published : 2023-11-26

Senator Presses Army on Backpay and Religious Freedoms for Soldiers Discharged for COVID Vaccine Refusal

Former Army physician Lt. Col. Danielle Smith discusses her experience being forced out of the Army for reportedly not taking the COVID vaccine, and Senator Eric Schmitt presses the U.S. Army for answers on behalf of discharged service members.

A photo of a soldier receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at Fort Knox, Kentucky. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

Nearly 2,000 service members were discharged from the military for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Army recently sent a letter to these discharged soldiers, offering them the option to correct their discharge characterization and rejoin the branch.

In a letter to Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, Senator Eric Schmitt asks if these soldiers will receive backpay upon re-enlistment and if their religious freedoms will be protected.

Schmitt highlights that these mandates have harmed military readiness and negatively impacted the careers and benefits of former service members.

Former Army physician Lt. Col. Danielle Smith sharing her experience of being discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. (Taken with a Canon EOS R)

Schmitt also asks if the Army will make continuous efforts to contact these members and address the recruitment shortfall.

The Army has missed its recruitment goals and discharged thousands of soldiers solely due to COVID-19 mandates.

Schmitt requests a response from Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth by December 13, 2023.

The Army's Chief of Public Affairs states that they will respond directly to Senator Schmitt.

Senator Eric Schmitt questioning Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth about the discharge of soldiers due to vaccine refusal. (Taken with a Sony Alpha A7 III)

The Army's recent letters to discharged soldiers are part of a congressionally-mandated process and provide information on how to correct military records.

Thousands of troops unsuccessfully sought religious exemptions from the vaccine.

The military letter provided forms for discharged service members to request a correction to military records and shared links for those interested in returning to service.

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