Marshall questions Pentagon on discharge of servicemembers who refused COVID-19 vaccinations

FILE - A flag draped over the side of the Pentagon.
FILE - A flag draped over the side of the Pentagon.(Gray DC Bureau)
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 12:33 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Roger Marshall has questioned the Pentagon on its decision to discharge more than 1,700 service members for refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), who has long opposed federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates, says on Thursday, March 28, he sent a letter to ask Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to provide information about the number and nature of military discharges for not receiving a COVID vaccine.

Marshall noted that reports show more than 1,700 service members have been discharged for their lack of COVID-19 vaccination status and many have been denied retirement or other service benefits as a result.

“While we are deeply troubled that the Department of Defense (DOD) is discharging U.S. military personnel as a result of their COVID-19 vaccination status, we are outraged that these brave men and women are potentially being stripped of various benefits, including education benefits afforded to them under the G.I. Bill. Whatever disagreements public officials of varying ideologies and political parties may have, we can and should agree on the importance of ensuring the promises made to members of our Armed Forces are fulfilled,” the letter reads.

Marshall said he was joined in the letter by Sens Mike Lee (R-Utah), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Rand Paul (R-Ken.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

In December, Marshall said his legislation to prevent service members from receiving a dishonorable discharge for choosing to not get vaccinated was signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Marshall said the COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act was introduced on the heels of the President’s mandate to millions of Americans to get vaccinated and the DOD’s issuance of guidance which stated soldiers who refuse will face “administrative or non-judicial punishment - to include relief of duties or discharge.”

Marshall noted that 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
  • Re-enlistment in another military branch

To read the full text of the letter, click HERE.

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