[The following was provided from West Point Cadets – Willow Brown (L), Hannah MacDonald (C), and Nickaylah Sampson (R)]
In spring of 2021, we were told that our decision to volunteer to get the “optional” COVID-19 vaccine would not negatively affect our time as a cadet at West Point. That turned out to be a false promise.
Before being ordered to sign a document saying we were disobeying orders (orders we considered unlawful) in the summer and fall of 2021, we were:
- Forced to share a bathroom and living quarters with the males because we were in the ostracized unvaccinated platoon during summer training.
- Forced to attend a “re-education brief” led only by vaccinated personnel (who denied unvaccinated personnel the opportunity to sit on the panel).
- Subjected to COVID testing twice a week at 6 am, regardless of not having COVID symptoms. The vaccinated can also contract and pass COVID but were not tested.
- Not allowed to leave campus with our friends because our radius was restricted compared to the vaccinated.
- Denied a pass for being unvaccinated.
- (Nickaylah) Kicked off the women’s rowing team, because it was too high of a risk to participate in physical activities outside, but sitting in class right next to other cadets and eating at mandatory lunches side-by-side was not a problem.
- Scoffed at by teachers for making such an unscientific and selfish choice.
- Visibly cast as the “other” when the vaccinated were allowed to go without masks but the unvaccinated were forced to publicly identify our medical status by wearing masks.
- Ostracized and mocked, endured rude comments, pointing, and laughing for being in the “dirty” platoon (a platoon of only unvaccinated/masked cadets) during training. Officers told trainees to stay away from us.
- Had our HIPAA rights violated when my vaccination status was released to the entire freshman class (in which an officer stated that “HIPAA isn’t the be all, end all”).
- Subjected to this treatment knowing that some cadets had an adverse reaction, including heart problems, to the vaccine.
- Coerced and punished by a medical officer and others to make life miserable so we would violate our conscience and get vaccinated.
No Lawyers for Mandate Paperwork, Sept. 27, 2021
When the USMA vaccine mandate order paperwork came down on Sept. 27, 2021, the unvaccinated cadets were escorted to an auditorium where:
- We were not allowed to leave the room without signing a document, acknowledging that we were disobeying direct orders. (Orders that we consider to be unlawful).
- We had a choice to either be vaccinated, separate, or apply for a religious/medical exemption.
- We were denied any legal counsel at this meeting. There were no JAGs or legal advisors available for us to talk to before being forced into signing this document.
- When Hannah raised the point that the FDA-approved vaccine (Pfizer’s Comirnaty) with the proper lot numbers had yet to be distributed in the United States, that the only available vaccines were EUA, and vaccination must be voluntary, she was told that small legal distinction didn’t matter. This issue is important because it makes the mandate order unlawful.
Since then, all medical exemptions pleading the case of natural immunity and antibodies have already been denied by West Point, contrary to science, and the religious exemptions are still being processed.
“I hope my story can help others stand up in the face of such authoritarianism, even when it means giving up a career I had dreamed of and worked for.” Willow Brown
“Although I filed a religious exemption, I ultimately decided to separate from West Point. Even if my exemption went through, I could no longer see myself staying in an institution that claims to fight for freedom while using their people as puppets to convince the public to give up their freedoms for a political show. Through all of this, I have learned that this is about choosing the hard earned right over the easier wrong and refusing to settle for a half truth when the whole truth can be won.” Hannah MacDonald
“Everything I worked so hard to attain ever since high school was gone. The hours I put into studying, building my physical and mental endurance would no longer be towards my goal. Now, after leaving everything I knew, I have to start over. The increasing stress of finding a new school, funding and a career path have hit me like a truck. A choice no longer becomes a choice when someone is backed into a corner. I feel cheated out of my education, my goals and my aspirations. I thank God that I am still young and had nothing to pay back to the Army. I only pray that no one else has to go through what I went through, and that others do not have to endure the unethical, immoral implications and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.” Nickaylah Sampson
While this has been an incredibly ugly situation that has been handled terribly, we tell our story not to stain the name of West Point, but to raise awareness for the persecution our military is under because of our higher leadership.
We do not blame West Point and respect the sacrifices our soldiers have made to protect and defend this country but blame the Biden Administration for ignoring the pleas of thousands of soldiers, Dr. Fauci for shamelessly lying time and again to the public, General Lloyd Austin for his lack of leadership and integrity and the leaders who have the power to make change and stay silent.
We are but one voice, but will use the voice God has given us to fight for justice. Our military has sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, and in order to uphold this promise, we had to leave the organization that was keeping us from doing so.
“As this tyranny continued through the spring of 2021, I began to self-reflect. Did I want to give up the next 10 years of my life to an organization that so openly wanted to demolish my personal will? Could I in good faith serve people who blindly believed in identity politics and fake science? I was so uncomfortable with my situation and the politics unnecessarily injected that I decided to leave West Point.” Willow Brown, left spring 2021
“Even if my vaccine exemption request had been accepted, I left West Point because the Army is no longer an organization that I believe I can serve in. Unfortunately, serving my country and serving in the Army don’t seem to be so similar anymore.” Hannah MacDonald, left Oct. 2021
“I wanted to dedicate my life to protecting the freedoms of American citizens and defending the U.S. Constitution as an officer, but I was having my freedom to choose and my bodily autonomy taken away. The Army I thought I knew had completely betrayed my rights and their doctrine of “the citizen soldier.’” Nickaylah Sampson, left Oct. 2021