On Wednesday, the United States Army announced that it will begin the process of discharging any soldiers who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine effective immediately.
As reported by ABC News, the Army is the last branch of the United States military to fully discharge those who do not comply with the strict vaccine mandates; the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps have already discharged all personnel who refuse the vaccines, from active-duty members to entry-level members at boot camps.
Currently, there are over 3,300 soldiers who still have not been vaccinated, and who are now at risk of discharge. Of these, 3,000 have already been formally reprimanded. These soldiers account for the roughly 3 percent of the Army who have requested exemptions on either a medical or religious basis; the remaining 97 percent have either been fully or partially vaccinated.
The order was made by Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, stating that “Army readiness depends on soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars.” She then falsely claimed that “unvaccinated soldiers present risk to the force and jeopardize readiness.”
“We will begin involuntary separation proceedings for Soldiers who refuse the vaccine order and are not pending a final decision on an exemption,” she continued.
The vaccine mandate for the Army includes all active-duty soldiers, reserves on active duty, cadets at the Military Academy at West Point, and ROTC students. The order specifies that all soldiers who are discharged as a result of the mandate will have the reason for their discharge formally listed as “misconduct.”
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin first ordered last year that the entirety of the armed services be vaccinated, with little room for exemptions. His order has faced significant legal resistance from all branches, as well as from multiple governors who are suing over the mandate’s effects on their states’ respective National Guards.