As Unvaxxed Soldiers Continue to Be Punished, Republicans Demand Answers on Military COVID Vaccine Mandate

Congressional Republicans are demanding answers from the Pentagon on the status of its COVID vaccine mandate as unvaccinated service members continue to be punished for refusing the experimental jabs—including a U.S. Coast Guard service member who was recently recognized by Joe Biden for his heroic rescues in Hurricane Ian battered Florida.

Joe Biden proclaimed last month that the “pandemic is over,” so why is the military’s COVID vaccine mandate still active, the lawmakers asked in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin this week.

“Pandemic restrictions have been lifted across the country and state and federal courts have enjoined enforcement of employment-based vaccine mandates,” wrote Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. “It is our understanding that members of the Armed Forces are now one of the only few groups in the Executive Branch still subject to termination for failure to take the vaccine.”

In August of 2021, Austin issued a directive to make COVID “vaccines” mandatory for all service members. A total of 19,460 members of the U.S. military have refused the now thoroughly discredited jabs. Technician Second Class Zach Loesch is one of 2,632 Coast Guard members who remain unvaccinated.

Biden called Loesch and several other members of the Coast Guard by phone last week, to “personally thank” them for their “heroic work” in Florida saving lives.

During the hurricane, Loesch kicked through a wall to rescue a 94-year-old disabled woman and her husband, and then hoisted them and her wheelchair into a helicopter, among other heroic feats.

He described his efforts to rescue people during the storm to WFLA-TV.

“I’m just trying to smile and be happy and show up to them as a light at the end of their dark day,” Loesch said. “A lot of them are desperate and need help and in despair. Everything they know is gone, and when they’re leaving with us it may be the last time they see their house.”

According to a White House readout of the call to Coast Guard members, Biden “thanked them for saving lives and asked for a report on the work that continues to rescue Floridians. He also asked if they needed any additional support that he can provide to accelerate successful rescues; they indicated they have gotten what they need to execute their vital mission.”

“I told him [Loesch] how proud of him I was and thanked him for all the work he and his Coasties are doing to save lives,” Biden said in remarks the White House published Friday.

Loesch is about to be discharged in 30-60 days for refusing to get a COVID-19 injection, even after he requested a religious accommodation, Breitbart News reported. According to the outlet, his request was denied, and an appeal was denied.

“If I had asked any of the people I saved yesterday if they wanted to come with me even though I am unvaccinated, every single one of them would have said ‘yes,'” he noted.

Loesch told Breitbart’s Kristina Wong that he didn’t want to bring up his pending discharge to his “commander-in-chief,” and “ruin the call.”

“It just sucks that he thanked me yet the vaccine mandate is what’s kicking me out,” he said. “I just love my job and I’m really good at it. It sucks. I feel like this is the job that I was born to do.”

Loesch appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight Wednesday evening “as an individual not representing the Coast Guard or DHS” to discuss the sad situation.

“Countries around the world are pulling back on not just their mandates, but on their use of the vax because of its now obvious dangers,” Carlson noted.

“Why do you think the administration and the Coast Guard would be for refusing to take a product that other countries no longer want people to take?” the host asked.

Loesch sighed, and said he didn’t know “why they would want to be doing that.” He added, “but I do know that I would like to continue working this job, and it’s a job that I’m really good at.”

Loesch told Carlson that he and other rescue swimmers he knows would all like to keep their jobs.

There are currently 48 pending court cases against the Biden administration challenging the mandate, Fox News reported.

In September, a lawsuit was filed against the Coast Guard and other government agencies on behalf of a class of over 1,200 service members seeking religious exemptions from the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate. It alleges that the Coast Guard is “categorically denying virtually all” religious accommodation requests.
Coast Guard spokesperson previously denied that any members have been penalized for seeking religious accommodations.

The Coast Guard did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the matter concerning Loesch.

On Fox and Friends Tuesday, host Brian Kilmeade pleaded with National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby to “talk some sense” into Joe Biden over the military’s vaccine mandate.

“You as an admiral—who knows what it takes and the sacrifices you make to join the military—to get kicked out like this!” Kilmeade exclaimed.  “Can you possibly talk some sense into this White House to reverse policy?” he asked.

Kirby, who served as spokesman for both the State Department and the DOD during the Obama years, responded repeatedly that “vaccines are a valid military requirement.”

“You want your troops to be ready, and part of being ready is being healthy, and not having the ability to infect your unit,” he said.

Kirby, who is quadruple vaxxed, told the host that he is currently recovering from COVID-19 from home(!)

“I’m talking to you from home here because I’m wrapping up my own bout with COVID over the last ten days. I’m not going to the office,” he said, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he himself represents glaring evidence that the shots are ineffective, at best.

“We all know that this vaccine does not address any of the variants we’re currently experiencing, there for there’s minimal that’s positive to getting it now,” Kilmeade argued. “To invest in our people and train them, and then dismiss them for experimental vaccines is folly when you can’t recruit!”

The host added: “Every one of your branches can’t recruit your threshold, yet you’re kicking out good men and women! How do you explain that?”

Indeed, the Army, Air Force and Navy have struggled to meet their recruitment goals this year, amid the vaccine mandate and the military’s demoralizing descent into woke madness. The Army, as of September, had only reached 52 percent of its goal.

Kirby informed Kilmeade that the Navy did make its recruiting goal, but conceded that “it’s a tough recruitment environment.”

The national security official then seemed to equate getting the COVID jab with overall healthiness.

“We have a requirement that you have to be healthy in order to serve, and this is a valid military requirement,” he insisted. “Even if it doesn’t prevent you from getting COVID—I’m double boosted I got it myself!—it makes the symptoms a lot less severe,” he argued.

Unfortunately for the vaccinated, that appears to be no longer true, if it ever was.

Swedish researchers recently released a study that showed the mRNA shots actually raise the risk of COVID hospitalizations and deaths.

Their paper, published on On Sep. 20, used data covering 9 million people, and showed that the mRNA jabs may have increased the risk of Omicron infection after three months.

Even worse, as independent journalist Alex Berenson reported on his Substack, based on their statistical analysis, “vaccinated people had a HIGHER risk of death or hospitalization from Covid roughly a year after receiving their second dose.”

Kilmeade asked Kirby if the mRNA vaccines are “worth kicking out the healthiest people in our country.”

“We would rather not lose anybody, of course. But it’s a valid military requirement,” Kirby replied.

“No it isn’t, it’s an experimental vaccine that just came off the shelf,” Kilmeade shot back. “You know it’s not valid, and it risks our national security!”

The host pleaded with Kirby one more time to “talk some sense into the White House.”

But Kirby was unmoved. “You can’t even join the military without taking about a dozen or so vaccines to make sure that you’re healthy so you can contribute to the unit’s success and readiness,” he argued. “We don’t want to lose anybody to the vaccine, but this is a valid health requirement.”

According to Fox News Digital, the Army has been “subjecting unvaccinated soldiers to punishments, including prohibiting off-base travel, halting promotions and enforcing involuntary terminations from the service.” Fox reported that this is the military’s strategy to pressure the refuseniks into getting the mRNA jabs.

An Army spokesperson confirmed to Fox that unvaccinated service members, including those who have applied for a religious accommodation exemption, are “subject to certain adverse administrative actions.”

“Soldiers who refuse the order to be vaccinated without an approved or pending exemption request are subject to certain adverse administrative actions, including flags, bars to continued service, and official reprimands (GOMORS),” the spokesperson said.

Republican lawmakers are requesting that Department of Defense (DOD) officials “provide information on the timeline to end the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, or an explanation as to why the order remains in place; a ‘determination’ on how Biden’s comments about the end of the pandemic ‘affects’ the Pentagon’s determination to enforce the mandate; and a review of how COVID-19 has impacted operational readiness for U.S. military.”

The lawmakers also are requesting a summary review of litigation against DOD for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate; an assessment of how the COVID-19 vaccine mandate is impacting recruitment and retention in the Armed Forces, as well as what consideration is being made to offer “reinstatement” to those service members who were separated because of a refusal to take the COVID vaccine; and actions taken to address the flawed COVID-19 religious accommodation process.

“We would appreciate a timely response to our request considering we are finalizing the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act,” Rogers and Republicans wrote.

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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: PINE ISLAND, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 02: Members of Florida Army National Guard arrive on October 02, 2022 in Pine Island, Florida. Residents are being encouraged to leave because the only road onto the island is impassable and electricity and water remain knocked out after Hurricane Ian passed through the area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)