Patterico's Pontifications


GOP Senators Working To Protect Military Members From Dishonorable Discharge For Refusing Covid Vaccine

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:12 am

[guest post by Dana]

Statement from the Executive Office of the President:

Prohibition on Adverse Personnel Actions Taken Against Certain Members of the Armed Forces Based on Declining COVID-19 Vaccine and Expansion of Exemptions from Vaccination Requirement. The Administration strongly opposes section 716, which would detract from readiness and limit a commander’s options for enforcing good order and discipline when a Service member fails to obey a lawful order to receive a vaccination. To enable a uniformed force to fight with discipline, commanders must have the ability to give orders and take appropriate disciplinary measures. The Administration also strongly opposes section 720, which would create a new and overly broad exemption from the vaccination requirement for previous infection that would undermine the effectiveness of the requirement. The Department will make available a full range of resources to Service members, including individual and professional medical advice, to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine and to ensure they are fully informed about vaccination.

Meanwhile, Republicans are working to protect servicemembers from a “dishonorable discharge” for refusing a Covid vaccine:

On Tuesday, three GOP senators introduced the “COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act,” which builds on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that passed in committee earlier this month. An honorable discharge is the highest category of military separation and gives a veteran full-access to benefits to which their service entitles them.

In a press release, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and James Lankford of Oklahoma blasted President Joe Biden’s administration for not being sufficiently supportive of the troops.

“It’s an insult to our servicemen and women who have served with honor to dishonorably discharge them for refusing the COVID vaccine,” said Cruz. “It is the same way we dishonorably discharge those convicted of serious crimes such as treason, desertion, sexual assault, and murder.”

The text of the bill, released by Cruz’s senate office, specifies that a “member of an Armed Force under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of a military department subject to discharge on the basis of the member choosing not to receive the COVID–19 vaccine may only receive an honorable discharge.”

Recent Covid vaccine rates for members of the military:

A total of 1.1 million troops are already fully vaccinated against the virus, which has infected more than 238,000 service members and killed 46, according to the Pentagon’s latest update.

19 Responses to “GOP Senators Working To Protect Military Members From Dishonorable Discharge For Refusing Covid Vaccine”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (174549)

  2. Another thing frustrating Biden is Covid vaccines.

    He and his appointees have persisted in the belief that it is easier to ppersuade people to take the vaccine than it truly is. He expected vaccine “hesistancy” would disappear. It didn’t.

    Then he decided to escalate.

    He still thinks that a little threat will be enough, and that he won’t have to carry out the threat on many people.

    Interesting that Republicans are only trying to prevent dishonorable discharges, not keep them in the military.

    Maybe allow proof of immunity to substitute, if they take a financial penalty? Ot=r give them some more time?

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  3. It’s unlikely that anyone refusing a vaccine will get a dishonorable discharge. There’s a range of different discharge options (anything other than “honorable” isn’t great), but dishonorable in particular is reserved pretty much for felons.

    Davethulhu (017f04)

  4. It is unlikely that anyone would receive a dishonorable discharge. More likely it would be one of these:

    General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions-This type of military administrative discharge is motivated by different things depending on the branch of service. The overall conduct of the military member may have been exemplary in some areas, but other areas of misconduct or failure to adapt to the military environment may have resulted in such a discharge.
    Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharge-This is the most severe of the administrative discharges (which do not require a court-martial). Reasons for the OTH discharge may depend on the severity of the offenses, how a particular branch of the military has traditionally handled such issues, and other variables.

    A medical discharge would also be possibility. I doubt the government would go through the necessary court martials for bad conduct or dishonorable discharges.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  5. So what need is there for the Administration to oppose this?

    Of course, someone afraid of getting a dishonorable discharge for other reasons, or just wanting out of the military, might choose this way out.

    But how many?

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  6. So they’re refusing to follow orders as a protest to US public health policy. Seems like the sort of thing that should be discouraged.

    Shame the GOP is putting culture war first as usual.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  7. Sometimes, depending on the branch of military service, a situation may require the separation of a new recruit or permanent party military member “for the convenience of the government.” This type of discharge is done at the discretion of the branch of service involved and is not considered a common or routine practice.


    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  8. So what need is there for the Administration to oppose this?

    Because the Executive Branch traditionally opposes anything that infringes on its authority, especially when it comes to how it deals with personnel.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  9. A dishonorable discharge is the equivalent of a felony and is really quite wrong. At worst, a general discharge is justified and even that is a bit much.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  10. I imagine that some are refusing this as an “unlawful order.”

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  11. Starting in the 1980s, gays who were separated from (otherwise honorable) service got an honorable discharge. I think the Biden administration is pushing this a bit hard. One wonders what percentage of the military is resisting for this kind of threat to seem justified.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  12. Man, before Desert Storm we didn’t have a choice on taking all the drugs that were supposed to save us from chemical attack or uranium poisoning using DU rounds from the Bradley. Big Green wasn’t asking nicely, they weren’t asking.

    You also are required to get a bunch of other jabs, way more than what school kids get, and there is no option to “opt out”, that isn’t a thing in the military.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  13. One wonders what percentage of the military is resisting for this kind of threat to seem justified.

    Not a lot, 1.2M already. But like any population of people in America, you get some kooks too, which is fine when Stan is working in the motor pool, but when a SSgt orders you to do something, not doing it isn’t really an option.

    I don’t get it, but it’s definitely a General Discharge–General discharges are given to service members whose performance is satisfactory but is marked by a slight departure in duty performance and conduct expected of military members. Reasons for such a characterization of service vary, from medical discharges to misconduct, and are utilized by the unit commander as a means to correct unacceptable behavior prior to initiating discharge action (unless the reason is drug abuse, in which case discharge is mandatory). A commander must disclose the reasons for the discharge action in writing to the service member, and must explain reasons for recommending the service be characterized as General (Under Honorable Conditions). The service member is normally required to sign a statement acknowledging receipt and understanding of the notification of pending discharge memorandum. The person is also advised of the right to seek counsel and present supporting statements.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  14. I still wonder if all my anthrax vaccines will have consequences. the army gave me the series twice when they lost my shot records after I returned to this side of the ocean.

    I think if you enter the military, you are agreeing to take selfless risks to improve the success of the whole team. Vaccines are the damn least of it. It’s so political now. Really makes me mad, as a lot of this is just the TV duping morally good people.

    If the vaccine is an unlawful order, might as well just hoist chinese flags today. We have no military and no country.

    But as Klink is saying, this is a fringe thing. People are doing what they are told.

    Dustin (150498)

  15. Why would Biden oppose a bill blocking OTH discharges for simply refusing the vaccine? That wouldn’t prevent such a discharge if additional charges were brought. I think this is probably not a big deal anyway — how many people are that pigheadedly stupid?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  16. Vaccines are the damn least of it.

    When they can say “Charge into those machine guns” and you have to do it, this seems like a poor hill to die on, so to speak.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  17. 11. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 9/23/2021 @ 1:23 pm

    One wonders what percentage of the military is resisting for this kind of threat to seem justified.

    Probably not many (unless it is organized) but the Biden Administrations wants as near to 100% of the population of the United States vaccinated because they believe that that way the public health authorities will declare vctory over the virus and it will all be over.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  18. Has there even been a hint, except from the three Senate pandering poseurs, that the military would resort to dishonorable discharge for soldiers who refuse the Covid vaccine? It’s a serious question.

    nk (1d9030)

  19. Breaking: New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker is stepping down from his post, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.

    She had said she would give herself 45 days to see who should resign.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

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