To install this webapp, tap share then Add to Home Screen.


To install this webapp, please open in Safari.

Army Outlines Consequences for Vaccine Refusal

Washington Report

Army National Guard soldiers who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 won’t be immediately kicked out of the force, but will likely see their careers ended according to guidance from Army leaders.

Any soldier who refuses the vaccine without an approved exemption will be flagged and barred from reenlistment, promotion and most military schools, according to a memo to the force from Army Secretary Christine Wormuth.

She issued the memo as the Defense Department remains in a standoff with Oklahoma over the enforcement of a DoD-wide vaccine mandate.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says the mandate is only applicable while Guardsmen are on federal orders. Defense leaders disagree, stating they are charged with determining readiness requirements for the force.

Retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president, has offered some clarity to the debate.

“The National Guard’s state and federal roles and the laws that govern them can certainly be complex to those outside the organization. But there is a bottom line: The National Guard is a predominantly part-time, state military force under the command and control of the governor until mobilized for federal duty by the president,” he said in a statement last week.

“The nation’s forefathers embedded the National Guard in the U.S. Constitution. The laws that govern the force today are in Title 32 of the U.S. Code. They have been refined by Congress over the decades to ensure the president has access to the National Guard when needed and it promptly returns to the governor when a federal mission is complete.”

Wormuth’s memo makes clear the Pentagon disagrees.

Per her instructions, a soldier, whether in the active component or the reserves, could hypothetically serve out the end of their contract, but will see no career progression nor will they be allowed to serve beyond that contract.

They would also be barred from receiving awards and decorations, applying for tuition assistance, payment of enlistment or reenlistment bonuses or assumption of command.

The standoff in Oklahoma has ignited debate months before the mandate was to take effect for members of the Guard.

Active-duty soldiers have until Dec. 15 to be fully vaccinated. Guardsmen and Reservists have until June 30.

Other services had earlier deadlines that have since passed or are fast approaching. Members of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve have until Dec. 2 to become fully vaccinated.

According to reports, some states, including Texas, are considering following Oklahoma’s lead.

Others, including those led by Republican governors who have been critical of the vaccine mandate, have distanced themselves from Oklahoma’s actions and pledged to follow through on the mandate.

According to data provided to media outlets, about 77% of the Army has received at least one vaccination dose. But only 60% of the Army Guard has met that milestone.

At least 75 members of the military have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The Army National Guard has the highest death toll across the services, according to the Washington Post. It has accounted for more than a quarter of all COVID-19 related deaths in the military.