Navy threatens downgrading, pay cuts and travel bans for SEALs who have religious objections to vaccines
Unique: A growing number of US Navy personnel who are seeking religious exemptions to the Defense Department’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate are being threatened and, in some cases, harassed into submission, Granthshala News has learned. .
A series of new directives by the Navy are promising severe punishment, including demotions, pay cuts and travel restrictions for SEALs and other Navy service members who do not comply with the vaccine mandate. Granthshala News has been told that for some SEALs who are in the process of seeking religious exemptions to mandate, it is nearly impossible to successfully complete the process to obtain exemptions.
Michael Berry, General Counsel of the First Liberty Institute and lieutenant colonel of the US Marine Corps Reserve, which is representing about 34 active-duty SEALs and two reservists, told Granthshala News that the Navy’s new directives are illegal and not a first for a person. Amendments violate liberty.
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“Removing our army from its elite troops is detrimental to national security. To do so because the Commander-in-Chief has refused to accommodate his religious beliefs is abominable to the Constitution. His years in the service of our country are worth his while.” The experience and leadership are matchless and irreplaceable,” Berry told Granthshala News.
Berry continued, “Remove a SEAL from Special Warfare, reduce his pay, and force him to pay for his training is purely retaliatory and punitive. And it’s illegal. They have nothing to do with the virus.” Is.” Berry’s customers have over 350 years of military service and over 100 combat deployments.
A new directive issued by the Navy’s COVID Consolidated Disposal Authority (CCDA) on Thursday states that if SEALs reject the vaccine, the Navy can try to recover from each individual SEALs what the government has spent on training them. has done. For an individual SEAL, the cost of training alone is estimated to be several million dollars.
“The CCDA may reimburse applicable bonuses, special and incentive payments, and the cost of training and education for service members who refuse the vaccine,” the document said.
On 6 October, the Navy issued a directive banning all official and non-official travel for non-vaccinated service members and their spouses and dependents.
Another internal document reviewed by Granthshala News states that SEALs, as special operations (SO) duty personnel who simply refuse vaccination based on religious or personal beliefs, are “disqualified” from SO duty. will be considered. This would mean that the SEAL SO seeking religious objection would lose their “special war” pay because of the SO situation. However, this does not apply to SEALs who are seeing medical objections to the vaccine.
the Navy told service members Thursday that November 14 is the deadline for active-duty sailors to receive a second shot of a two-dose vaccine or a single shot of a single-dose vaccine. Reservoirs have time till December 14.
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An incident of harassment toward a SEAL by a supervisory officer who stated his religious objections to the vaccine appears to contradict the Navy’s official statement that all service members are able to be exempt from the mandate if desired.
According to a familiar source, when a SEAL informed his commander that he was planning to take a religious waiver, the officer said he would have to give up his Special Warfare Pin, also known as the “Trident”. If a seal loses the privilege of wearing a trident, he is removed from the seal community altogether and, in some cases, sent back to being a regular sailor, despite hard-earned special operator status. .
Lieutenant Commander Patricia Kreuzberger told Granthshala News that although she cannot speak specifically on matters affecting SEALs, service members are entitled to religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
“Compulsory vaccination for our troops is a valid mandate that maximizes our operational effectiveness. To be deployable around the world, Navy personnel must be medically qualified which includes being up to date on required vaccinations. Service members religious are entitled to the exemption and the requests will be considered keeping in view the extant naval policy.”
She also said that the Navy is reviewing service members’ religious exemptions for mandates on a “case-by-case” basis. She would not elaborate on the number of exemptions filed, rejected or granted by the military.
Navy said on Thursday News release That more than 98% of active-duty service members have fulfilled a “readiness responsibility” by starting or completing a COVID-19 vaccination series.
First Liberty plans to file complaints in the near future for using pseudonyms on behalf of SEALs and hiding places to protect the identities of service members who fear retaliation from the Navy’s leadership.
“SEALs have laid down their lives in the service of this nation, devoting years of their lives and millions of taxpayers in training to become the most elite combat force on the face of the earth. Still, the Commander in Chief just Will kick them out. Navy, send them to jail, and force them to pay the nation for their training—all to just one vaccine short,” Berry said.
Granthshala News also agreed to remove Seal’s names in this story to conceal his identity.