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Airman makes desperate TikTok appeal for job tips, says many will take admin. discharge over vaccine order

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A young Air Force member has posted a video to TikTok suggesting she and many others are set to be discharged from the military over their refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine while going on to ask about help with civilian job possibilities.

 

“Alright, TikTok we need your help,” the woman, who is wearing the enlisted rank of Air Force Senior Airman, begins.

“So, a lot of the military is about to take an administrative discharge for not taking the vaccine,” the senior airman, who appears to be sitting in a vehicle, continues in the video that was posted Saturday and has been viewed at least 120,000 times.

“I know some people are doing it for medical reasons, some people are doing it for personal reasons, beliefs — whatever it may be, it’s about to suck,” she added, going on to explain what an administrative discharge entails.

“It’s not necessarily honorable but it’s not dishonorable. It just means that most of our military service was good, we just failed to comply with an order. Um, so, not taking the vaccine is a direct order,” she added.

According to the website of experienced military lawyer Jeffrey Meeks of San Diego: “An administrative discharge is a method by which the military can fire you due to an indicated lack of ability to continue service due to performance issues, conduct issues, or physical and mental conditions. Under certain circumstances, an Administrative Discharge Board must be formed, where you can present a defense.”

“While an administrative discharge from the military is less severe than a court-martial, it can still have lifelong, significant effects upon one’s employability, eligibility for Veterans’ Benefits, and social standing,” noted military and security law firm JAG Defense.

Continuing, the senior airman said what she is “looking for right now is if you’re an employer or if you know employers that will undoubtedly employ us — a lot of us are looking at discharge.”

“We weren’t expecting this, so we have, like, no idea what to plan for, and I’m sure a lot of people are trying to plan for their future right now,” she went on. “So if ya’ll could help us out, like I said, if you’re an employer, if you know an employer that will undoubtedly help us out, hire us, whatever it may be, if you can put it in the comments, message me — I’m trying to get as much information for my brothers and sisters and myself as possible.”

The identity of the senior airmen is not known, but she posts on the social media site under the handle @freedomofchoice. Other videos posted to her page include one where she is in tears, apparently anguished about her decision, and another in which she says she has filed paperwork refusing the vaccine and that since then there has been “radio silence” from her command. She also posted one claiming to have been contacted by thousands of prospective employers.

That said, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall issued COVID-19 vaccine guidance Sept. 3, after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made them mandatory Aug. 24, a day after the Food and Drug Administration officially approved Pfizer’s version.

“We are taking an aggressive approach to protect our service members, their families and their communities from COVID-19 and the highly transmissible Delta variant,” said Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones at the time. “

“As members of the nation’s Armed Forces, our Airmen and Guardians must be able to respond to situations around the globe—being fully vaccinated will help us safely meet the readiness requirements that our national security depends on,” she continued, referencing members of the U.S. Space Force as well.

In the early 1990s, military members reportedly became ill and had lasting effects from an anthrax vaccine that was mandated ahead of the first Gulf War and for several years afterward.

“During the Gulf War in the early 1990s, the Defense Department and FDA implemented a rule that allowed the military to require vaccines for military personnel. Defense One estimates that upward of 650,000 soldiers received the IND Anthrax Vaccine Absorbed (AVA) over the next decade,” U.S. science publication Nautilus reported in August.

“The Pentagon’s mandatory anthrax shots caused adverse reactions in most recipients and helped prompt many Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members to transfer to other units or leave the military between 1998 and 2000, according to a survey by Congress’s General Accounting Office,” the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy added in a November 2002 report.

Defense One reports that that could be one driving reason why a higher number of U.S. military personnel now are suspicious of or refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.

Jon Dougherty

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