The three Misiura brothers have a family history of military service. Their grandfather was a Navy machinist in the Korean War, their father was in the Air Force, and each of the brothers enlisted with pride to carry on the family legacy and support American liberty.
But now they feel their liberty is being curtailed as they are being told to get the COVID-19 shots or face discharge. Each has asked for a religious exemption, and they’re in varying stages of the exemption process.
David Misiura Jr., 36, is an Air Force Reserve technical sergeant from Honesdale, Pennsylvania. He is a former prison guard who started a men’s grooming business, LOX and Company Ltd. He has served for 15 years and was deployed four times, including two combat deployments in Iraq. One of those deployments was with his brother, Josiah Misiura, 30, an Air Force Reserve technical sergeant from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who works full time as a police officer. Their other brother, Jonathan Misiura, 34, of Honesdale is a private first class in the Army National Guard and works full time as a lineman for a telephone company.
Each military branch has different vaccination deadlines.
Air Force reservists were required to be vaccinated by Dec. 2, 2021. David Misiura submitted a religious exemption request. It was denied, so he appealed the denial, but his appeal was rejected. His commander then told him he had five days to get the shot or write a letter of refusal and face disciplinary action, which would lead to discharge.
He wrote the letter of refusal.
“No man has authority over my God-given and American constitutional rights. No man has authority to overrule my sincerely-held religious beliefs and force me to break my conscience or my commitment to my God for any reason—let alone in the name of health or mission readiness,” David’s letter said. “I will not be coerced, threatened, guilted, bullied, or otherwise persuaded to violate my conscience, disobey my God, or trample my basic right as a human being by subjecting my body with inoculation of an experimental biological agent that is derived from fetal cell lines, causes severe adverse reactions, including death to the user, and is non-effective against a virus with a 99.97 percent recovery rate.”
In March 2022, David received a letter of reprimand and was given an Article 92 citation for “Refusal to Obey a Lawful Order.” He is currently pending discharge. He will lose the $500 a month he currently earns, and with 15 years of service, he had only five more years to go to qualify for retirement benefits.
“My plan was always to reach those 20 years of service and then reevaluate whether to stay in longer or get out and collect a pension,” David told The Epoch Times. “The Air Force has given me so many opportunities and good experiences. The Air Force has treated me very well, you know, up until this point. So many friendships, so many experiences and places to see. Just an overall great career.”
Josiah Misiura, who has served for 12 years, is a step behind David. His religious exemption and appeal have been rejected. His next options are to write a letter of refusal and face discharge or get the shot.
The vaccination deadline for the Army National Guard is June 30, 2022. Jonathan Misiura has submitted a religious exemption but has not heard back.
“I just recently joined, fulfilling a lifelong desire to serve my country,” Jonathan told The Epoch Times. “It was an easy decision to not get the shot. It doesn’t protect you from getting the virus or from spreading it. I am at the beginning stages of a religious exemption that I am confident will get denied, like so many others. I have a feeling I will get a denial shortly and then I can appeal that decision. After the appeal gets denied, they will kick me out.”
After long deployments away from their families and intensive training, the brothers say they feel betrayed by the government.
“It’s been extremely disappointing,” David said. “I feel betrayed. I’ve given 15 years of service to a country and a military that has treated me well, that I have served well, and because I can’t capitulate on my religious convictions, it’s all being stripped away. I feel very betrayed.”
David says his personal relationship with Jesus and his convictions based on the Bible drive his morals.
“For anyone, including the federal government, to tell me to go against those convictions, that could end up having eternal consequences,” David said. “When our Founding Fathers came here to the American Colonies, part of that was an expression of faith and for the freedom of religion. Ultimately, I’m going to stand before God and answer, and be accountable for my actions in my lifetime. I’m not going to stand before the federal government when I die. I’m not going to stand before my family or my church. It’s going to be before my God, and you know, ultimately, we’re all going to be held accountable to God for what we do.”
A National Guard spokesman confirmed March 31 that National Guard members are paid with federal dollars and those who are unvaccinated will not be paid or permitted to participate in weekend drill training, and that will impact their status within the National Guard.