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Air Force cadets who refused the COVID vaccine will graduate, but not receive commissions


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Three Air Force Academy cadets who the force says would not be allowed to graduate because of their refusal to get a coronavirus shot will graduate this month, but they will not receive commissions.

The Academy’s board of trustees conducted a “standard review” and recommended that the three seniors receive a bachelor of science degree, according to a school press release.

But the Academy also said they “will not be commissioned into the U.S. Air Force until they are vaccinated” and that Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall will determine whether graduates will be required to “reimburse the United States for education costs instead”. Services.”

And while graduates will receive their diplomas, they will not be allowed to attend the May 25 graduation ceremony.

AIR FORCE CADETS CANNOT GRADUATE AFTER REFUSING COVID VACCINE

United States Air Force Academy cadets celebrate their graduation as a team of F-16 Air Force Thunderbirds flies over the academy April 18, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“It’s been confirmed and it’s petty, vindictive, disrespectful and unnecessary,” attorney Mike Rose, who represents one of the unvaccinated cadets, told The Washington Times.

It comes after Air Force officials said earlier this month that four cadets may not graduate or be made military officers, and could be forced to pay back thousands in fees schooling. The fourth graduate chose to get vaccinated and will now graduate and become an Air Force officer.

The Pentagon last year announced a vaccination mandate for service members, including those at military academies.

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Air Force cadets who refused the COVID vaccine will graduate, but not receive commissions

FILE – This Friday, Aug. 10, 2007, file photo shows the logo of the Department of the Air Force at the U.S. Embassy, ​​Berlin. A new report released Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, on racial disparities in the Air Force finds that black service members are significantly more likely to be investigated, arrested, subject to disciplinary action and being dismissed for misconduct. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

“To defend this nation, we need a healthy and ready force,” Secretary of Defense Loyd Austin wrote in an August post. note. “After extensive consultation with medical experts and military leaders, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is necessary to protect the Force and defend the people. American.”

The fairness of the Army’s vaccine exemption reviews has been questioned by members of Congress, the Army, and the public, and multiple lawsuits have been filed over opposition to the mandate, centering primarily on the fact that very few religious exemptions had been granted.

The Marine Corps, Navy, Army and Air Force have fired nearly 4,000 active duty members for refusing to be vaccinated. Recent data from the services shows that more than 2,100 Marines, 900 sailors, 500 Army soldiers and 360 airmen have been discharged. At least 50 service members were released during entry-level training.

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Air Force cadets who refused the COVID vaccine will graduate, but not receive commissions

Air Force Recruiting Center near Tulsa, Oklahoma.
(Google Maps)

Service members who refused the vaccine without asking for an exemption are still being fired while removals of those involved in lawsuits are on hold amid legal battles.

The military said as many as 20,000 service members have requested religious exemption and thousands of those requests have been denied.

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About 99% of the active duty Navy and 98% of the Air Force, Marine Corps and Army have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

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