Friday, October 7, 2022

Coast Guard discharging unvaxxed members, allegedly denying promotions regardless of spiritual exemption requests

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The U.S. Coast Guard has denied guardsmen spiritual lodging requests and remains to be taking motion to maintain unvaccinated service members from being promoted and educated, whereas persevering with involuntary terminations, regardless of the nation shifting on from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a lawsuit filed Sept. 16 by the Thomas More Society in opposition to the Coast Guard and different authorities companies on behalf of a category of over 1,200 service members in search of spiritual exemptions from the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, the group alleges that the Coast Guard is “categorically denying virtually all” spiritual lodging requests.

Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Alaric Stone instructed Fox News Digital in an interview that he had submitted his first spiritual lodging request final 12 months, which was denied in January, after which an attraction, which was additionally denied in May. He stated that his denial was “virtually identical” to these of different unvaccinated service members, regardless of his mission and unit.

A Coast Guard spokesperson denied that any members have been penalized for in search of spiritual lodging.

“No Coast Guard members have been penalized for seeking religious accommodations from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Coast Guard policy prohibits taking retaliatory actions against a member for seeking a religious accommodation, and all religious accommodation requests are processed in accordance with standard agency guidance and policy,” the spokesperson instructed Fox News Digital.

Plaintiff attorneys allege that the Coast Guard is “categorically denying virtually all” spiritual lodging requests.
(U.S. Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet )

Stone stated he had “successfully served on board one of the highest up-tempo units within the Coast Guard without any COVID disruptions whatsoever. You know, I never missed a single day of work during the entire period,” which he talked about in his lodging request.

As for any penalties he is endured for the reason that denial of his attraction, Stone stated he is not eligible for sure trainings and promotions that might advance his profession.

“I’ve been denied training several times. Training is directly associated with duties that I’m meant to be filling in the billets that I’m in. You know, this puts me at a pretty significant disadvantage, because, you know, I have certain tasks and jobs that I’m supposed to be doing, and I’m not necessarily getting the formal training that is supposed to go along with those,” stated Stone, who graduated on the prime of his Coast Guard class in 2016.


Stone famous that regardless of the punishments he personally faces, he “by no means” has obtained the “harshest punishments” dealing with different guardsmen, together with involuntary separation from the navy.

A spokesperson for the Coast Guard confirmed to Fox News Digital that it’s within the technique of discharging any members with out permitted exemption requests.

“At the height of the pandemic, restrictions on training, travel and leave were implemented in order to protect the Coast Guard workforce and the public. These restrictions were applicable to all Coast Guard members and were at no time focused on members who had filed or were awaiting decision on religious accommodation requests,” stated the Coast Guard spokesperson.

“The Coast Guard is in the process of discharging all military members who do not have an approved medical or administrative exemption or religious accommodation, and who have not followed the order to become vaccinated,” the spokesperson continued.

The Coast Guard obtained over 1,200 lodging requests and solely accepted 12 complete, all of whom have been already within the technique of retiring or separating from the navy, plaintiff attorneys stated. That quantities to a 99% denial charge.

“I’m already aware of one service member who, as of Monday this week, was discharged for being unvaccinated and standing up for his religious beliefs. And I personally know of dozens more who stand to be discharged in actually just the coming weeks,” Stone instructed Fox News Digital. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at a news briefing at the Pentagon on July 20, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at a information briefing on the Pentagon on July 20, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“The White House proclaimed the pandemic is over, but as the Pentagon just reiterated, the purge continues, as they systematically drive out of the Coast Guard [and all branches of the military] the best and the brightest, like LTJG Stone and our other plaintiffs,” Steve Crampton, one of many plaintiff attorneys, instructed Fox News Digital.

“Meanwhile, they use cookie-cutter form denial letters citing nonsensical excuses for their religious discrimination. For example, they told LTJG Stone that he was not ‘worldwide deployable’ due to his unvaccinated status, despite the fact that he had just completed four worldwide deployments, during which time he missed not a single day of work while no less than 12% of his fully vaccinated shipmates were quarantined with COVID,” Crampton continued. 


Boatswain Mate 1st Class Eric Jackson was additionally denied a non secular lodging request and attraction.

The Coast Guard in his closing denial letter stated that his unvaccinated standing was inconsistent with the Coast Guard’s curiosity in “a ready military workforce,” ignoring a press release by his commander that his ship would nonetheless be capable to “maintain mission readiness with no hindrance to operations” if Jackson was granted spiritual lodging.

The new hats and shoulder bars for the graduates sit on a table before the start of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's 141st Commencement Exercises Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in New London, Conn.

The new hats and shoulder bars for the graduates sit on a desk earlier than the beginning of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s 141st Commencement Exercises Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in New London, Conn.
(AP Photo/Stephen Dunn, File)

The Pentagon’s watchdog stated the Department of Defense is in “potential noncompliance” with requirements for reviewing and denying spiritual exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, in accordance with a report obtained by Fox News Digital final week. The Coast Guard is a part of the Department of Homeland Security however says its spiritual lodging course of is just like DoD’s.


“The Coast Guard issued service-wide policy regarding requests for religious accommodation last summer. Although the Coast Guard’s religious accommodation process is similar to that of the DoD’s, it is a separate process,” stated the spokesperson. “The Coast Guard carefully reviews and processes any member’s request for a religious accommodation on a case-by-case basis. This process follows Coast Guard policy applicable to all religious accommodation requests.”

U.S. Coast Guard personnel and members of the media.

U.S. Coast Guard personnel and members of the media.
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

It has been reported lately that the Coast Guard Academy disenrolled seven cadets for failing to adjust to the navy’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, after their requests for spiritual exemptions have been denied they usually have been ordered to go away campus.


The academy in New London, Connecticut, confirmed the disenrollments on Sept. 1, and a lawyer for a number of of the cadets stated they have been instructed on Aug. 18 that they needed to depart campus by 4 p.m. the subsequent day.

The cadets’ names haven’t been launched.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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