GREAT NEWS.. One less destroyer in the Putrid Pentagon’s Evil Empire
Destroyer can’t deploy because CO won’t get COVID vaccine, Navy says
By Geoff Ziezulewicz Mar 8, 01:26 PM
The Navy say an unidentified guided-missile destroyer of the same class as Dewey, shown here, can’t deploy because it is commanded by an officer they cannot fire due to an ongoing COVID vaccine lawsuit. (Navy)
An ongoing legal battle over whether the military can force troops to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has left the Navy with a warship they say they can’t deploy because it is commanded by an officer they cannot fire.
It’s a standoff the brass are calling a “manifest national security concern,” according to recent federal court filings.
The issues stem from a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida late last year alleging servicemembers’ rights are being infringed upon by the COVID vaccine mandate because their religious beliefs prevent them from taking the vaccine.
Judge Steven D. Merryday issued an order last month banning the Navy and Marine Corps from taking any disciplinary action against the unnamed Navy warship commander and a Marine Corps lieutenant colonel for refusing the vaccine.
In the process, the case has raised questions about the lines between military good order and discipline, and the legal rights of servicemembers as American citizens.
Merryday’s injunction is “an extraordinary intrusion upon the inner workings of the military” and has essentially left the Navy short a warship, according to a Feb. 28 filing by the government.
Multiple lawsuits are arguing that the military is blanketly refusing religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“With respect to Navy Commander, the Navy has lost confidence in his ability to lead and will not deploy the warship with him in command,” the filing states.
The Navy has 68 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in the surface fleet, 24 of which are based in Norfolk.
Hundreds of trainees shipped to basic training unvaccinated and continue to refuse, flagging them for discharge.
“By forcing the Navy to keep in place a commander of a destroyer who has lost the trust of his superior officers and the Navy at large, this Order effectively places a multi-billion-dollar guided missile destroyer out of commission,” defense attorneys wrote.
…“No military can successfully function where courts allow service members to define the terms of their own military service, including which orders they will choose to follow,” the filing states.
But according to Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, a religious freedom non-profit representing the plaintiffs, the government is “putting in these histrionic kinds of statements into the record that are completely contrary to the evidence.”
The government’s insistence that the Navy commander can’t command his ship “reeks of petty retaliation and contempt” of the court’s preliminary injunction banning such retaliation, the plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote in a March 1 filing.
Only discharges of honorable or general under honorable conditions will be allowed under the new defense authorization bill.
“The Navy’s feigned ‘loss of confidence’ in the Commander is patently pretextual and has everything to do with the Commander’s lawful and orderly attempt to obtain judicial relief from an unconstitutional mandate,” the filing states.The ship was underway for more than 300 days during the 400 pandemic days when no vaccine was available, the plaintiffs contend, “with no operational impediment.”
“If there is injury to the Navy from shutting down the Commander’s ship, it is self-inflicted and intentional,” the filing states.
Good order and discipline
Government’s burden of proof
But Judge Merryday denied the government’s request in a March 3 decision and accused the defense of attempting “to evoke the frightening prospect of a dire national emergency resulting from allegedly reckless and unlawful overreaching by the district judge.”…..
Local commanders will decide whether to give other-than-honorable dismissals to individuals who refuse the vaccine.
Merryday accused the defense of arguing as if the Religious Freedom Reform Act doesn’t apply to military members.The commander’s contention that his rights under the act were denied “demands a closer examination, which is readily and reasonably promptly available.”