About 60,000 Army National Guard members and Army Reserve soldiers who refused to comply with a Department of Defense (DOD) COVID-19 vaccine mandate are no longer allowed to participate in their military duties and were cut off from some of their pay and benefits, Army officials announced July 1.
“Soldiers who refuse the vaccination order without an approved or pending exemption request are subject to adverse administrative actions, including flags, bars to service, and official reprimands,” an Army spokesperson said in a statement.
The Army confirmed on July 1 that tens of thousands of military Guard and Reserve soldiers can no longer participate in training or receive benefits, as Army faces recruiting crisis.https://t.co/Tt1ewm3zT1
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) July 8, 2022
BREAKING NEWS: Army Cuts Off More Than 60,000 Unvaccinated Guard & Reserve Soldiers from Pay & Benefits pic.twitter.com/RWoc9O8h3I
— SEGAMI (@segamihcfund) July 6, 2022
The move comes in the midst of the annual training season, during which part-time soldiers are often ordered to serve from two weeks to a month with their units for summer training exercises. Those training events are usually critical for soldiers to sharpen their military skills and for unit commanders to ensure their formations are ready to deploy if needed.
If the soldiers continue to refuse the vaccine, the consequences could be even more dire. “In the future, Soldiers who continue to refuse the vaccination order without an exemption may be subject to additional adverse administrative action, including separation,” the Army spokesperson said.
The long-term impact may mean many soldiers would be forced to leave, a devastating outcome especially in the middle of a recruiting crisis as Defense Department officials struggle to fill the ranks.
Soldiers will be allowed to come on duty and earn their pay in order to be vaccinated or to take part in separation procedures.
“We’re going to give every soldier every opportunity to get vaccinated and continue their military career,” Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, director of the Army Guard, told Military.com in an emailed statement. “We’re not giving up on anybody until the separation paperwork is signed and completed.”
As of mid-April, the Army had “discharged 255 soldiers for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine and is on track to give another 2,500 to 3,000 the boot before the end of the year — a number roughly equivalent to two or three Army battalions,” Johnson wrote on his website.
Six Army officers, including two battalion commanders, have been relieved of command, while 3,330 active-duty soldiers have been issued written reprimands for refusing to get vaccinated.
“The Army priority remains vaccinating all soldiers to maintain readiness. In determining this policy, Army leaders considered the unique realities of each component,” Reserve spokesman John Bradley told U.S. News & World Report.
“Reserve component commanders are working through a deliberate process in as few as two days per month with geographically dispersed Soldiers to ensure they become fully vaccinated.”
As of July 1, 13% of the Army National Guard and 12% of the Army Reserve are unvaccinated.
With thousands of Army National Guard and Army Reserve barred from military duties, the Biden Administration continues to weaken our military.