Some Military service members called compliance with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate a “purge,” as the military continues to reject all religious exemptions.
According to AmericanMilitaryNew, marines who refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday told Fox News that the administration was removing the “best and brightest” from the military in what they called a “political purge.”
A marine major who has been on active duty for more than 17 years said, “There’s something fundamentally wrong at this point with our nation’s leadership. We are facing an unconstitutional edict that I think is very targeted as a political purge, taking out some of the best and brightest soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardians from the Space Force.”
During his time in the military, a lieutenant colonel who had served 19 years added that the military was releasing personnel, “as fast as they can and as brutally as they can, damaging every Marine as much as they can on the way out.”
Marines said they have been denied religious waivers by the military as a result of a “blanket” denial, which gives no consideration to service members’ requests and mentions only “military readiness.”
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Fox News viewed eight denial letters and concluded that they all are “nearly identical.”
The Washington Examiner reported on Thursday that 206 Marines had been expelled for refusing to receive vaccines.
Currently, ninety-four percent of active-duty Marines are fully vaccinated and one percent are partially vaccinated. Marines still remaining unvaccinated are around 9,000.
Three thousand two hundred and forty-seven requests have not been approved for religious exemptions. Meanwhile, over a thousand applications have been approved for medical or administrative exemptions.
The Marine Corps’ three-member Religious Accommodation Review Board determines religious exemptions on an individual basis. Meanwhile, Capt. Ryan Bruce told Fox News that “no religious accommodations have been approved for any other vaccine in the past seven years.”
The bill to prevent the dishonorable discharge of vaccine refusers was signed just before branches began terminating service members for refusing the vaccine. Members of the armed forces can now be discharged via a general discharge under honorable conditions, which still deprives them of benefits such as the G.I. Bill.
Among the military branches, the Marine Corps has the lowest vaccination rate, coming in behind the Air Force and Space Force with 96%, the Navy with 96%, and the Army with 98%.