After a few unsuccessful attempts to meet highly competitive requirements to pursue a specialized career in the U.S. Navy Lt. Mary Smith (a pseudonym) finds herself stuck at a training installation for quite a bit longer than anticipated. An expected six-month stay, she says, has turned into a year and a half.
Smith spoke to The Epoch Times using a pseudonym, for fear of reprisal.
Because Smith is unvaccinated, the Navy has refused to allow for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) to be closer to her husband and family. “I’m able to take leave once a month to visit my husband and family, but I’m not allowed to PCS—and that simply doesn’t make any sense,” she said.
While Smith is unable to transfer, she considers it ironic that her current position has her directly involved with readiness issues, while her religious denial letter states “a waiver of immunizations would have a predictable and detrimental effect on your readiness and the readiness of the Sailors who serve alongside you in both operational and nonoperational (including training) environments.”
And all the while, Smith said her training environment puts her in very close contact with other sailors. “Many of these individuals are vaccinated and still get sick, while I have never gotten sick,” she said.
According to Smith, “the majority of the public thinks this discrimination has ended.” She explained that “many of us are still prevented from doing certain things, like pursuing PCS or deployment, even though the vaccinated are still getting COVID and having to quarantine.” And this, she said hinders the mission of the Navy.
Smith said she chose to speak out, not because of her own predicament, but because “the myriad of policies that have stemmed from the evolving target known as COVID has had tremendous impacts on thousands of service members’ progression, training, and opportunities.”
“I hope people can come to realize how much freedom we are losing as Americans and how far we are falling away from our Constitution, which I have sworn to support and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic,” Smith said.
In addition to OPNAV not offering the status of her ETP request, Smith said congressional inquiries have not helped her situation. “The response to my first complaint in June basically told me what I already knew—that my ETP request was pending,” she said. A second inquiry was sent on Sept. 13, asking for help getting a response to her ETP request.
Smith emphasized that her views do not reflect those of the Department of Defense or the Department of the Navy. The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations did not return an inquiry from The Epoch Times.