Desperate Army Backpedals on Soldiers Booted Over COVID

Nov 21, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Before the Pentagon rescinded its unlawful COVID shot mandate in December 2022, the U.S Army forced out 1,903 active-duty soldiers for refusing the experimental injections in the 15 months the mandate was active. Now, as the Army faces a major recruitment crisis by missing its enlistment goals two years in a row, it has sent a brief letter to those soldiers offering them the opportunity to change the “characterization” of their discharge and potentially rejoin the service if they desire.

The letter, which has now circulated widely on social media, was confirmed as genuine by the Army. The letter came from Brigadier General Hope C. Rampy, Director of Military Personnel Management, and only delivered basic instructions about starting processes, but did not include any apologetic statements, promises, or any indications that that the Army was being proactive about amending punitive discharges. Rather, the letter informed the soldiers that due to the rescinded mandate they could now request a “correction” of their military discharge records which implies that negative discharges for refusing the unlawful COVID shot could be upgraded. The letter then advises soldiers to see their local recruiter if they want to return to service. 

“Dear Former Service Member,” the letter began. “As a result of the rescission of all current COVID-19 vaccination requirements, former Soldiers who were involuntarily separated for refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccination may request a correction of their military records from either or both the Army Discharge Review Board (ADRB) or the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR). Individuals may request a correction to military personnel records, including records regarding the characterization of discharge,” the letter stated.

Rampy then noted the summarily dismissed soldiers could “apply” to rejoin. 

“Individuals who desire to apply to return to service should contact their local Army, U.S. Army Reserve (USAR), or Army National Guard (ARNG) recruiter for more information.” 

In addition to involuntarily separating nearly 2,000 soldiers, the Army also blanketly denied 8,945 requests for religious exemption from the shots. 

This year, the Army’s current manpower strength fell to its lowest level since before the U.S. entered World War II. The Army fell well short of its recruitment goals for two years straight missing the mark by 10,000 troops in 2023, and by 15,000 in 2022. While the Navy and Air Force also struggle to recruit, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth stated the recruitment failures of the Army are due to “a lot of things happening that are outside of the United States Army’s ability to control,” such as a competitive labor market and a low desire to join in young Americans. However, she also noted that these young Americans are showing a “declining trust in institutions,” which is also playing a role in the recruiting challenges. Former Commandant of the Marine Corps General David Berger also acknowledged back in December 2022 that the COVID-19 shot mandate has had a negative impact on military recruiting stating how potential recruits were immediately disinterested in enlisting after finding out they had to get the COVID shot. 

Aiming to boost enlistment numbers, the Army is reviving its classic “Be All You Can Be” campaign and has published new recruitment posters emphasizing that the COVID-19 shot is “not required” to join. Currently, only 19 soldiers discharged for refusing the COVID shot have returned. In the military as a whole, more than 8,000 service members who refused the shot were forced out and only 43 have rejoined. 

Liberty Counsel litigated against the Pentagon’s COVID-19 shot mandate in Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin and Colonel Financial Management Officer, et al. v. Austin, and obtained multiple restraining orders and injunctions, including a class-wide injunction, which contributed to the Pentagon abandoning its mandate. In October 2023, the Pentagon signed a $1.8 million settlement with Liberty Counsel covering the attorney’s fees and costs during the two years of litigation on behalf of many affected service members. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “While the Pentagon’s unlawful COVID shot mandate is dead, it has inflicted disastrous consequences on our military. The mandate has unjustly purged many qualified people from the ranks at a time when America needs a strong military. There was no logical or scientific explanation to insist every service member get this experimental shot and force people to choose between their religious convictions and their careers. The Pentagon needs to take responsibility for its actions if it ever hopes to restore the trust of young Americans and inspire them to serve their country again.”

Liberty Counsel provides broadcast quality TV interviews via Hi-Def Skype and LTN at no cost.