While federal courts have ordered the Navy and Air Force not to take any adverse actions against military members seeking religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the Coast Guard is seeking to discharge service members refusing the vaccine without allowing them to appear before administrative separation boards to defend their cases.
Federal courts in Texas and Ohio have granted injunctions against the Navy and Air Force vaccine mandates , respectively, for members seeking religious exemptions. Those injunctions, however, do not apply to any other military branches, including the Coast Guard.
While in the other branches an administrative separation board is a right to which members are entitled based on service time, the Coast Guard is seeking to deny that due process protection to otherwise qualified COVID vaccine mandate objectors.
An active-duty Coast Guard rescue swimmer nearing retirement told Just the News that despite an unblemished service record with many awards, he is facing involuntary separation next month after his request for a religious exemption from the vaccine mandate was denied.
Much like the Navy SEALs and other special forces, Coast Guard rescue swimmers are an elite cadre, selected through a highly competitive process and trained under grueling, demanding conditions. Going through rescue swimmer school can take about 10-13 months, and afterwards, members take another eight-week course to become an EMT. Supplemental training is required intermittently throughout their careers, like, for example, helicopter rescue school approximately every four years.
The rescue swimmer’s religious accommodation request (RAR) and subsequent appeal were rejected with blanket denials, he told Just the News. He would normally be entitled to a board hearing to defend his case, given that he has served for at least eight years, but the Coast Guard seeks to circumvent the board by claiming convenience of the government as the reason for his discharge.
While discharging […]
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