The U.S. Army sent a letter to former service members dismissed for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, informing them they can request corrections of their discharge records, as the military branch reportedly struggles with recruitment three years after the onset of the pandemic.
The letter, which gained traction on social media, was addressed to former service members and notified of “new Army guidance regarding the correction of military records for former members of the Army following the rescission of the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.”
It states, “as a result of the rescission of all current COVID-19 vaccination requirements, former Soldiers who were involuntarily separated for refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccination may request a correction of their military records from either or both the Army Discharge Review Board (ADRB) or the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR).”
The letter, signed by Brigadier General Hope C. Rampy, of the U.S. Army Director of the Military Personnel Management Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, goes on to link to three forms where “individuals can request a correction to military personnel records, including regarding the characterization of discharge.”
“Individuals who desire to apply to return to service should contact their local Army, US Army Reserve (USAR) or Army National Guard (ARNG) recruiter for more information,” it concludes.
An Army spokesperson on Sunday confirmed the authenticity of the letter to Fox News Digital.
The spokesperson said the letter, dated November 1, does not explicitly ask former Army members dismissed for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine to return to service.
The Army provided additional information on Monday.
“As part of the overall COVID mandate recession process mandated by Congress, the Army mailed the letters following Veterans Day weekend to approximately 1,900 individuals who had previously been separated for refusal to obey the mandatory COVID vaccination order,” Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Ruth Castro told Fox News Digital in an emailed statement Monday.
“The letter provides information to former servicemembers on how to request a correction of their military records,” Castro added.
The Instagram accounts @analyzeeducate and @northernprovisions, jointly shared a copy of the letter to their combined hundreds of thousands of followers on Saturday.
“The US Army has sent letters to soldiers that were discharged for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, offering to correct their records. Most, if not all, of the soldiers that were kicked out for not getting the vaccine were given a discharge that was other than honorable,” the post says. “The letter indicates that the Army is hoping these soldiers will apply to return to service.”
“The military in general has been going through a major recruiting crisis for the past two years. For both FY2022 and 2023, only the Marine Corps and the Space Force met or exceeded their recruitment goals. The Army, Navy, and Air Force all missed their targets by a long shot,” the accounts go on to say.
“The size of the active duty Army has shrunk from 485k in 2021 to 452k right now,” the post added. “This is the smallest active duty Army since 1940. In 2022, they missed their recruitment goal by 15,000 soldiers. This crisis has necessitated changes made to policy, including the removal of a policy that mandated recruits have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Although, after a lot of backlash that policy was quickly reinstated. Around 8,000 soldiers were kicked out for not getting the vaccine, which is a lot even if you don’t take the context of the recruiting crisis into account. The letters that were sent out have been verified by the Army as well.”
On Oct. 3, the U.S. Army announced a transformation of its recruiting enterprise, stressing how “the armed forces facing the most challenging recruiting environment in a generation.”
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