At a time when the Army is lowering standards to meet recruitment goals, the Biden Defense Department is preparing to discharge at least 14,000 Army National Guard troops who refuse to get injected with the experimental mRNA shots.
As many as 40,000 Army National Guard soldiers across the country have not yet gotten the mandated COVID-19 injections, and at least 14,000 of them have flatly refused, the Associated Press reported.
The 40,000 soldiers—13 percent of the force—have until Thursday to comply with the mandate or be drummed out of the military.
According to data obtained by AP, between 20 percent to 30 percent of Guard soldiers in six states are not vaccinated, and more than 10 percent in 43 other states are still unvaccinated. These numbers include troops who have already had COVID and thus have natural immunity, which is superior to the genetic injections.
At least seven governors formally asked Austin to reconsider or not enforce the vaccine mandate for National Guard members, and some filed or signed on to lawsuits. In letters to the governors, Austin declined, and said that the coronavirus “takes our service members out of the fight, temporarily or permanently, and jeopardizes our ability to meet mission requirements.” He said Guard troops must either get the vaccine or lose their Guard status.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a memo in August of 2021 announcing the mandate:
To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force. After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease…is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people.
Many health experts question the benefit the shots for healthy young people because they are statistically not at risk of death or serious complications from COVID, while there are serious risks associated with the injections.
There is an increased risk of myocarditis or pericarditis following COVID-19 mRNA injections, and it’s highest in men aged 18–25 years after a second dose, the Lancet reported. A recent survey of a cross-section of America done by a professional polling firm found a 3.7 percent rate of myocarditis among Americans who took the vaccine who responded to the survey.
Meanwhile, a recently published peer-reviewed paper shows large decreases in sperm counts among men after the second dose of Pfizer’s mRNA COVID vaccine, with the decline continuing for over five months in many cases. The long-term effects of the injections are not fully known, but many medical experts are concerned that shots are weakening immune systems and spurring the creation of new variants.
Despite these risks, Guard leaders are reportedly “doing all they can to encourage soldiers to get vaccinated by the time limit.” They will also “work with the roughly 7,000 who have sought exemptions,” most of which are for religious reasons, the AP reported.
“We’re going to give every soldier every opportunity to get vaccinated and continue their military career. Every soldier that is pending an exemption, we will continue to support them through their process,” said Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, director of the Army National Guard, in an Associated Press interview. “We’re not giving up on anybody until the separation paperwork is signed and completed. There’s still time.”
Congressional Republicans tried and failed last week to undo or weaken the military’s draconian vaccine mandate, MilitaryTimes.com reported.
For months, Republican lawmakers have decried the mandate as unfair and potentially jeopardizing military readiness, despite Pentagon leaders insisting the dismissals have had no effect.
Wednesday, during debate in the House Armed Services Committee over the annual defense authorization bill, GOP members offered seven separate coronavirus amendments, including one to force Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin from his leadership post if he refuses to repeal the vaccine mandate.
“When our leadership fails to reassess the situation, when they blindly say, ‘I made a decision and it’s right and I’m sticking with it come hell or high water,’ I think we have a duty to respond,” said Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss. “We need to reevaluate whether natural immunity plays a role, whether age does, do that based on the facts and the science and the data.”
Republican lawmakers argued that troops should be exempt for religious reasons, for presumed natural immunity, or simply because they don’t want it.
While the Army is bent enforcing the vaccine mandate, it is discarding its mandate for potential recruits to have a high school diploma or GED certificate to enlist in the service, and relaxing its tattoo rules.
The service announced last week that individuals may enlist without graduating from high school if they ship to basic training this fiscal year, which ends Oct. 1, Military.com reported.
Recruits must also be at least 18 years old and otherwise qualify for a job in the active-duty Army. They also must score at least a 50 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, an SAT-style quiz to measure a potential recruit’s academic ability.
A 50 on the test is a relatively low score, with 31 being the minimum to qualify for service. Combat arms jobs such as infantrymen and cavalry scouts need only minimal scores to serve, while admin work such as a human resources specialist or public affairs require scores of 100 or higher.
Previously, the Army would allow people to enlist if they hadn’t finished high school yet at the age of 17 with parental consent. Those recruits typically wouldn’t ship to basic training until they completed school.
The change follows another shift in policy this week when the service relaxed its tattoo rules, allowing potential recruits to enlist with tattoos on their hands and neck, which previously needed waivers.
The armed services are scrambling to improve recruitment numbers by reportedly offering “increasingly generous benefits and policy tweaks” even though a weak economy is historically good for military recruitment.
At least 3,400 troops have reportedly been removed from service for refusing to get the COVID-19 jab in recent months.