As of the end of this week, the US Marine Corps has kicked out at least 169 Marines over their refusal to get the coronavirus vaccine by the mandated deadline. This after the past week alone has seen 66 additional Marines discharged on top of the initial service members booted.
Amid the new Omicron fears, of which there may be a mere handful of cases across the US military, the Marine Corps said in a statement that “The speed with which the disease transmits among individuals has increased risk to our Marines and the Marine Corps’ mission.”
The Marine Corps lags behind other branches in overall vaccination rates, with 95% of all personnel having received at least one shot. This is compared with the other branches, including the Army, Air Force, and Navy which are all at 98%.
Crucially, the Marines have been at the forefront among the branches of kicking out troops, while also denying all vaccine exemptions based on religious reasons.
“The Marine Corps has been the most aggressive in discharging troops who refuse the vaccine,” The Associated Press reports. “And it also has denied all religious requests for vaccine exemptions that have been processed. As of Thursday, 3,080 of the 3,192 requests received — or more than 96% — have been processed and rejected.”
Meanwhile, the big Covid and military headlining story this week was that seven staffers traveling with the Pentagon’s #2 highest overseer tested positive for Covid-19, with extensive contact tracing now underway given they visited multiple major military installations. Much of the delegation that traveled with Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks is now quarantining. Of course, all the infected were vaccinated.
In other branches, there are continuing threats from commanders over the vax mandate. “The Army said it has reprimanded more than 2,700 soldiers and will begin discharge proceedings in January, while the Air Force has discharged at least 27 members,” NBC recently reported.