The U.S. Army is set to begin discharging unvaccinated soldiers immediately, becoming the final U.S. military branch to outline its discharge policy for non-compliant service members.
This decision, announced Wednesday, could result in as many as 3,300 soldiers being discharged.
The Marines, Air Force, and Navy have already discharged members for refusing to comply with the federal vaccine mandate for members of the U.S. military, The Associated Press reports. The branches were each individually responsible for enforcing the mandate.
The Army says that over 3,000 soldiers have already been issued written reprimands for failing to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, which the AP noted suggests they could already be in the process of being disciplined and could be the first to go.
Roughly 3,000 soldiers have requested religious exemptions.
“Army readiness depends on soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said on Wednesday upon issuing the directive for non-compliant soldiers who have not been granted exemptions to be discharged. “Unvaccinated soldiers present risk to the force and jeopardize readiness. We will begin involuntary separation proceedings for Soldiers who refuse the vaccine order and are not pending a final decision on an exemption.”
The orders apply to active-duty soldiers, entry-level personnel in boot camp, West Point Military Academy cadets, West Point’s preparatory school, and ROTC.
Soldiers will be discharged for misconduct.
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