The White House, which has been accused of “mixed messaging,” added fuel to the fire when it announced that members of the military who were terminated for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine are now required to repay recruitment bonuses because, reportedly, they did not honor their contracts.
President Biden announced the “pandemic was over” last fall. However, the Pentagon continued its policy of firing military members who did not comply with the vaccine mandate until early Jan. 2023.
Though courts have ruled that military service personnel cannot be penalized because they refuse the vaccine, reports of termination, lack of promotions and harsh reassignments have been widely circulated.
Now, the U.S. Army declares that those terminated for not taking the jab must return their reenlistment bonuses of up to $7,000 if they did not complete their six-year commitment.
One soldier, speaking to Fox News, reported he was fired in May 2022 after refusing to get the jab, then was informed he must repay $4,000 because he had not served six years.
The soldier reportedly had to ‘sell’ unused vacation days to pay the fees and described the move as the “final kick in the face.”
The Pentagon reports that approximately 3,717 Marines, 1,816 soldiers and 2,064 sailors were discharged for refusing to be vaccinated.
The Pentagon’s vaccination policy has been rigidly enforced by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Legal challenges and increasing reports of adverse reactions to the vaccine, particularly in young men, led to a reversal of the vaccine mandate.
However, many believe the military has not honored its commitment to those who volunteered to ensure the welfare of our nation, and the too-little-too-late mandate reversal is tarnished by the move to recoup reenlistment bonuses.
An anonymous soldier told Fox: “I’ve deployed multiple times, and I feel like the last thing I had was selling leave days that I earned and was never able to take due to me being deployed or needing that time to prepare for the training cycle.”
He continued: “I was about to enter a new world with no income, and that extra bit would have been a nice buffer in my rainy day fund to keep me afloat until I was able to find new employment.”
Another soldier said the Department of Defense under Biden has fallen short in its treatment of rank-and-file troops. The soldier said forcing repayment of bonuses was the “icing on the cake,” adding the “appalling treatment” has broken the trust between service members and government officials.
The military has noted it fell far behind in recruitment goals in 2022.
Sen. Ted Cruz recently announced his intention to introduce a bill that would force the military to rehire those who were fired for refusing the vaccine.
Cruz said: “My legislation would provide relief to every one of those servicemen and women, would provide an avenue for those who want to return to service to be reinstated at their prior rank with full benefits.”