‘Unvaccinated soldiers present risk to the force and jeopardize readiness’
The United States Army is starting to discharge its unvaccinated soldiers, citing they are a “risk to the force and jeopardize readiness.”
On Wednesday, commanders were given the order to begin “involuntary administrative separation proceedings” against all regular Army soldiers that refuse the vaccine.
While the Pentagon issued a vaccine mandate for all of its 1.4 million service members last year, each branch has set its own mandates and timelines. Though the Army had not acted on those individuals refusing to get the vaccine, that all changed on February 2.
The most recent data suggests that 97 per cent of active-duty soldiers are fully vaxxed, which means around 15,000 are not – and are now eligible for termination.
The Army has said that those soldiers discharged will not be eligible for involuntary separation pay and may even need to pay back any unearned incentive or special payments.
Temporary exemptions could be granted to soldiers who complete their separation, retirement or start transition leave by July 1, 2022.
“Army readiness depends on Soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars,” said Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth.
“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.”
Soldiers are able to appeal the rules under religious or medical grounds but that isn’t to say commanding officers will accept the appeal. As of January 26, commanders had relieved six Army leaders, including two battalion commanders.
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