Military guard

Members of Coast Guard Separation Service refusing vaccination warrant without due process: Lawyer

Like other branches of the nation’s military, the U.S. Coast Guard faces recruiting challenges. Even so, the branch is letting experienced service members go without due process on the vaccine mandate, with little regard for sincere religious beliefs, according to a lawyer and a retired Coast Guard officer.

The Coast Guard is trying to separate service members who refuse the vaccine under the process known as “government convenience,” which doesn’t require military committee review, the former chief petty officer said. aviation survival technician David Kroll, who decided to retire in April 2021 after more than 20 years as a helicopter lifeguard due to his religious objection to the vaccine.

According to Coast Guard Instruction M1000.4 (pdf), “members separated for the convenience of government are not entitled to an administrative discharge board” unless otherwise specified.

Air Force Reserve Judge Advocate General and civilian attorney Lt. Col. R. Davis Younts, who represents several military clients in a private capacity as a civilian attorney, told The Epoch Times that Kroll had “ absolutely right “.

The attorney explained that “service members from other branches [of the military] benefit from an administrative separation commission, if they have completed six years of service. Cases are presented to three senior officers in the presence of a lawyer, he said.

“However, the Coast Guard uses the provision of Coast Guard Instructions that allows them to circumvent this process and deport people without counsel even if they are 18 or 19,” Younts said.

“Unless a federal court steps in with an injunction, the Coast Guard is the worst offender when it comes to what happens to its members,” the attorney added, referring to preliminary injunctions issued by federal judges. directing the Air Force, Marines, and Navy to cease taking action against service members who have filed requests for religious accommodation to the vaccination mandate.

Section 1.B.12.a. of the instruction lists the grounds for dismissal of a person from the Coast Guard for the convenience of the government. These include a service member’s inability to perform prescribed duties, separation from conscientious objectors, unsatisfactory performance, and health, safety, or national interest.

The breadth of this provision thus allows the Coast Guard to place the military’s vaccine mandate under the rationale of “health, safety, or national interest,” Kroll noted.

But according to him, “the truth is that it is not practical at all, because we are in the midst of a labor shortage”.

Kroll highlighted a message (pdf) from Coast Guard Commander Adm. Karl Schultz sent in May who said, “We are in the midst of a labor shortage not seen in generations, and this shortage threatens the readiness of our service.”

Despite the manpower shortage, the Coast Guard continues to process members for release for refusing to be vaccinated. “These are highly skilled and trained personnel, including pilots, flight mechanics, rescue swimmers, surfers, cutters and life support personnel,” Kroll said. “This affects all ranks and rates in all branches of service.”

He added, “It’s inconvenient for the taxpayer because hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been invested in these people.”

‘Foolish’

A Coast Guard media relations officer told The Epoch Times that as of Sept. 21, the Coast Guard has approved 12 religious accommodations and denied 1,231 requests.

Kroll said, “It seems like everyone received blanket denials that read almost verbatim, regardless of the member’s rank, position, or religious beliefs.”

“They’re willing to fire members with sincere religious beliefs for an ineffective experimental vaccine against a virus with a 99.98% survival rate – and that just doesn’t make sense because it’s nonsense.”

According to Kroll, for years, crew resource management (CRM) has been “beaten in the head” of all Coast Guard personnel. “CRM is the concept that regardless of your rank, experience, or position, you are not only encouraged, but have a responsibility to speak up if you see, hear, or smell anything that seems abnormal,” he said. he declares.

“Now you have multiple members who are using the tools and the training they’ve been given to say, ‘hey, something’s wrong with the vaccine,'” Kroll said. “And those are the same people our military leaders want to kick out when in fact those are the people we need to hold back because they are the ones who are bold enough to speak up and bold enough to hold the line in the middle of a big personal loss. .”

While Coast Guard separations affect everyone, Kroll said helicopter rescue swimmers are currently at 89% capacity, citing inside sources. Anything below 95% is considered “critical,” he noted.

“I personally know of at least 20 die-hard lifeguards who will not submit to this illegal order under any circumstances, and if fired, that number will drop to 83 or 84 percent capacity.” The Epoch Times has contacted the Coast Guard for comment on the allegations.

Kroll worries about how the void will be filled. “One of my biggest concerns is that there will be enormous pressure to lower the standards in an effort to correct the mistake made by the military,” he said. “And it will do more harm than good.”

The Coast Guard’s lifesaving swimmer school has always come under scrutiny because of its high attrition rate, about 80%, according to Kroll. “The program is designed by experienced rescue swimmers to prepare potential candidates for worst-case scenarios, to ensure they have the skills and confidence to make sound decisions under pressure and fatigue, execute the mission and return home. them with their families,” he said. said.

“Any attempt to water down the curriculum in an effort to fill the void created by poor Coast Guard leadership is a critical mistake,” Kroll said.

“I think it will put enormous pressure on the school and local air station instructors to push candidates before they are ready and that could be catastrophic in a rescue scenario.”

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JM Phelps is a writer and researcher on Islamist and Chinese threats. He’s on Twitter at @JMPhelpsLC