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Dozens of United States Marines have already been discharged as a result of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s military-wide vaccine mandate — and several Marines told Fox News that the move has felt like a “political purge.”
The Defense Department’s mandate has been in effect since November 28, and 169 Marines have been discharged since then for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Thousands more who have refused the shot are still awaiting discharge orders or other disciplinary action — and although service members are allowed to request religious exemptions, none have yet been granted approval.
Fox News reported:
Marines are allowed to apply for a religious exemption, but so far not a single application regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, or any vaccine for that matter, has been approved, a Marine Corps spokesman told Fox News.
Several Marines who refuse to get the shot were granted anonymity by Fox News Digital, so they could speak freely. They said they are witnessing a “political purge” by the Biden administration that is forcing out the military’s “best and brightest” over deeply held beliefs they say are protected by the First Amendment.
“There’s something fundamentally wrong at this point with our nation’s leadership. We are facing an unconstitutional edict that I think is very targeted as a political purge, taking out some of the best and brightest soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians from the Space Force,” one major with 17 years of service under his belt told Fox News.
Others said that the Marine Corps appeared to be making examples of those who pushed back, saying, “the louder I speak the tighter the screws are turned against me.”
The Fox News report continued:
The Marines who spoke with Fox News said they were on the receiving end of a “blanket” denial of religious exemptions, with their applications being rejected without consideration. Eight separate letters of denial provided to Fox News were nearly identical, citing “military readiness” as the primary reason for rejection.
“I saw one package from a sergeant who had attached, like, 30 pages of material to substantiate why his belief was sincere, under no lawful obligation to do so,” the master sergeant said. “And then to have this as a response with no individual inquiry and just a generalized assertion of governmental interest is insulting.”
“On the religious side, this is absolutely a travesty what’s happening,” one chief warrant officer said. “People are getting blanket denials, they’re not addressing the individual concerns or beliefs of Marines who are submitting for religious accommodations, and I think that’s just horribly wrong. I honestly believe that they’re not really reading the packages.”
Capt. Ryan Bruce, a spokesman for the Marine Corps, told Fox News in a statement that no religious exemptions had yet been granted — and that 3080 of the 3192 requests the Corps had received had already been processed and denied since the mandate took effect at the end of November. According to Bruce, the denials were not surprising. “No religious accommodations have been approved for any other vaccine in the past seven years,” he added.
As of mid-December, the Air Force had also discharged 27 service members over a failure to comply with the vaccine mandate.
The Air Force has discharged 27 service members for refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine, a spokeswoman said, making these likely the first troops to be removed from the military for failure to obey the vaccine mandate. https://t.co/dfdruN2Qww
— CNN (@CNN) December 14, 2021
Army Ranger veteran and Republican Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has voiced his objections to the military enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. “Kicking thousands of young, healthy troops out of the military over the vaccine mandate hurts our national security,” he tweeted. “All because President Biden is trying to restore his political standing.”
Kicking thousands of young, healthy troops out of the military over the vaccine mandate hurts our national security.
All because President Biden is trying to restore his political standing.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) December 16, 2021
The Daily Wire is fighting Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate in federal court. Join us in this fight by signing our petition to OSHA, telling them that you will not comply with this mandate.