Commentary: Service members who refused Covid vaccine and were discharged should be made whole



Over the past year American troops who exercised their legally protected medical rights were wrongfully sidelined over Covid vaccine mandates. Some were discharged while others had their careers stalled.

They should all be made whole.

These troops deserve fully reinstated careers, ASAP! The first step is the recent legislative action by Congress which halted the military vaccine mandate via the National Defense Authorization Act of 2023. The president signed it into law and the military stated it will “fully comply.”

American service members have been down this road before. Almost 20 years ago, the mandatory anthrax vaccine program was halted after federal courts found its licensing unlawful. Subsequently, the first-ever application of the Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA, law served as an interim fix to provide anthrax vaccine on a voluntary basis to troops until the FDA properly completed the licensure. This inaugural EUA is the intersection with Covid vaccine mandates. Unfortunately, the optional consent precedent was ignored for troops and all Americans when EUA Covid vaccine mandates began nationwide in 2021. Fortunately, most mandates were declared illegal or halted through injunctions.

The federal court only allowed optional EUA anthrax vaccine to be offered to our troops with their “prior consent.” After being taken to task in court, the military also acceded to “no penalty,” no loss of entitlement, no punishment, and guaranteed troops would “still be deployable.” The precedent is memorialized in the Federal Register. The Code of Federal Regulations further affirms this language in Title 21, Section 50.25, regarding human protection and informed consent, where “consequences” pertain to medical issues.

Read: Vaccine refusers deserve to be made whole — now

With anthrax vaccine, Title 10, Section 1107, of the United States Code was invoked to provide cover over 20 years ago from the illegal mandate. Similarly, Title 10, Section 1107a, should have protected our troops today from EUA COVID vaccine mandates. Title 21, Section 360bbb-3, affords the same protections for all citizens regarding the “option to accept or refuse” EUA products, which are not biosimilar or interchangeable with any approved vaccines. Ignored laws and disregarded precedents aside, the realities of COVID vaccination efficacy, while not blocking infection or transmission, raised serious doubts for Congress about the wisdom of continued mandates.

In contrast to the anthrax vaccine mandate, halted by judicial rulings, the current Covid vaccine military mandate is being repealed through unprecedented legislative action. Corrections over anthrax vaccine injustices were almost nonexistent due to the decades-long diversion caused by the anthrax letter attacks of 2001. Those attacks, perpetrated by an Army scientist responsible for the vaccine program, disrupted justice for approximately 1,000 punished troops. Ten years later, the FBI found the “motive” for the anthrax mailings was to evoke fear and to save the “failing” anthrax vaccine. The FBI took so long that neither the Congress nor the courts ever held the military accountable for the underlying legal violations.

This time around, Congress is promptly encouraging repair of the Covid vaccine injustices near real-time. The NDAA rescinds the mandate and asks military leaders to “consider such requests for correction of military records and reinstatement.”

But our experience with military correction boards represents a cautionary tale. It took us 15 and 10 years, respectively, to have our records and ranks corrected.

In Sgt. Muhammad’s case, his discharge was upgraded to fully honorable, rank restored, Good Conduct and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medals backdated, and VA benefits reinstated. Col. Rempfer was awarded a lost command credit and a missed promotion. But tens of thousands more, over many decades, received no justice. The deference and delays permit the military to conduct record corrections like a military operation, granting little quarter, with over 95% of cases being denied.

Based on our two decades of experience in navigating this battlespace, we recommend proactive directives from the top of the chain of command to unilaterally alter this trust-eroding paradigm. The commander in chief, secretary of defense or service secretaries should ensure that prompt corrections and reinstatements occur. With almost 10,000 troops already discharged, leaders should swiftly craft a policy to upgrade all discharges to fully honorable, including reenlistment codes that permit return to service.

This historic juncture provides “good reason for higher authority to resurvey its own judgments,” in the words of Armed Forces Officer, published in 1950 by the Department of Defense. It’s time to reverse any adverse or withheld personnel actions. Corrections should not require troops to apply for redress. Accountability encourages decisive leadership versus requiring troops to submit individual applications or endure lengthy corrections processes designed to attrit.

If the military disregards the discretion granted by Congress, and our troops are deserted regarding record corrections, then our civilian authorities should order the institution to fix it in a timely manner. Serious consideration should also be given to correcting the historic inequities related to the anthrax vaccine program injustices.

Now that Congress has spoken, it’s time for leaders to fly high cover for our troops and direct the repairs to readiness and recruitment that our troops and citizens so justly deserve.

Sgt. James D. Muhammad, a Marine Corps veteran, and Col. Thomas L. Rempfer, an Air Force retiree, manage to inform public officials and our nation’s troops about record corrections.

This column first appeared at Military Times.


  1. Discharging these troops was a travesty and a black eye for the Military! Our Military is now a woke Military! Shameful! GOD BLESS AMERICA 🇺🇸

    • Was it worse than abandoning American troops in a middle eastern war zone, allowing our borders to go open and unchecked, leaving untold millions worth of weaponry in the hands of repressive cavemen, hiring sexual deviants over better qualified applicants or arranging for his meth addled son to receive millions from foreign governments simply for providing access to the President?

      He thinks nobody f’s w/ a Biden but I damn sure hope someone does. His presidency has been a blight and a travesty.

  2. These guys are correct. Unfortunately, congress had the opportunity to make them whole in the Omnibus and specifically refused to support an amendment that would do so. Question asked. Question answered. Good luck with recruiting. Cheers –

  3. Yup. Overdue, in fact.

    I acknowledge the military has the right to order military personnel to get vaccines. As a vet friend of mine says, they defend democracy. They don’t practice it.

    But this crap was so nakedly partisan it is the exception proving the rule. This wasn’t about troop health. It was about exerting control and weeding out potential “troublemakers” for the regime.

  4. Everybody who refused mandated vaccines and who were fired as a result should be made whole. At this point, it has been pretty much legally proven that the vaccine development was politically hurried and was unsafe. If the sanctity of medical independence is enough to justify the killing of a human fetus, it’s enough to justify the refusal of a vaccine, especially one that hasn’t been medically researched enough.
    This is written by one who readily accepted the vaccine due to the considerations of my advanced age and the realization that the lack of the vaccine would legally restrict or end the necessary air travel I was committed to at the time, and who was just lucky enough to get the Moderna vaccine instead of the J&J or AstraZeneca vaccines.
    I still have not gotten Covid, and nor has my wife or son, both who also got the Moderna vaccine.

  5. All these Discharged Servicemen should be fully restored and PROMOTED by at least 2 Grades of Rank. They have Proved Themselves as ” People of Conscience “. People of this quality need to be put in Positions of Command.

  6. Veterans all remember doing the bare shoulders march through the multi door Quonset hut before overseas assignment, but we did it trustingly, knowing medical or religious exemptions would be honored if legitimate. Even a half century ago, many of us refused the Monday pill to combat Malaria. We are now known as the few who never contracted Malaria or its symptoms! Our government promised us, in return for our blank check commitment (up to and including our lives) , it would issue whatever we needed to succeed, and fix whatever it broke. Many of us trusted our government more than we probably should have? How many years passed before our government admitted to intentional radiation poisoning of Eskimos during WWII, the Tuskegee Experiment, the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam, Gulf War Syndrome (depleted uranium, electro-magnetic frequency effects)? How many years will pass before the government admits to the truth behind 5G (which, coincidentally, generates the exact same physical symptoms as Covid-19)? Good luck living that long!

    • Wonder if you’d hold that opinion of the orders were to round up gays and put them in Concentration Camps?

      Or shoot homeless is the streets?

      Orders are orders, after all.

      • Are you really equating murder with vaccine mandates? What a ridiculous non-sequitur but I’m not surprised.

        • Since many have died, and more will continue to die, directly as a result of the unsafe, ineffective and experimental so-called “vaccines”, yes, it is perfectly logical to equate the forced jabbing of millions with murder. That is in fact EXACTLY what it is, and was, and will be, for all those who die as a result of having ignorantly and/or coercively taken them.

          • Absolute nonsense. There is no peer-reviewed evidence that the Covid vaccine has a higher mortality rate than any other vaccine (and it IS a vaccine BTW) on the market. Even the rate of the most adverse reactions is miniscule. I don’t expect you to admit this since your views on the vaccine are clearly related more to politics than on scientific reality.

          • Maybe no “peer-reviewed” evidence that is accepted by self-serving and corrupt members of the medical establishment, but mountains and planets’-worth of evidence nonetheless. But since it does not serve the political and social agenda of the ruling class, and their corporate media lapdogs, it is all ignored and/or sent down the ‘memory hole’ by that same corrupt establishment and their shills and lackeys, such as you.
            You are really one of the most obvious, and least effective, online trolls with whom I have ever interacted — and I’ve interacted with many. You are at least marginally less laughable than the execrable troll Dan Svatass.

        • Your premise was a demand for troops to blindly follow ALL orders. While MA makes extreme examples, it still illustrates the potential extent of “following blindly and without recourse” as you suggest in your original post.

    • Well there are lawful and unlawful orders.
      The military has strict standards what constitutes a lawful order. Military personnel will receive vaccines that are approved and fully vetted through the appropriate agencies, mostly to prepare them for deployment, yet being used as guinea pigs is not part of that deal. Covid vax is a brand new untested vaccine, that had emergency authorization only and has still not gone through all normal testing. You can not order someone to offer up their body for a vaccine trial. All the troops who refused were vindicated when it became clear that even a 97% immunization rate did nothing to stop the disease. (97% vaccination rate per Air Force reporting in 2021)

      • Very well stated, AT!
        But the unassailable logic of your arguments will surely go unanswered by the poster to whom you responded, because that kind of person (radical leftist) cannot rely on logic, reason or truth to support their purely faith-based, irrational and cult-like political positions.

        • If you removed the phrase “radical leftist” from your lexicon, you’d have nothing more to say. To respond however, the Covid vaccine is a well proven and tested vaccine that most likely saved the lives of millions from serious illness and/or death.

          • Cman, your laughably shallow, ignorant and faith-based assertions do not define reality, despite however many times you continue to frantically and desperately parrot them.
            Everyone with any sense, and any independent judgement, and any knowledge, and any critical thinking ability, realizes that your insulting false assertions are in fact the opposite of reality.
            I wonder, how much are you paid to troll here as you do?

          • It is quite humorous how you ignore the timeline here. In 2021 the Covid vaccine was authorized under emergency use. To this day we have no idea of the long-term effects of the mrna vaccine/gene therapy on the human body. The normal decade long process of vaccine testing, evaluation and approval was cut short by agencies, who had indirectly dabbled in gain-of-function research. All other medications with some limited potential were maligned, to leave the public with only one option: The mrna vaccine.
            While there has since been some testing, it has also been discovered that young men are suffering disproportionately from cardiac issues after receiving the vaccine. Considering that this “vaccine” neither prevented transmission nor disease process, the claim that it saved millions of lives seems hyperbolic and can not be proven, as the vast majority of individuals infected recovered without ill effects.

  7. Lost us at “should”.
    Come back, Muhammad and Rempfer, when you can articulate what you want, how you plan to get it.

    • Wish we had you to help edit. You’re right, we should have written: “They MUST all be made whole.”
      Unfortunately, we cannot get it done, but we can encourage our leaders to do so. Our next effort is to help the Congress legislate it if the DoD doesn’t do it.

  8. I’m thinking; yes they should be made whole when crimes against humanity according to the Nurenburg Treaty were accomplished.

Comments are closed.