Pentagon Seems to Have No Plan to Reinstate Troops Discharged for Refusing Vaccine Mandate

The Division of Protection has rescinded the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members. However the Pentagon doesn’t seem to have a plan to reinstate army personnel who misplaced their jobs for refusing the vaccine.  

The Each day Sign requested the Protection Division whether or not there can be an effort to convey army personnel who had been discharged for refusing the vaccine again into the army.  

“Concerning your last query, former service members could petition their Navy Division’s Discharge Assessment Boards and Boards for Correction of Navy or Naval Information to individually overview and proper personnel data, together with data relating to the characterization of their discharge,” Pentagon spokesperson Lisa Lawrence instructed The Each day Sign in an e mail Wednesday.  

The Protection Division issued a memo Tuesday explaining that army members dismissed for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine could also be eligible to obtain an honorable discharge, however the memo didn’t acknowledge any plan to reinstate these women and men. 

The Pentagon confirmed to The Each day Sign in December {that a} complete of 8,424 army members have been discharged for refusing the vaccine.  

“[Defense] Secretary Lloyd Austin’s rescinding of the army vaccine mandate is lengthy overdue,” the newly-elected head of the Home Homeland Safety Committee, Rep. Mark Inexperienced, R-Tenn., instructed The Each day Sign in an e mail Wednesday.  

“Service members punished for refusing the mandate must be reinstated,” mentioned Inexperienced, a three-tour fight veteran. “Those that don’t want to return ought to obtain full veteran advantages the place applicable for his or her service to our nation, and repair members who had been ineligible for these veteran advantages also needs to retroactively obtain them in full.”  

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The army vaccine mandate got here to an finish Dec. 23, with the signing of the Nationwide Protection Authorization Act for fiscal 12 months 2023.  

Greater than two weeks after the vaccine mandate expired, however inside the allotted 30-day interval to launch the brand new steering, the Pentagon issued a memo saying the official finish of the mandate.  

“Part 525 of the NDAA for [fiscal year] 2023 requires me to rescind the mandate that members of the armed forces be vaccinated towards COVID-19 …. I hereby rescind that memorandum,” Austin wrote within the memo.  

The memo explains that “people presently serving within the armed forces” is not going to be dismissed “solely on the idea of their refusal to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination in the event that they sought an lodging on non secular, administrative, or medical grounds.”  

Lawrence, the Pentagon spokesperson, instructed The Each day Sign that “Secretary Austin is directing the secretaries of the army departments to stop any ongoing evaluations of present service members’ non secular, administrative, or medical lodging requests solely for exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine or appeals of denials of such requests.” 

Forward of Congress’ vote on the NDAA in December, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin launched an modification that might have allowed those that refused the vaccine to be reinstated and supplied with again pay. The modification failed.  

“This vaccine mandate by no means ought to have been put in place,” Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., instructed The Each day Sign. “It has negatively impacted recruitment and the power to take care of the quantity of army women and men wanted to maintain our nation protected.”  

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Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., mentioned that forcing army members to decide on between getting vaccinated and having a livelihood “was fully inappropriate and opposite to the very freedoms these service members defend.”

“Simply as troubling is that this obvious delay for the [Pentagon] to formally challenge its memo on the rescission of the mandate, greater than two weeks after this was directed by the NDAA,” he added.

Mike Berry, director of army affairs for First Liberty Institute, mentioned in an announcement Wednesday that whereas the “secretary of protection did as Congress directed,” it was “the naked minimal owed to our courageous service members.”   

“The truth is, the secretary’s memo nonetheless permits army commanders to require the vaccine in making choices relating to unvaccinated service members,” Berry mentioned. “There are nonetheless far too many in our army who had been pressured out or are nonetheless dealing with career-ending actions due to the COVID vaccine mandate. America owes it to those that defend our Structure and our freedoms to make sure they don’t lose theirs.” 

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