Army Scrambling to Get Back Soldiers It Kicked Out over Biden’s Military Vaccine Mandate

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The Army now appears to be trying to bring back into service soldiers it kicked out over the Biden administration’s policy to remove servicemembers who rejected the coronavirus vaccine mandate, according to a letter from the Army several former soldiers posted online.

The letter, addressed to “Former Service Member,” states that there is new Army guidance that would correct military records of those kicked out, which would enable those who were removed and had their DD-214s marked with a certain code barring them from reentering service to be able to return.

The letter instructed former soldiers on how they could get their records corrected, then added:

Individuals who desire to apply to return to service should contact their local Army, US Army Reserve (USAR) or Army National Guard (ARNG) recruiter for more information. Individuals may locate an Army recruiter by visiting, a USAR recruiter by visiting or an ARNG recruiter by visiting

Sam Shoemate, a retired Army chief warrant officer 2 who fought the mandate, and one of the administrators of military watchdog website Terminal CWO, posted a copy of the letter on X:

The Biden administration imposed a vaccine mandate on the military in August 2021, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin then issued a policy that said any servicemember who did not follow the mandate by December 2020 would be kicked out.

Doctor wearing protective work wear injecting COVID-19 vaccine to solider (Stock photo via Getty)

Doctor wearing protective gear injects coronavirus vaccine into solider (Stock photo via Getty)

As a result, more than 8,000 troops were, in fact, kicked out, tens of thousands of National Guard members were sidelined and lost drill time and pay, and a number simply decided not to reenlist.

FORT DRUM, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10: U.S. Army soldiers return home from a 9-month deployment to Afghanistan on December 10, 2020 at Fort Drum, New York. The 10th Mountain Division soldiers who arrived this week are under orders to isolate at home or in barracks, finishing their Covid-19 quarantine just before Christmas. The troops were replaced in Afghanistan by a smaller force, as the U.S. military continues to reduce troop levels Afghanistan. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

U.S. Army soldiers return home at Fort Drum, New York (John Moore/Getty Images).

Thousands more sought a religious, administrative, or medical exemption, and most were either denied or were waiting for a decision when House Republicans forced the Pentagon to rescind the mandate via the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. The mandate and decision to kick out thousands of servicemembers came at the same time as a historic recruitment crisis.

Brad Miller, a former soldier who was punished over the mandate and resigned from the Army, also said he received a letter and called on the Army to compensate soldiers who were punished and kicked out or otherwise resigned due to the mandate.

He wrote:

Many have seen this letter. I just got mine. When I resigned from the Army, it was clear DoD was breaking the law (and senior leaders were likely engaged in treason).

Why doesn’t the Army ask me if I want my resignation converted into a retirement dated with the release date of this new policy, and along with it offer compensation for the command I was wrongly relieved of, compensation for the remainder of whatever my career might have been, and then offer me my adjusted pension from this month forward? Then offer the same to all others similarly wronged.

DoD can’t fix itself. It’s run by officers whose loyalty is in question, and they’re in turned [sic] led by Cabinet & Administration level officials whose loyalty is assuredly un-American.

The letter comes after the Army quietly issued a memo formally rescinding its vaccine mandate — a year after House Republicans forced the Biden administration to rescind its policy.

The memo formally halted further discharges, sought to remove from soldiers’ records punitive actions due to the mandate, banned further punitive actions, and said servicemembers could get their general discharges upgraded to honorable charges and even pursue reentering service.

Recently retired Army Maj. Chase Spears suggested in a piece on American Mind that the recent measures were tied to the Army’s abysmal recruiting numbers. He wrote:

One might be curious why the Army is doing an about face on this now, given that its top official clearly has a different perspective from the policy change she’s authorizing. Last month the Army missed its fiscal year 2022 recruiting goals by 10,000, the third consecutive year to have a significant shortfall. In fiscal year 2021, the Army missed its recruiting goal by 25 percent, even after lowering its initial goal for the year and reducing enlistment standards. If this trend holds, the force will have no choice but to cut units, and the heavy load already borne by those currently serving will increase accordingly. As top military officials continue to deny the impact of dragging the Army into progressive social policy advocacy, reality remains unmoved.

Spears discussed the persecution that soldiers who did not wish to receive the vaccine faced from overzealous commanders eager to implement the Biden administration’s mandate. He wrote:

The Army requires several immunizations and checkups throughout the year to maintain one’s medical readiness. Not one of those came with the coercive force of the Covid mandate. Late on your flu shot? You just get told to take one at your next convenience. Late on a vision check? The same applied. But in 2021 on Fort Leavenworth, proof of the Covid shot was the only path to being able to live an existence that in any way might reflect normal. It became the primary marker of human worth on that base, and at many others.

Under the management of Maj. Gen. Douglas Sims, some base facilities were set aside only for the vaccinated. I traveled to Fort Riley for a warfighter exercise in late 2021. First Infantry Division Policy limited unvaccinated visitors to hotel rooms and workplaces. It also restricted access to base morale facilities and the commissary (the base grocery store) to those who had a vaccine card. Friends of mine on Fort Bragg (now Fort Liberty) told me of similar policies at their location. A two-class system among military service members was established across much of the force. Hearkening back to biblical language, you were clean or unclean based on your shot status.

“Major General Sims’s performance, however, was rewarded. He has since been promoted to lieutenant general and is currently the Director of Operations for the Joint Staff,” Spears wrote, adding, “Would he treat an unvaccinated officer who re-enters the Army with respect in the days to come, or would such a uniformed citizen still be worthy of segregation?”

Spears discussed how other Army leaders punished unvaccinated soldiers harshly and were rewarded.

He called on senior Army officials to apologize for the conduct.

“Though this policy reversal is a step toward sanity, it is far from enough. As I have said before, senior Army officials should apologize for their Covid-related misconduct. Beyond that, they owe a deep reservoir of amends to subordinates whose trust was so casually broken,” he wrote.

“We must never allow totalitarians to persecute their fellow citizens in our nation’s military ever again. A force that can so easily lose sight of its purpose is one that is rightly viewed through a skeptic’s lens.”

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