Head of Oklahoma National Guard orders troops will not be forced to comply with the Pentagon’s Co-19vid vaccine mandate for members of the armed forces.
- “No Oklahoma Guardsman will be required to take the COVID-19 Vaccine,” Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino wrote in a Thursday memo, according to Navy Times.
- The move was one of Mancino’s first acts as the head of the Oklahoma National Guard.
- The memo came just one day after Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed Mancino to replace former Adjutant General Michael Thompson, who had served in that role since 2017 and who had been a vocal proponent of Covid-19 vaccines, according to The Oklahoman.
- The memo was at odds with a Defense Department directive that the “total force,” which includes the National Guard, must be given the experimental Covid-19 vaccine.
THE OKLAHOMAN REPORTS:
“The clarified policy on COVID vaccinations for Oklahoma Army and Air National Guardsmen reflects the governor’s ability to assert his command authority over the men and women of the Oklahoma National Guard while they are within the state’s borders,” said Lt. Col. Geoff Legler, a spokesman for the guard.
“The clarification will allow our unvaccinated Guardsmen to continue to serve in Oklahoma without any negative repercussion, but it does not provide any protection should they need to attend any military school or training activity run by an active duty component or the Department of Defense.”
Stitt spokesman Charlie Hannema said the change isn’t really a policy shift, but rather a clarification of the governor’s intent as commander in chief.