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3 Air Force cadets who refused the vaccine will not be commissioned

Three US Air Force Academy cadets who refused the COVID-19 vaccine will not serve as military officers but will graduate with bachelor’s degrees, the academy said Saturday.

Academy spokesman Dean Miller said a fourth cadet, who refused the vaccine until about a week ago, has decided to get vaccinated and will graduate and become an Air Force officer.

In a statement, Miller said that while the three will graduate, “they will not be assigned to the United States Air Force as long as they remain unvaccinated.” He added that a decision on whether to require the three to reimburse the United States for training expenses in lieu of service will be made by the Secretary of the Air Force.

As of Saturday, the Air Force is the only military academy to date not hiring cadets for refusal to vaccinate. All of the more than 1,000 Army cadets at the US Military Academy in West Point, New York, graduated and were commissioned as officers earlier in the day, and all were vaccinated.

The Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, said Saturday that none of the Navy or Marine Corps seniors will be barred from enlistment because of vaccine refusals. That graduation is later this week, and the Air Force ceremony is Wednesday in Colorado. Prior to that ceremony, the U.S. Air Force Academy Board of Directors conducted its standard review Friday of whether this year’s class had met all graduation requirements.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last year mandated the military to vaccinate against COVID-19.
AP

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who is the scheduled speaker at the Air Force graduation ceremony, made COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for military personnel, including those in military academies, last year, saying the vaccine is critical to maintaining military preparedness and the health of violence.

Military leaders have argued that troops have had to receive up to 17 vaccines for decades to keep armed forces healthy, particularly those stationed abroad. Students arriving at the military academies receive a series of vaccinations – such as measles, mumps and rubella – on day one if they are not already vaccinated. And in the fall, they routinely get flu shots.

Members of Congress, the military and the public have questioned whether the military services’ exemption checks were fair. Several lawsuits were filed against the Mandate, mostly centered on the fact that very few military personnel were granted religious exemptions from the firing.

Until the COVID-19 vaccine, very few military personnel requested religious exemptions from vaccinations.

Lt. Col. Brian Maguire, a spokesman for the Air Force Academy, said a week ago that all four cadets had been briefed on the possible ramifications and had met with the academy’s superintendent. And he noted at the time that they had time before graduation to change their minds — and one did.

Military academies have for years required students to refund tuition if they drop out during junior or senior year under certain circumstances. Often these cases involve students with disciplinary problems or similar problems. The cost can be as high as $200,000 or more and the final decision on reimbursement is made by the Service Secretary.

Across the military, Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have fired up to 4,000 active duty personnel for refusing the vaccine. Those who flatly oppose the vaccine without requesting an exemption will still be fired. But the courts have halted additional firings of military personnel who requested religious exemptions.

According to the military, up to 20,000 military personnel have requested religious exemptions. Thousands were rejected.

Approximately 99% of the active duty Marines and 98% of the Air Force, Marine Corps and Army have been shot at least once.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/22/3-air-force-cadets-who-refused-vaccine-wont-be-commissioned/ 3 Air Force cadets who refused the vaccine will not be commissioned

JACLYN DIAZ

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