Coast Guard Academy cadets seeking religious exemption from the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate were ordered to vacate the campus within 24 hours of receiving notification of final military adjudication of their cases and given no further details regarding their future in the service.
Much like the West Point cadets whose appeals of religious accommodation requests (RAR) for exemption were denied, the Coast Guard cadets were afforded barely any time to adjust to the final military adjudication of their cases.
The cadets’ RAR appeals were denied in May. In June, the Coast Guard Academy notified the unvaccinated cadets that they would be disenrolled. The cadets appealed the disenrollment, but the academy didn’t reject the appeals until Aug. 15. The academy didn’t notify the cadets of its decision until Aug. 18, three days later, when it ordered them to leave by Aug. 19, the following afternoon.
When military members are denied their RARs for vaccine mandates, they’re allowed to appeal the denials. If their appeals are denied, then the military begins the process of separating them from the service.
After being ordered to leave within 24 hours of being notified that their disenrollment appeals were denied, the seven unvaccinated Coast Guard cadets had to pack up everything and figure out how to get themselves and all their belongings home before the deadline, one cadet told Just the News on Monday.
The cadets are still enrolled in the academy and receive pay — which the cadet said is like “pennies,” anyway — as they’re on temporary duty at their home addresses. Thus, they are required to attend their military trainings online, despite being unable to attend classes that started on Aug. 22.
Because the cadets haven’t been disenrolled yet, they can’t leave the Coast Guard to look somewhere else for a job or education. The cadet said that it’s too late to transfer to another college at this point in the semester and that not all military academy credits transfer over, anyway.
The academy hasn’t told the cadets what the next steps are for disenrollment or when they will occur. Even if the academy lets them back, they have already fallen behind in their classes, according to the cadet.
Two of the unvaccinated cadets being forced to leave the academy’s campus are seniors, one is a junior, and four are sophomores. All of the freshman cadets were required to be vaccinated, as those who were unvaccinated were weeded out during boot camp this summer, the cadet told Just the News.
The Coast Guard Academy is ousting the unvaccinated cadets for their religion, the cadet said, as they were all exemplary in their academic and physical abilities.
The cadet mentioned that a protected stay order in Clements v. Austin, a class action lawsuit against the vaccine mandate, allows the unvaccinated cadets to be enrolled at the academy through Sept. 1. However, after that date, the academy can disenroll them. The attorneys representing the cadets are requesting a temporary restraining order against the vaccine mandate for the length of the lawsuit.
The cadet said the academy argues that they aren’t violating the protected stay order because they haven’t disenrolled the cadets. The lawyers for the cadets argue that the academy is violating the order because the purpose of it was to ensure they still received their education, the cadet said.
The lawsuit focuses on the COVID vaccine being under emergency use authorization (EUA), not full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The military can only legally force the fully approved vaccine on service members.
A whistleblower report to Congress last week alleged that the Comirnaty vaccine appearing at Coast Guard medical clinics isn’t the Comirnaty vaccine that is fully approved by the FDA, and may actually be a mislabeled vaccine under EUA.
The cadet who spoke to Just the News said that in a recorded phone call with Pfizer, they and another cadet were told by the pharmaceutical company that FDA-approved vaccines aren’t being administered to anyone. This contradicted Coast Guard claims that the Comirnaty vials at their clinics were the real, fully-approved vaccine.
The cadet told Just the News that they just want to continue their education at the Coast Guard Academy and had chosen to serve their country to pay it back for everything that it has blessed them and their family with. They said that part of their reason for joining was to protect the First Amendment, which includes freedom of religion, but that now the military is retaliating against them for exercising that freedom in the form of vaccine exemption requests.
Military attorney R. Davis Younts told Just the News on Tuesday, “The steps taken by the Coast Guard Academy are clear religious discrimination against Christians and reflect a total disdain for the faith and constitutional rights of cadets.
“The actions of the Coast Guard continue to have a devastating impact on morale and military readiness. Worse, these actions appear to be based on a lack of moral courage among the leaders of the Coast Guard. With the new CDC guidance, there is simply no medical or scientific justification for treating young men and women who have worked so hard to earn a commission like pariahs.”
The CDC has abandoned some of its key prior COVID recommendations, including: testing and quarantine for asymptomatic COVID-19 infectees and close contacts; the six-foot rule; and preferential treatment for vaccinated people, especially those who are “up to date” on shots.
Also, through the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, the federal government instructed its agencies on Aug. 17 to stop requiring documentation of vaccination status as of Aug. 22, in keeping with the new CDC guidelines for COVID. In addition, on-site contractor employees or visitors at federal agencies can no longer be required to provide proof of a negative COVID test solely because of their vaccination status.
The Coast Guard Academy didn’t respond to a request for comment.