U.S. Coast Guard Members Seek Class Relief From Shot Mandate

Jul 28, 2022

TAMPA, FL — Liberty Counsel filed an amended complaint in federal court before Judge Steven Merryday seeking class action relief from the unlawful federal COVID shot mandate on behalf of plaintiffs who currently serve in the United States Coast Guard. The additional Coast Guard service members added to the existing complaint are in the Tampa District. 

The plaintiffs are Coast Guard members who refuse to receive an injection that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs since all of the COVID shots are associated with aborted fetal cells. They have been unlawfully refused any religious exemption or accommodation. Their deadlines to become fully vaccinated have passed, and disciplinary actions have already commenced.  Relief is needed now to prevent these military heroes from facing discharge, court martial, other life-altering disciplinary procedures, and termination.

The additional plaintiffs in the Tampa District now added to the complaint include: 

  • Avionics Electrical Technician 1 (AET1) is a Petty Officer First Class has faithfully served in the Coast Guard for almost 19 years. AET1 is a Navigator on HC-130H aircraft and currently runs the training program and flight schedules at his air station, which is the only Coast Guard air station flying HC-130H aircraft. There is a shortage of Navigators in the Coast Guard, and AET1 is the only Navigator at his air station trained to perform his training function. AET1 has been a Christian from a young age, and his faith has grown through his marriage and the survival of his son who, at five weeks old in 2019, was diagnosed with a rare condition that only one of three babies survives and is usually diagnosed in utero, often leading to abortion. AET1 believes his son’s surviving and thriving, following a major surgery and multiple hospital stays, when many children with the same condition are aborted, is only by God’s grace, which strengthens AET1’s faith and pro-life convictions. 
  • Pilot is an officer and fixed-wing aircraft pilot in the Coast Guard. He is qualified in the HC-144B aircraft and estimates the cost of his training borne by the taxpayers as at least $1,400,000. He has participated in many search and rescue operations and has been critical in locating and coordinating aid for many distressed mariners and persons in the water. He has flown countless law enforcement patrols of our nation’s southern border and has aided in the detection and interdiction of illegal immigrants and fishing vessels. The command climate where he is stationed is hostile to any religious beliefs and requests for religious accommodation that conflict with the vaccine mandate. When this pilot first learned about the vaccine mandate, he was compelled by his faith to submit a religious accommodation request on the grounds that there are fetal cell lines used in the production and/or testing of all the currently available COVID shots. This is contrary to his understanding of the sanctity of human life, and that the status of his body as a temple of the Holy Spirit makes it a sin to accept medicines or treatments with unknown long-term effects and numerous adverse events documented in only the first 12 months of use. 
  • Lieutenant Commander Pilot (LCDR Pilot) has served honorably on active duty for over 13 years. He has 3,010 military flight hours along with 234 simulator hours and has served in operational tours in Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and Alaska. He has served as the HC-130J Engineering Officer and the unit’s Assistant Engineering Officer. He estimates the cost of his training to exceed $10 million over 13 years of military aviation. This LCDR Pilot has received two commendation medals. The vaccine mandate has placed him in a position of conflict between his faith and a military order and he must decide whether to remain faithful to his conscience and God or be separated from service. Based on his Roman Catholic Christian faith and absolute opposition to abortion, he cannot accept a shot that has been manufactured, or whose efficacy has been tested and proved, using aborted fetal cells. 
  • Lieutenant 2 is a Christian who has sincerely held religious objections to injecting anything into his body that contains the product of aborted fetal cells. He believes every life is fearfully and wonderfully made and that accepting an injection in any way associated with aborted fetal cells represents a grave sin and major moral problem. 
  • Marine Science Technician 3 is a Christian who has sincerely held religious objections to injecting anything into her body that contains the product of aborted fetal cells. She also noted that injecting an mRNA vaccine into her body is accepting a synthetic product that alters God’s design for her. 
  • Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate is a Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Coast Guard Reserve and leads a department of dedicated young servicemembers whom he mentors and loves. Senior Chief has over 23 years of faithful, uninterrupted service and zero disciplinary action. His primary operational duties and responsibilities throughout his career have revolved around the safe operation and navigation of multiple small craft. He ran a security boat for eight months in-country in Djibouti during the height of the pandemic and had no access to any vaccine and not one crew member or command contracted COVID. Senior Chief is a Christian with sincere religious beliefs in the sanctity of human life at all stages of development, which beliefs are strengthened by his personal experience with the birth and short but important life of his daughter, whom he and his wife elected to bring into the world despite having been diagnosed in utero with multiple life-threatening conditions and recommended for abortion. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Our courageous Coast Guard heroes have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and defend this country from enemies both foreign and domestic. Their constitutional rights are not quarantined while they are defending this nation. The Department of Defense continues to violate the law and ignore their religious freedom. This lawlessness must end.” 

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