AUSTIN (KXAN) – Thousands of Air National Guard members missed deadlines to get vaccinated against COVID-19 – an order that has divided some veterans in Austin.
“As far as being obligated to go now, that’s ridiculous,” said Foreign Wars Commander Marvin Buck at the 8787 Post Office. “I don’t trust the data.”
Buck served in the Marines during Desert Storm to “serve my country and be able to feel good about myself.” His father was also a Marine. Although he’s not “anti-vax,” speaking only for himself, he does express concern and doubt about vaccines, which have been shown to be safe and effective. Buck, 54, is unvaccinated and says soldiers today should be allowed to make that decision for themselves, even though he was required to be vaccinated against diseases while in the military.
“Let’s slow down a bit and make sure everything is fine with this vaccine,” he said.
While Buck worries about what will happen to a dwindling Armed Forces, Mark Hewson, also a Marine, worries what will happen if the mission is not carried out.
“If you’re not healthy,” says Hewson. “You’re not good for the military.”
Hewson said he was nearly killed in Beruit.
“Have you lost a lot of friends?” KXAN reporter Matt Grant asked.
“Two hundred and 48 of them,” he said, tearfully.
He worries about losing more to an invisible enemy.
“They will be close together so it will spread quickly,” he said. “And once that starts happening, your paramedics can’t keep up with it. The device is virtually useless.”
“You can’t fight if you don’t have someone to fight,” he added.
Air Defense Force Passport Deadline
The deadline for the Air Reserve and National Guard arrived on December 2, with 6.3% of members don’t follow orders to be vaccinated.
In August, the Department of Defense required all members of the military to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to maintain a “ready and healthy force” and “save lives”.
Of the approximately 107,000 National Air Defense Force members:
- 8,573 are still unvaccinated.
- 4,782 has not started the vaccination process.
- 3,233 refused.
- 10,558 requested a religious exemption.
To date, no religious exemption has been granted.
“Thanks to each Airman for fulfilling his duty of vaccination,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said in a statement. “For the unvaccinated, the order is clear – act now or be held accountable if you don’t. This is our readiness to defend our homeland, as well as protect ourselves, our comrades and our loved ones.”
Protection members who refuse to be vaccinated will be barred from the required training and will not be paid. Their federal and retirement benefits may also be affected.
Army National Guard members have until June 2022 to get vaccinated.
https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/thousands-of-air-guard-members-miss-vaccine-deadline/ Thousands of Air Force members miss vaccine deadlines