Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Semper Paratus!

Second post o' the day, dedicated to the wonderful Men and Women (although far be it from me to misgender anyone) of The United States Coast Guard.

The Overlord loves the USCG.

Primarily this is because I have a nephew currently serving in it, and because I have a great deal of respect and admiration for people who do the things these youngsters do.

The Overlord would not jump into a stormy sea to save your ass from a shipwreck.

The Overlord would never rescue "migrants" who risked life-and-limb on leaky boats made of empty plastic bottles or 55-gallon drum rafts so they could suckle on the ample American tit (as an aside, I'd fire warning shots to turn them back from these shores, and when that failed, open fire for reelz. This isn't because I "hate" immigrants; I hate lawbreakers, no matter what moral spin you try to put on it).

Your would-be Galactic Dictator would never attempt to storm a drug lord's yacht in the dead of night to make an arrest.

These people do important things; they defend and protect this country.

And so it was that The Overlord got mightily fucking pissed when he heard the sordid tale of how some of these folks actually live while in government service.

Some background:

Here on Staten Island, we have a USCG station. Actually, we had one for many, many years until the 90's, when budget cuts closed USCG Station New York, except for a few administrative jobs.

I frequent a drinking establishment that is directly across the street from the old USCG Station New York complex.

Just a little local history that has absolutely NOTHING to do with what this post is about first, before I continue.

That drinking establishment used to be called "Danny Blaine's" (now "Bay Street Tavern"). If you do not know who Danny Blaine was, I'll tell you: he was a professional football player in the 1910's and 20's, and one of the (minor) architects of the modern NFL.

Believe it or not, Staten Island once had an NFL franchise, called the Staten Island Stapletons (named for the section of Staten Island where their stadium was located). They were never very good, and folded for good after the 1935 season, but their legacy lived on.

When the AFL started, the New York Titans (later to become the NY Jets) played in the Stapleton's colors (Blue and Gold) and in recent years, the NFL Jets have taken to wearing "throwback uniforms" in homage to the Stapes in selected games.

Blaine was also a veteran of the First World War.

When Blaine's playing days were over and his team folded, he took to the restaurant trade, opening several establishments (most of which could be termed "speakeasys", since this was during Prohibition), one of which was located across the street from USCG Station New York, and within walking distance of Fort Wadsworth, one of the forts that guarded the entrance to New York Harbor, and an active military base.

For seven decades, this particular location was frequented by military men, Coastguardsmen, firefighters, cops, and just about everyone else who does or gives useful service to society, and the walls were liberally festooned with locally-taken military pictures, unit patches, and FDNY and NYPD-themed paraphernalia.

The Coast Guard station closed (I think) in the early 2000's, and Fort Wadsworth had become a military museum/administrative center many years before that (in the 90's it was supposed to be incorporated into "Naval Station, New York", centered on the battleship Iowa and her escorts, but that fizzled out when Bill Clinton. Mario Cuomo and David Dinkins put the kibbosh on it to prevent Staten Island from seceding from New York City, removing the benefit of billions in military spending that would have provided financial independence), and so Danny Blaine's became less of a military hang-out and more of a neighborhood bar.

Until recently...

...because the Coast Guard has returned to Staten Island.

And so it was that several weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of meeting about half a dozen of these wonderful guys, and their wives and girlfriends, when they all came in for a Karaoke Night. As a mark of gratitude, I bought several rounds for the Coast Guard, and asked a lot of pointed questions about what my nephew might be doing (he's an electrician's mate second, currently stationed in Boston, soon to be headed for Alaska).

Because I miss the unholy fuck out my nephew, and we don't get to talk much, anymore.

Anyway, these good men and their upstanding ladyfriends and wives were an absolute delight.

Some of them returned this past Saturday evening. So, I bought more drinks for the Coast Guard. And then during the conversation that followed I learned something very distressing.

These boys and girls already get paid terribly; that was not a secret. What shocked me was to learn that their "cost of living allowance" -- an additional payment they get to make up the difference between their shitty salary and the actual COL in New York City, the most-expensive place in America -- had been cut.

To $12 a month.

Even worse, the Housing Allowance (for married couples, even living in Base Housing) had been cut from a paltry $204/month to $97/month.

To even use the Base Commissary, these guys have to cross the Verrazanno-Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn (Fort Hamilton), which costs $19, round-trip.

Most of these guys were trying to make money by Day Trading, taking on second jobs, or sending their wives to work while they stayed home with their small children, off-duty.

This is a fucking disgrace. I imagine it's like this for all military families, regardless of branch.

In the meantime, Congress just voted itself a 21% pay raise and despite bankrupting the country by printing money to pay for illegal aliens, to send Ukraine anti-tank missiles and band aids, and to push expensive and unnecessary "trans-friendly policies" in the military and civilian spheres.

Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez deserves a 21% pay raise, but a 20 year-old who jumps from helicopters to save her friends and supporters who fall off their yachts in a drunken stupor, doesn't?

This should not stand.

This should enrage you.

This is so outrageous as to be beyond my ability to express my contempt for the self-interested assholes who infest Washington, D.C.

I implore you, My Minions, to get on the phone and call your Congresscritter to complain. Swamp them with e-mails. Call your local media outlets to expose this travesty. Show up on someone's doorstep with pitchforks and torches.

In the meantime, I'm going to look into some practical solutions to help these folks out locally.

Find out what you can do, too. It's only fair.

No one deserves our help more.


GMay said...

And they're getting race and gender indoc training to boot, while their equipment rusts, a third of their planes can't fly, their leaders can't steer ships, and their warfighting capabilities decline.

But at least the Air Force is getting rid of gendered language, and the Marines had already done so. At least they know the whitey is an oppressor.

I saw this crap on the wall before I retired from the USMC in '08. I knew who Obama was and what he was going to do, so I punched out as soon as I was eligible. Sometimes I hate being right all the time.

HMS Defiant said...

Over 20 years ago it used to bug the hell out of me that my sailors in the Bay Area were offered housing at xMoffet Field and lost their housing allowance while all the other federal gov employees got the housing and kept their housing allowance. Oddly enough, the handful of military folks left after the BRAC shut down everything got the worst housing.