Army Officer Convicted of Disobeying COVID-19 Rules, Judge Declines Punishment

Army Officer Convicted of Disobeying COVID-19 Rules, Judge Declines Punishment
First Lt. Mark Bashaw at his command relinquishment ceremony at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland on July 9, 2021. (Graham Snodgrass/Army Public Health Center)
Zachary Stieber

An officer in the Army was found guilty in military court this week of disobeying COVID-19 rules, but the judge in the case imposed no punishment.

First Lt. Mark Bashaw, an entomologist who was commander at the Army Public Health Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, was convicted for not working remotely as ordered, and instead showing up to his office without providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test, Aberdeen spokesperson Amurr Reese told the Army Times.

Troops who had not received a COVID-19 vaccine were required at the facility to submit the results of a COVID-19 test to work in person.

Bashaw was also convicted of not wearing a mask indoors.

The trial concluded on April 29, according to online court records.

Bashaw’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Contact information for Bashaw could not be located.

Following the conviction, Judge Robert Cohen, who was overseeing the case, declined to hand down a punishment, according to Reese.

“After a careful consideration of the evidence, a military judge exercised lawful authority not to adjudge punishment for 1st Lt. Mark Bashaw,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“Receiving no punishment at a court-martial is not without precedent,” she added.

The conviction was described as a misdemeanor.

“A court-martial conviction carries lifelong collateral consequences of a federal conviction, beyond punishment imposed by the court,” Reese told “Some examples may include social consequences and difficulty in obtaining future employment, as criminal convictions are generally public information and frequently reported in federal and state criminal and licensing databases.”

Bashaw’s future with the force remains unclear, as does his vaccination status.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in August 2021 ordered all troops to get a COVID-19 vaccine, unless they were approved for a medical or religious exemption.

Few exemptions have been granted, and hundreds of troops have been separated as a result of refusing a vaccine.

As of May 5, the Army had kicked out 505 soldiers for refusing Austin’s order.

Additionally, six leaders have been relieved, including two battalion commanders.

The Army has thus far granted 30 permanent exemptions and approximately 3,600 temporary ones.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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