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The Department of Defense (DoD) recently issued a statement announcing that Navy SEALS who are unvaccinated won’t be allowed to deploy, will have their salaries cut, and may be required to pay the government back for their training expenses, but a member of President Biden’s own cabinet is blasting the move for its shortsightedness and lack of gratitude.
For weeks, the pressure has been on Navy SEALS and other military members to get vaccinated or face serious consequences, but the Defense Department recently added another warning. This time, DoD officials stated that SEALS who don’t get their vaccinations will have to pay for their training, which is estimated to cost a minimum of $350,000. Specifically, they stated that the department would “seek recoupment of applicable bonuses, special and incentive pays, and the cost of training and education for service members refusing the vaccine.”
Fox News reported that according to an internal document it had obtained, “…SEALs, as special operations (SO) duty personnel, who refuse to get vaccinated based only on religious or personal beliefs, will be ‘disqualified’ from SO duty. That would mean a SEAL seeking a religious objection would lose his or her ‘special warfare’ pay due to SO status.”
Navy SEALS endure some of the military’s most mentally and physically stringent training regimens and commit themselves to going wherever and doing whatever is necessary to protect their country, Americans living overseas, U.S. allies, and the U.S. Constitution. Initially, they endure more than 16 months of intense preparation that includes a “Hell Week,” “drown-proofing,” and experiencing realistic capture scenarios in Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) School.
Former Navy SEAL and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke bashed the Biden administration and DoD leadership on Facebook for this very real threat against the SEALs. He said,
“Our Nation’s best don’t sign up to be a Navy SEAL to cash in on our training years later. We give a blood oath to fight for freedom and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. In doing so, we bear a burden of emotional, psychological, physical, and family stress of constant deployments and low pay because we love our Country. Shame Mr. President for not recognizing the service and sacrifice and further insulting SEALs by making this about money.”
In response, the First Liberty Institute and Liberty Counsel are representing service members, including several Navy SEALs, who want to fight the mandate and continue to be allowed to serve their country.
First Liberty Institute’s Michael Berry is representing 34 active-duty SEALS and two in the Navy Reserves. Liberty Counsel has two SEALs who are named plaintiffs as part of a larger class action suit against the Biden Administration and the Department of Defense.
Berry said, “Purging our military of its elite servicemembers is detrimental to national security. Doing so because the Commander in Chief refuses to accommodate their religious convictions is abhorrent to the Constitution. Their years of experience and leadership in service to our nation is immeasurable and irreplaceable. … Remove a SEAL from special warfare, reduce his salary, and force him to repay his training is purely vindictive and punitive. And it’s illegal. They have nothing to do with a virus.”
In an exclusive interview with the Standing for Freedom Center, Liberty Counsel’s Chief Legal Counsel Harry Mihet said that this is a “power grab at the expense of national security,” and the firm is prepared to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.
In contrast, Lt. Col. Patricia Kreuzberger applauded the vaccine mandate. She said, “Mandatory vaccination for our servicemembers is a lawful order that maximizes our operational effectiveness. To our world-wide deployable, Naval personnel must be medically qualified which included being up-to-date on required vaccinations.”
What are our leaders thinking? The coercive, cruel way that this tyrannical, one-size-fits-all vaccine push is being carried out is not only affecting the personal health choices of civilian Americans but the warriors who have sworn to protect and defend our nation.
If these lawsuits don’t prevail or the Biden administration doesn’t change course soon, we could lose scores of our most dedicated and experienced warfighters, causing our nation’s combat readiness to suffer significantly. These include the Navy SEALS, who, among other accomplishments, killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and helped save the life of Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates who were holding him hostage and threatening to kill him.
It also is a stab in the back to these selfless heroes who go into the most dangerous possible situations and risk life and limb for the freedom of their countrymen and for love of country. By barring the SEALS from deployment, cutting paychecks that already aren’t sufficient, and requiring them to pay back their training for a dangerous job they volunteered to do, our leaders are sending a heartbreaking, blatant message to our troops — they view them as expendable.
This also affects the military’s ability to protect the nation against those who mean to harm us. Not only are Navy SEALS highly trained but they are also battle-hardened, and that brings with it experience, capabilities, and wisdom that is not easily — and certainly not immediately — replaced.
Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin blames our woke culture — a radical and capricious ideology that does not belong in our military. “If they really were concerned about combat readiness, they would stop all the social experiments. They would stop trying to make a woke military out of the young men and women serving today,” he said. “They would stop with the Critical Race Theory, they would stop with the nonsense of social experiments that takes up training time that should be used by these young men and women to get ready to defend this nation and defeat our enemies.”
The Biden administration has gone too far with these vaccine mandates. Instead of making our country a safer place as they claim, they are actually endangering our nation’s security, not just now but potentially for years to come.
Make no mistake: Treating those who have selflessly sacrificed and served as disposable will come back to haunt us. In the words of Secretary Zinke: “Shame, Mr. President.”