Pentagon’s Vaccine Mandate Is Illegal, Military Whistleblowers Allege in Memo to Members of Congress

By J.M. Phelps
J.M. Phelps
J.M. Phelps
Freelance reporter
J.M. Phelps is a writer and researcher of both Islamist and Chinese threats. He's on Twitter at @JMPhelpsLC
August 24, 2022 Updated: August 25, 2022

In opposition to the continued military vaccine mandate, a group of military whistleblowers delivered a 41-page memorandum to members of Congress on Aug. 16.

Captain Joshua “Hippity” Hoppe, a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey pilot, wrote to various Congressmen, explaining that he and other signatories of the memo had attempted to bring their concerns about the military vaccine mandate to their commanders, but their efforts had “fallen on deaf ears.” In June, a 12-page report titled the Congressional Survey of Accountability, Truth, and Freedom (ATAF) began a public attempt to call attention to the difficulties of service members who refuse the vaccine mandate typically for religious reasons.

According to the whistleblower memo, Emergency Use Authorized (EUA) vaccines, as opposed to vaccines that received full Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, have been unlawfully administered by the Department of Defense (DoD) since August 2021.

The argument rests on the claim that the Pentagon’s Aug. 24, 2021, vaccine mandate applied to “COVID-19 vaccines that receive full licensure from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in accordance with FDA-approved labeling and guidance.” And therefore EUA vaccines cannot be forced upon service members.

“Americans never lose the right to legally refuse an EUA product,” the memo stated.

The document further argued that “the DoD cannot claim ignorance with regard to the legal differences between an EUA product and a licensed product.”

The memo’s signatories also alleged that the new Comirnaty-labeled vials, which ostensibly have full FDA-approval, carry lot numbers associated with EUA vaccines, noting that “misrepresenting an EUA manufactured lot of vaccine product as a fully licensed product is a violation of labeling.”

Hoppe and his colleagues are now calling upon recipients of the current memo to publish the report on their congressional websites, call for Austin to cease enforcing the vaccine mandate, begin a congressional investigation into this issue and potential fraudulent actions, and hold any responsible parties to account. He hopes constituents in their home states will also encourage members of Congress to act.

The Epoch Times spoke to Navy Lt. Commander Patrick Wier, a second signatory on the memo. The 12-year veteran of the Navy currently serves a Reserve Judge Advocate General (JAG). His concern about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on members of the nation’s military existed prior to Defense Secretary Llyod Austin’s announcement of a vaccine mandate. In March 2021, he said, he submitted a paper to his command explaining why he would oppose “the eventual vaccine mandate.”

Around the same time, he also sent a copy to several congressmen and senators in hopes of “getting them on board.” This initial effort garnered a “mixed response,” he said. Some remained advocates for the vaccine and others offered support for his decision to reject the vaccine.

Four months later, Wier’s instinct became reality. Austin directed the DoD to mandate the vaccine for service members. And despite there not being an FDA-approved vaccine available at the time, and while there is still not one today, Wier said, he chose to “remain committed to military service” while requesting religious accommodation.

Although the Pentagon has issued a policy (pdf) saying the FDA-approved Comirnaty and EUA Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are interchangeable, the legality of this policy continues to be contested by service members, like Wier.

With an appeal pending, his religious accommodation request was denied on Feb. 26.

In the interim, Wier said he was given a report of misconduct for failing to get the vaccine during the time period between receiving his denial letter and submitting his appeal. While he seeks to have the report of misconduct removed from his record, a misconduct investigation is still pending.

These incidents compelled Wier to gladly participate in the memorandum to Congress. He hopes the memo will “bring awareness to Congress.” He considers the governing body “to be the stewards of, and oversight for, the military which is being discriminatorily treated in an unlawful manner.”

In response to the whistleblower allegations, on Aug. 18, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis. ) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky asking them address multiple issues with the vaccine options. The senator questioned why some Comirnaty-labeled lot numbers correspond with EUA vaccine lots.

Lloyd Austin
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pauses while speaking during a media briefing at the Pentagon, in Washington, on Nov. 17, 2021. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

The Constitution Protects Service Members

Laws enacted by Congress offer protections to all service members, Wier said. These come in the form of requirements for informed consent, protections against clinical trials and testing on military members, and through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he explained. “Each of those protections are there because Congress has the job of controlling and overseeing the protection of service members,” he added.

The American public and members of the military have been lied to about the COVID-19 vaccines, according to Wier. “There’s an entire web of lies out there and no one understands the truth,” he said. The vaccine has been proven to be ineffective and presents dangers to those who have received it, he argued. In a recent report by substack The Dossier, service members are coming forward with allegations of vaccine-related injuries throughout the Air Force.

“Enemies within the military structure are not supporting the laws of the United States, whether that’s the Constitution or other statutory regulations,” Wier said. “Taxpayer dollars, used to fund the military, should be funding the military’s mission which protects the American way of life,” he said.

“First and foremost, in accordance with the Constitution, the military defends America against foreign and domestic enemies,” Wier said. “Unfortunately, some of those enemies are now within,” and many undermining the Constitutional rights of all service members, he said.

“I’ve heard throughout my career that I gave up my rights when I joined the military,” Wier said. “I challenge anyone to find me where I’ve agreed to give up any Constitutional right.” As a Navy JAG, he is very familiar with the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and many statutes of the country.

“While there are restrictions under the UCMJ that control my behavior and appropriate courses of action,” he said, “none of them impede Constitutional rights.” He pointed out that Article 92 of the UCMJ states that “orders have to be Constitutional in order to be followed.” According to Wier, the military vaccine mandate is unlawful, and this sentiment is fully expressed in the memo recently sent to Congress.

Further explaining his rights, Wier admitted that when he joined the Navy, he proudly donned a Navy uniform. “And while, theoretically, I may have given up the ability to wear jeans and a T-shirt to work, I haven’t lost any Constitutional rights,” he said.

However, the vaccine mandate is unconstitutional and “must be ended,” Wier said. “In my opinion,” he said, “there’s no legal authority for the current vaccine mandate as outlined in the memorandum provided to members of Congress.” FDA-approved vaccines are not available and there is no justification for their use or enforcement, he said.

Wier maintains that the vaccine mandate is unconstitutional because it does not provide exceptions to support every servicemember’s rights to the free exercise of religion. According to the lawyer, it also violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which ensures that interests in religious freedom are protected against interference from the government.

“Other than through its own self-serving conclusions,” Wier said, “the DoD and the Navy have been unable to substantiate that the vaccine mandate is necessary, and the least restrictive means, to serve a compelling government interest.”

According to Wier, the vaccine mandate has not ensured mission readiness, as evidenced by the continued COVID-19 transmission of vaccinated servicemembers.

“Instead, mission readiness has been degraded by the vaccine mandate, because it has prevented many valuable and courageous servicemembers—those most willing to publicly embrace honor, courage, and commitment—from performing their responsibilities,” he said.

“By continuing to enforce it, military readiness is suffering because there are thousands of good, strong warriors who believe in the Constitution that are currently being separated from the military or sidelined from their jobs, unable to do what the taxpayers are paying them to do.”

The damage being done to military readiness is “irresponsible and dangerous,” he added.

Wier expressed that his views were his own and not that of the Department of Defense or Department of the Navy.

The Pentagon did not return an inquiry from The Epoch Times.

J.M. Phelps
Freelance reporter
J.M. Phelps is a writer and researcher of both Islamist and Chinese threats. He's on Twitter at @JMPhelpsLC