3 Air Force cadets who refused the vaccine will not be commissioned – NBC10 Philadelphia
Three cadets of the U.S. Air Force Academy who have given up the COVID-19 vaccine will not be inducted into military officers but will receive a bachelor’s degree, the academy said Saturday.
Academy spokesman Dean Miller said a fourth cadet who had given up the vaccine about a week ago had decided to get vaccinated and graduate and become an Air Force officer.
In a statement, Miller said that although the three will receive a diploma, “they will not be enrolled in the United States Air Force as long as they remain unvaccinated.” He added that the decision on whether to require the three to reimburse the United States for education costs instead of service will be made by the Secretary of the Air Force.
As of Saturday, the Air Force is still the only military academy where cadets are not accepted due to vaccine refusal. All of the more than 1,000 U.S. Army cadet soldiers in West Point, New York, graduated and were inducted into officers earlier in the day, and all were vaccinated.
The Naval Academy in Anapolis, Maryland, said Saturday that none of the senior Navy or Marines there are being prevented from entering service due to the vaccine’s refusal. This graduation will take place later this week, and the Air Force ceremony will take place on Wednesday in Colorado. In the run-up to the ceremony, the U.S. Air Force Academy Council on Friday conducted a standard check to see if this year’s class met all graduation requirements.
Defense Minister Lloyd Austin, who is a scheduled speaker at the Air Force graduation, last year made vaccinations against COVID-19 mandatory for servicemen, including in military academies, saying the vaccine is crucial to maintaining military readiness and health strength.
Military leaders say the military has had to receive as many as 17 vaccines for decades to maintain the health of forces, especially those deployed abroad. Students who arrive at military academies receive a vaccination regimen on the first day – for example, from measles, mumps and rubella – if they have not already been vaccinated. And they usually do flu shots in the fall.
Members of Congress, the military, and the public questioned whether military service reviews of the release were fair. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the mandate, mainly due to the fact that very few servicemen have been granted religious exemption from executions.
Prior to the COVID-19 vaccine, very few soldiers sought religious exemptions from any vaccine.
A spokesman for the Air Force Academy, Lt. Col. Brian Maguire, said a week ago that all four cadets had been informed of the possible consequences and had met with the head of the academy. And he noticed then that before graduating from school they still had time to change their minds – and one.
Military academies have for many years required students under certain circumstances to reimburse tuition costs when they leave for a junior or senior year. Often these cases involve students with disciplinary problems or similar problems. Costs can be up to $ 200,000 or more, and the final decision on repayment is made by the Secretary of Service.
In all the military, army, navy, air force and marines fired up to 4,000 servicemen for refusing the vaccine. Those who flatly refuse the vaccine without seeking relief are still discharged. But the courts stopped additional dismissals of servicemen seeking liberation from religion.
According to the military, about 20,000 servicemen have asked for exemption from religion. Thousands were denied.
About 99% of the active navy and 98% of the air force, marine corps and army received at least one shot.