Sen. Marshall leads legislation to end dishonorable discharges for soldiers that won’t get COVID-19 vaccine

FILE(Ohio National Guard - Sgt. 1st Class Chad Menegay)
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 9:24 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Marshall is leading legislation that would end the dishonorable discharge of soldiers that choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says he led Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) to introduce the COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act, which would prohibit the Department of Defense from dishonorably discharging servicemembers that choose not to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Sen. Marshall said the House Armed Services Committee recently passed similar language led by Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) in an amendment to the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation comes after President Joe Biden mandated that millions of Americans, including service members, get vaccinated and the DOD issuing guidance stating that soldiers that refuse the vaccine will face “administrative or non-judicial punishment [under UCMJ] - to include relief of duties or discharge.”

“As a physician and veteran who is confident that the vaccine has saved countless lives, I believe vaccinating our servicemembers against COVID-19 is an important effort; however, whether or not to receive the vaccine should be a personal choice between an individual and their doctor,” said Senator Marshall. “Servicemembers who refuse to get vaccinated, and are subsequently separated from the service, should not receive anything other than an honorable discharge. There is no question about it: American heroes should not be treated as felons because of their personal medical choices.”

“It’s an insult to our servicemen and women who have served with honor to dishonorably discharge them for refusing the COVID vaccine. It is the same way we dishonorably discharge those convicted of serious crimes such as treason, desertion, sexual assault, and murder. Forcing all service members, including pregnant women and those who have already had COVID-19, to receive the vaccine is just one more example of President Biden and his administration putting politics ahead of science. I am proud to join Sen. Marshall on this crucial bill to ensure the proper steps are taken by the military chain of command in response to those seeking exemptions from this vaccine,” said Senator Cruz.

Marshall said dishonorably discharged service members surrender the following rights and benefits:

  • Ownership of any sort of firearm or ammunition
  • Access to the GI Bill for further education
  • VA home loans
  • VA medical benefits
  • Military funeral honors
  • Reenlistment in another military branch

On Wednesday, Marshall tweeted and said this is un-American.

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