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Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson/Air National Guard

An airman who worked for 19 years filed an EO complaint against the Air Force commander and surgeon general after his religious vaccine exemption was denied twice.

According to the complaint, both Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command, and Lt. Gen. Robert Miller, Surgeon General, have violated federal law, DoD policy, Air Force policy for discriminating against one’s constitutionally protected 1st Amendment Right to freedom of religion by unlawfully denying a request for religious exemption.

“The Department of the Air Force has a compelling government interest in requiring you to comply with the COVID-19 immunization requirement because preventing the spread of disease among the force is vital to mission accomplishment,” Gen. Miller stated in his letter.

“Your health status as a non-immunized individual in this dynamic environment, and aggregated with other non-immunized individuals in steady state operations, would place health and safety, unit cohesion, and readiness at risk. Foregoing the above immunization requirement would have a real adverse impact on military readiness and public health and safety,” the General added.

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Here is a copy of the letter sent from the Surgeon General:

In a separate letter, it stated that “failure to comply with this lawful order may result in administrative and/or punitive action for Willfully Disobeying a Superior Commissioned Officer, in violation of Article 90, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).”

As of Dec. 31, 2,500 unvaccinated airmen and Space Force guardians were ineligible for pay or benefits from the Air National Guard. Some were facing discharge and will lose retirement benefits.

Airforce Times reported:

As of Dec. 31, 2,500 unvaccinated airmen and Space Force guardians are ineligible for pay or benefits from the Air National Guard. Those troops are also banned from finishing out jobs, taking on new orders, showing up to drill weekends or participating in training.

It’s the service’s latest step to punish airmen who refuse the shots required by the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate. The number could grow to about 6,100 ousted Guardsmen if another 3,600 or so are denied religious exemptions — which no one has earned so far.

Another 2,100 or so are exempt for administrative reasons, like an upcoming retirement, or medical reasons such as a severe allergic reaction. Anyone who is exempt or waiting to hear whether they were approved for an exemption can still participate in regular Guard events like weekend drills.

Here is the first part of the facts listed by the complainant in support of his EO complaint:

A) In denying my request for religious accommodation Gen Cotton stated, “… the Department of Defense and the Department of the Air Force have a compelling government interest in maintaining a healthy and ready military force through vaccination”

(1) No fully licensed FDA approved vaccines for COVID-19 have been made available to market in the United States of America. Mandating experimental drugs granted emergency use authorization (EUA) does not justify a compelling government interest in maintaining a healthy and ready military force through vaccination, and is not a legal basis to deny religious accommodation.

(2) I have tested positive for powerful COVID-19 antibodies (Ref. Attachment 19). This test was conducted by a Board Certified Physician. My evaluation for preexisting immunity shows no burden is placed on the DoD and Air Force’s compelling governmental interest in maintaining a healthy and ready military force. Additionally, preexisting immunity is a least restrictive means of supporting the compelling governmental interest in maintaining a healthy and ready military force in relation to disease.

B) In denying my request for religious accommodation Gen Cotton stated, “Any less restrictive means of ensuring military readiness for mission accomplishment in light of current and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are insufficient in your case.”

(1) I have been tested by a Board Certified Physician and come back positive for active COVID-19 antibodies (Ref. Attachment 19). This shows Gen Cotton was incorrect in stating, “Any less restrictive means of ensuring military readiness for mission accomplishment in light of current and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are insufficient in your case.”

C) IAW AFPD52-2 and DAFI52-201: “The Air Force will consider Air Force members’ requests for religious accommodations from military policy, practice, or duty. The Air Force will approve an individual request for accommodation unless the request would have a real (not theoretical) adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, good order, discipline, or public health and safety … airmen have a temporary exemption from compliance in the cases of medical practices or immunization while the request is pending.”, also, “The Department of the Air Force has a compelling government interest in mission accomplishment and will take this into account when considering members’ requests for accommodation of religious beliefs. This interest includes military readiness, unit cohesion, good order and discipline, and health and safety for both the member and the unit. Commanders may only impose limits on such expressions when there is a real (not theoretical) adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, good order and discipline, health or safety of the member or the unit.”

Here is a copy of the EO complaint:

Facts in Support of EO Complaint Signed Redacted by Jim Hoft on Scribd



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