Commander's Powerful Testimony

Mar 16, 2022

Last week, the Department of Defense (DOD) filed a sworn declaration in a federal court that was—well—not true. This is the second false statement the DOD presented under oath in our class action lawsuit, Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin. I will share a portion of the transcripts from our hearing. One of our plaintiffs, a Navy commander, gave some of the most powerfully insightful testimony I have ever heard in court. Read on to learn what he said, and how it affects us all. —Mat

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I was in federal court last week responding to the DOD’s attempt to stop the injunction protecting our plaintiffs, members of the U.S. military, from further unlawful actions by the Biden administration. There is much to share that happened during this all-day hearing.

Today, I want to recount the powerful testimony of Navy Commander Charles*.

For the second time, the DOD filed a false sworn declaration regarding Commander Charles, saying that due to his unvaccinated status, “a multi-billion-dollar guided missile destroyer [is] out of commission." In other words, if the commander cannot be punished for not getting the COVID shots, the ship he commands must remain in port and is worthless.

The DOD has not presented any live witnesses in any of the three 8-9-hour hearings (totaling well over 24 hours). But twice now the DOD has presented sworn declarations from a Navy commodore, both of which are false.

Commander Charles was in court with us Thursday. When asked whether his ship was “out of commission,” he said, “No!” In fact, at the same time the DOD filed this false declaration, the commander was far out to sea in full command of his ship on a two-week testing and training mission.

The commander testified that there has not been a single aspect of his ship’s operation that had been negatively impacted by his vaccination status. In fact, Charles and his crew were so effective that they were able to complete their entire training and testing voyage a full day early, proving once again that unvaccinated status is no hindrance to mission readiness and deployment.

Charles spent a considerable amount of time telling the judge about readiness and mission effectiveness on the witness stand, but one section of his testimony was particularly striking.

We are making the same mistake from history ...

The DOD argued that to maintain “good order and discipline,” the military must be permitted to discharge anyone whose religious exemption has been denied (which is everyone who filed for a religious exemption since no such exemptions were granted).

Charles noted the excuse of maintaining “good order and discipline” has been used in the Navy for decades to discriminate against various classes of people. For instance, the “good order and discipline” excuse was used to keep blacks out of the service.

The argument against integration was the same then as now against religious exemptions—it will undermine “good order and discipline.”

“Our religious freedoms are being attacked,” Charles told the judge.

Charles, several sailors on his ship and thousands of other service members have exercised their constitutional and legal rights to decline COVID shots on religious grounds.

Yet, the Biden DOD argues that to maintain “good order and discipline,” it must be permitted to purge the military of these religious people.

In addition to the thousands of side effects and dangers, each of the COVID jabs also used aborted fetal cells in their testing and/or development. As practicing Christians, each of our plaintiffs has refused the COVID jabs based on their sincere religious belief.

The military concedes this fact and concedes that the shot mandate “burdens” their sincere beliefs. But, notwithstanding the law, the DOD argues there is no place in the military for these Christian and religious service members.

“I'm here today because the military is not executing this policy while respecting the constitutional freedoms laid out in the First Amendment or RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act),” Commander Charles testified.

“I should not be the one standing here to say that today. Generals and admirals, the executives in our service, should be here to say that to the politics, to the bureaucracy, to their decision-making.”

Charles noted that when the higher chain of command fails to do its duty protecting the rights of sailors, then as commander of a Navy vessel, “That's for me to do when my superiors will not.”

“I took an oath to the Constitution,” Charles testified. “Every general or flag officer takes the same oath as me, to uphold the Constitution, to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution and the country whose course it directs.”

We are honored and privileged to be representing such men and women who take their commitment to God and their oath to the Constitution seriously. But these last two years of COVID tyranny have taxed our resources as never before.

Please help fund our cutting-edge legal work to STOP the SHOT MANDATES! A generous Challenge Grant will DOUBLE THE IMPACT OF YOUR DONATION! Please give generously today.

Mat Staver
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel


“Dramatic Testimony in Military Shot Mandate Case.” Liberty Counsel, March 11, 2022.

“Navy Commander in Full Command of His Ship.” Liberty Counsel, March 14, 2022.

“Resources & Research: COVID Vaccine.” Liberty Counsel, 2021.