Soldiers Kicked Out for Refusing Vaccine Decry Army’s Offer to Return as ‘Insincere’ Tactic

A recipient of the Army’s offer described the move as ’misguided and insincere because it is clear that it is only being employed to benefit the Army.’
Soldiers Kicked Out for Refusing Vaccine Decry Army’s Offer to Return as ‘Insincere’ Tactic
Preventive Medicine Services NCOIC Sgt. 1st Class Demetrius Roberson prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine to a soldier in Fort Knox, Ky., on Sept. 9, 2021. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

Former service members who were booted for refusing the once-mandated COVID-19 vaccine are responding to a new Army guidance that offers a correction to their service records and invites them to rejoin the branch—and they’re not jumping at the opportunity.

The letter to announce the Nov. 7 guidance isn’t resonating well with some unvaccinated former soldiers who were punished or kicked out of the military for refusing to take the vaccine.

Among them is Bradley Miller, a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who received the letter and previously served as a battalion commander in the 101st Airborne Division. He was relieved of his command in October 2021 for not taking the vaccine.

The dissemination of the letter is “a tactic both misguided and insincere because it is clear that it is only being employed to benefit the Army, likely because of the abysmal retention and recruitment rates,” Mr. Miller told The Epoch Times.

The announcement came at a time when the U.S. Army missed its fiscal year recruitment goal by 10,000 soldiers, the second straight year it fell short of its target.

Mr. Miller said he and other service members desire far more than a form letter that does little to resolve “the severe problems” in the military branch caused by the vaccine.

Under the now-rescinded vaccine mandate, the Army booted 1,903 members for not receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Demand for Accountability

Mr. Miller said that “acknowledgment, accountability, and restitution” are needed.
Increases in adverse health conditions following the rollout of the vaccine must be acknowledged, he said. Adverse health effects have been discovered and reported by multiple military whistleblowers, such as active-duty Navy Medical Service Corps officer Lt. Ted Macie, since 2021. They disclosed internal data showing that diagnoses of myocarditis, a form of heart inflammation, increased in 2021 by 130.5 percent relative to the average number of cases in the five-year period from 2016 to 2020.

He also called for accountability of those involved in imposing the vaccine mandate, which Mr. Miller and others have said is unlawful.

Thirdly, and “perhaps most importantly,” according to Mr. Miller, “there must be restitution for those harmed.“ This includes compensation for ”physical, moral, and emotional hardship endured as a result of the misconduct perpetrated against them by their superiors,” he said.

A letter isn’t enough, but acknowledging what happened, enforcing accountability, and implementing restitution might regain the trust of the military, he added.

“Anything less should not be taken seriously.”

2-Year Wait

Former Pfc. Derrick Wynne, who received the letter on Nov. 23, also wasn’t satisfied with the Army’s offer, describing the move as a “political tool.”

Mr. Wynne joined the Army in July 2020 but was separated in June 2022 for refusing the once-mandated COVID-19 vaccine.

He refused the jab because he believed it was unlawful that the military at the time didn’t provide COVID-19 vaccines labeled as having been Food and Drug Administration-approved, a criterion listed in the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate. Instead, only COVID-19 vaccines issued under emergency use authorization (EUA) were offered. Even though the military issued guidance that EUA vaccines were encompassed by the vaccine mandate, Mr. Wynne and others believed the guidance to be unlawful.

The soldier had asked for help, to no avail, from his elected representatives in Texas.

He was then kicked out of the Army with a general discharge. Mr. Wynne then applied for a discharge upgrade to honorable.

He waited six months, the average amount of time it takes to receive a determination on his application. Because he didn’t hear back, he reached out to his congressman to check on the status of his application on his behalf.

“The response I got back [on April 5, 2023] said that with the number and complexity of cases like mine, it was going to be at least 24 months before they could even look at my application,” Mr. Wynne said.

Mr. Wynne said that the military was able to review thousands of religious accommodation requests in a matter of months.
“But they can’t make the corrections necessary to fix the damage they’ve caused to our lives with their unlawful mandates until two years from when they responded to my application’s status?”

Doors Slammed Shut

Mr. Wynne said the letter is “a political tool” to get former service members to rejoin the Army.

“In the eyes of politicians and senior military leadership, it’ll relay a message of no harm, no foul.”

All the while, as Mr. Miller said, it’s negatively affecting recruiting and retention, he said. People are no longer interested in joining the military, and service members who had been separated likely don’t want to rejoin, he added.

“The loss of trust and the immeasurable damage to everyone kicked out has to be addressed or they’ll never have a full force of people truly willing to die for their country,” he said.

“By offering discharge statuses to be upgraded to honorable and separations to be declared as voluntary, in the annals of time, they are doing nothing more than making it look like a whole bunch of people didn’t get punished or kicked out for refusing the vaccine,” he said. “They’re literally trying to backpedal without admitting this was their fault.”

“Until this organization holds themselves to the same standard that they would expect from their lowest enlisted ranks, exhibiting traits the Army’s values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage, their offer to service members is a hollow husk,” he added.

Mr. Wynne said he is now “stuck between a rock and a hard place,” given that he is ineligible for unemployment without an honorable discharge. He is also prohibited from starting a business that’s recognized as a veteran-owned business without an honorable discharge. Educational benefits, reemployment rights, and civil service retirement credit are also contingent on an honorable discharge.

In addition, Mr. Wynne said, many benefits are contingent on time of service.

“I got kicked out a year and 11 months in, and so many of the benefits I would be entitled to are contingent on being in two years,” he said. “These seemingly small benefits are things that are taken into consideration when people like me start signing enlistment contracts and begin making plans for their future.”

Many service members who refused to take the vaccine “have had doors shut in their face,” Mr. Wynne said. He questioned whether anyone would now “want to be part of an organization that has willingly thrown out so many of its truest warriors for freedom.”

Officials at the Pentagon and the Department of the Army didn’t respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.