In a stunning reversal, the U.S. Army is now apparently reaching out to reenlist soldiers it previously discharged due to non-compliance with the Biden administration’s coronavirus vaccine mandate. This development, highlighted in letters posted online by several former soldiers, points to a significant shift in the Army’s stance.
These letters, addressing “Ex-Service Members,” detail new Army guidelines aimed at amending military records of those unjustly discharged. This correction would enable former soldiers, who had their DD-214s marked with a restrictive code preventing reenlistment, to rejoin the service. The letter states:
“Individuals wishing to apply for reentry into service should get in touch with their nearest Army, U.S. Army Reserve (USAR), or Army National Guard (ARNG) recruiter for further details. Individuals may find an Army recruiter at https://www.goarmy.com, or a USAR recruiter at https://www.goarmyreserve.com.”
This attempt to welcome back soldiers comes in the wake of the vaccine mandate enforced by the Biden administration in August 2021, under the direction of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The mandate led to the dismissal of over 8,000 troops, the sidelining of tens of thousands of National Guard members (resulting in lost drill time and pay), and influenced many to choose not to reenlist.
Numerous service members sought exemptions on religious, administrative, or medical grounds. However, most were either denied or left awaiting decisions when House Republicans successfully pressured the Pentagon into rescinding the mandate through the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. This entire situation unfolded against the backdrop of an acute recruitment crisis within the military.
Former soldier Brad Miller, who resigned from the Army due to the mandate, also confirmed receiving such a letter. He has publicly called for the Army to provide compensation to soldiers who were either discharged or compelled to resign because of the vaccine mandate.
The Army’s current effort to rectify this situation is a clear admission of the overreach and consequences of the previous policy. It underscores the need for a more thoughtful approach to policy-making, especially when it involves the livelihood and careers of those serving the nation in uniform. The fact that the Army is now actively trying to reverse the damage done is a welcome step, but it also serves as a reminder of the importance of considering the far-reaching implications of such sweeping mandates.