A Republican congressman who has proposed a bill to block federal funding of the U.S. military vaccine mandate hosted a conference call with troops who warn the mandate could harm military readiness.
The service members say many of their colleagues feel the same way but are not speaking out because of the possible consequences, Breitbart News reported.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., has introduced HR 3860, which would prohibit “any requirement that a member of the Armed Forces receive a vaccination against COVID-19.”
Last Wednesday, after the FDA’s approval of Pfizer’s vaccine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered service leaders in a memo to “impose ambitious timelines for implementation.”
More than 800,000 service members have yet to get their shots, according to Pentagon data, the Associated Press reported.
“To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force,” Austin said in the memo. “After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease … is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people.”
‘A lot of pressure’
In the conference call Friday, a cadet at the Air Force Academy said there was “a lot of indirect pressure to be vaccinated before it was even mandatory.”
“And that’s coming from our peers and especially during our basic training where … the people in charge of us were always making, like, indirect comments,” the cadet said.
An Air Force member said there is “a lot of pressure from our commanders … and they tell you these sob stories to heavily persuade you, and it’s borderline harassment.”
“It makes you wonder, well I joined to change my life and they’re all about inclusion and diversity but I have to restart just because of the shot,” he said.
He plans to leave the Air Force if he doesn’t get an exemption.
“I’m not getting that shot,” he said.
Another active Air Force member said he could receive a dishonorable discharge for refusing to be vaccinated.
“That’s basically putting us in the same category as rapists and killers, which I think that’s insane,” he said.
‘Not a one-size-fits-all blanket solution’
A U.S. Army captain said that as a Christian, he tried to get a religious accommodation last December but was rejected by the U.S. Army surgeon general without a reason or avenue of appeal.
He told reporters he will not stop fighting for “my fellow patriots who love the Lord as I do” and is willing to take his case to federal court.
A 17-year active service member who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq said he has a heart condition and “absolutely cannot risk any vaccines.”
“It is not a one-size-fits-all blanket solution, and it should not be enforced as such,” he said. “All service members should be given the right to waive and decline the vaccine.”
He warned that the mandates could serve as a “death blow” to military readiness.
A senior captain in the Air Force and a combat vet said he tried to get a religious exemption for the mask mandate.
The claim that masks protect and don’t harm people is a violation of the ninth commandment, he said, to not bear false witness against one’s neighbor. He said wearing a mask is tacit approval of that false narrative and he’s not willing to do it.
As a consequence, he effectively has been fired as flight commander. He said that while many colleagues appear to be motivated by fear of their superiors, he’s chosen to fear God and reject the deception.
‘Scared to say something’
The service members estimated that about one-third to one-half of the people around them are not vaccinated.
Breitbart News asked if they believe there are many others who feel the same way they do but are afraid to speak out.
“Yes,” said one. “Especially being part-time guard unit where we do one weekend a month kind of deal, most everyone I speak with and affiliate with at the unit … there are very few who do not share my sentiment or position on the matter.”
One said there is a “significant volume” of others sharing his concerns. But many are still “scared to say something right now to their leadership.”