The House Armed Services Committee has taken a first step for service members who were discharged for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and allow them back into active duty.
Chairman of the Military Personnel subcommittee, Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) stated “This provides a fair, equitable, and honorable option for our wrongly separated service members — many who filed legitimate religious exemptions and were ignored — to return to the ranks without any detriments to their career progression.”
The committee’s actions come after a 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (DNAA) repealed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for military personnel, which “opened up a host of complications for members awaiting exemptions or discharges who had negative marks entered into their personnel records and did nothing to reinstate those already discharged” reports The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The House Armed Services Committee, debating its markup of the NDAA for fiscal year 2024, took an initial stab at addressing those problems following a year of confusion and GOP dissatisfaction with the Pentagon over how it handled the vaccine repeal” the publication adds.
Banks introduced an amendment which prevents the Department of Defense (DOD) from adding adverse actions to a service member’s personnel record solely on the basis of refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. Top officials from each of the services previously told Congress no servicemember would be punished just for refusing the vaccine, but “aggravating factors” could lead to adverse marks permanently entered in their files.
The bill also asks the secretary to reinstate willing members with no changes to their rank or paygrade, rather than requiring them to reenlist and work their way back up to the position they held at time of separation.
Our military is struggling: including low recruitment #s.
If that’s the case, why are service members being punished for choosing NOT to take the COVID vax? This will NOT help with recruiting!
It makes ZERO sense!
👇Watch here to learn more about this proposed NDAA amendment. pic.twitter.com/WD6Oxt1Hzp
— Ronny Jackson (@RepRonnyJackson) June 21, 2023
The Pentagon booted 8,400 troops from service for refusing the vaccine. Roughly 70% found themselves involuntarily separated from the military solely for refusing the vaccine received a “general” discharge rather than “honorable,” Military Times reported.
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Former troops who lost livelihood over Biden’s vaccine mandate sue for billions in lost wages
Three separate lawsuits with plans to be turned into a class action lawsuit is in the works on behalf of all service members who suffered due to Biden’s military vaccine mandate. Former troops involved in the lawsuit were either kicked out or illegally ordered to stop drilling, resulting in loss of pay or benefits, reports Breitbart.
Attorney Dale Saran, a retired Marine, and fellow attorneys Andy Meyer and Brandon Johnson are representing the former troops in the lawsuit, stating, “It’s worth billions. That’s just flat-out. That’s what it is in backpay. It’s billions of dollars,” said Saran.
The lawsuits were filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which Saran said is a specialized court where illegal discharges are heard. Saran estimates there are 80,000 to 100,000 service members — both active-duty and reservists — who were impacted by the mandate. While more than 8,000 active-duty troops were kicked out, tens of thousands of reservists were told not to drill anymore or were moved to inactive status, he said.
“They were basically [without] the benefit of any due process. No boards were held. They didn’t hold any administrative separation boards; they didn’t hold any hearings. They didn’t do any federal recognition boards; none of the administrative or judicial procedures were used. They just flat-out did it. And then…they got the Coast Guard to follow along, and they got a bunch of Coasties too,” Saran said.
Saran said the monetary damages were not only from lost backpay but also from repayment of enlistment bonuses. He explained, “Say you enlisted for five years, you got a bonus and $50,000…And then, now, they’re like, ‘Hey, we’re gonna inject you with this.’ You’re like, ‘Yo, that’s experimental. Like, that’s not actually licensed. And the defense secretary’s order was we’d only have to take licensed vaccines — that says experimental.’”
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