Thousands Of Soldiers Will Be Kicked Out Of The National Guard Very Soon — Here’s Why
(USNewsMag.com) – During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers mandated vaccines — especially those in the medical field. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also issued a directive for all military members and implemented deadlines to get the jab. When some deadlines approached, the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps all discharged hundreds of service members who refused to comply. Now, the National Guard is looking to do the same.
June 30 Deadline
The deadline for National Guardsmen to comply with the directive was June 30. After that date, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby made it perfectly clear there would be repercussions, which could include no pay, removal from missions, loss of ability to train, or an outright discharge from the military branch. This excludes service members who applied for and were granted exemptions for medical or religious reasons. However, the military has been slow to grant those exceptions, despite having received thousands of requests.
No Jab, No Pay
According to the Pentagon, once the June 30 deadline passed, Guardsmen who remain on active duty for federal status — which includes their once-a-month weekend drills as well as their annual two-week training period — will not get paid. The Pentagon will also pull those assigned to either COVID duty or to help with the raging border crisis if they refuse the jab.
A Blurred Line
While Austin is mandating the vaccine for National Guardsmen, the line blurs a little for those on state active duty. That particular duty is reserved for service members who remain on duty or in training under the authority of a state’s governor, rather than the federal government. Some states do not have vaccine mandates in place and may be able to still remain on active duty or in training as long as they’re performing work in that specific state. This allows the state to place Guardsmen on local missions and pay them for their services.
Despite the fact COVID-19 has mutated into a seemingly less harmful variant, the virus continues to spread across the nation and the globe. However, much of the world has taken a step back from harsh directives including lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates, but the military is insisting on moving forward with consequences for noncompliance.
The military is also struggling to maintain its strength amid recruiting problems along with those forced out over the jab. It even dropped the high school diploma requirement. Can it really afford to lose even more service members?
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