After the Biden administration’s Defense Department, through the U.S. Navy’s COVID Consolidated Disposition Authority, issued a directive that would threaten Navy SEALs declining the vaccine by removing them from special warfare, reducing their salaries, and forcing them to repay training, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, himself a former Navy Seal, blasted on Facebook:
Our Nation’s best don’t sign up to be a Navy SEAL to cash in on our training years later. We give a blood oath to fight for freedom and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. In doing so, we bear a burden of emotional, psychological, physical, and family stress of constant deployments and low pay because we love our Country. Shame Mr. President for not recognizing the service and sacrifice and further insulting SEALs by making this about money.
Fox News spoke with Michael Berry, First Liberty Institute’s general counsel and Lt. Col. U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, who represents approximately 34 active-duty SEALs and two reservists. He stated:
Purging our military of its elite servicemembers is detrimental to national security. Doing so because the Commander in Chief refuses to accommodate their religious convictions is abhorrent to the Constitution. Their years of experience and leadership in service to our nation is immeasurable and irreplaceable. … Remove a SEAL from special warfare, reduce his salary, and force him to repay his training is purely vindictive and punitive. And it’s illegal. They have nothing to do with a virus.
The directive states, “The Vice Chief of Naval Operations retains authority for non-judicial punishment and courts-martial. Involuntary extension of enlistments is not authorized on the basis of administrative or disciplinary action for vaccination refusal. The CCDA may seek recoupment of applicable bonuses, special and incentive pays, and the cost of training and education for service members refusing the vaccine.”
“Another internal document reviewed by Fox News states that SEALs, as special operations (SO) duty personnel, who refuse to get vaccinated based only on religious or personal beliefs, will be ‘disqualified’ from SO duty. That would mean a SEAL seeking a religious objection would lose his or her ‘special warfare’ pay due to SO status. However, this does not apply to SEALs who are [seeking] medical objections to the vaccine,’” Fox News noted.
Lt. Cdr. Patricia Kreuzberger, a Navy spokesperson, told Fox News, “Mandatory vaccination for our servicemembers is a lawful order that maximizes our operational effectiveness. To be world-wide deployable, Naval personnel must be medically qualified which includes being up-to-date on required vaccinations. Servicemembers are entitled to seek religious exemptions and those requests will be considered in keeping with current Navy policy.”
Berry concluded, “SEALs have invested their lives into serving this nation, dedicating years of their lives and millions of taxpayer dollars in training to be the most elite fighting force on the face of the earth. Yet, the Commander in Chief would simply kick them out of the Navy, send them to jail, and force them to repay the nation for their training—all for simply declining a vaccine.”