face. Those conversations help shape The American Legion’s policy, drive our advocacy messages, and embolden our organization to support today’s servicemembers and their families.
While meeting members of the Coast Guard in Oregon, I was reminded how critical it was for The American Legion to raise more than $1 million for Coasties during the record-setting 2019 government shutdown. The Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Defense, so it is the only military branch that is not funded during shutdowns.
That meant some junior members faced financial distress while continuing to serve their nation. Krystyna Duffy, now a boatswain’s mate at the Coast Guard station in Coos Bay, Ore., told me how her crew in San Francisco kept their commitment.
“The beauty of the Coast Guard — even without pay — is that a lot of us joined to serve,” she said. “Each day was a challenge, knowing that members weren’t getting paid but we made the best of it. We still answered the call and supported the call.”
That is admirable for sure. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
That’s why The American Legion supports legislation that would ensure Coast Guard members receive their pay during a government shutdown. Rep. Hillary Scholten, D-Mich., has introduced HR 2693, the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act of 2023.
You can support our Coast Guard members by contacting your member of Congress today to call for passage of the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act. (Additionally, visit the Legion’s Grassroots Action Center to stay informed on current issues and access tools to communicate directly with lawmakers.)
Thank you for what you do every day to improve the lives of our fellow veterans, servicemembers and their families.
Vincent J. “Jim” Troiola
The American Legion