Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, interviewed Tennessee Army National Guard Captain Mickey Shelton, who has applied for a religious exemption from the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, about his perspective on the purge of unvaccinated military personnel.
McCabe: President Joe Biden promised to transform the U.S. military, and none of his actions have been more transformative than his involuntary separation of more than 1,000 unvaccinated servicemen and women.
Unvaccinated Tennessee Army National Guard Captain Mickey Shelton, speaking in his personal capacity, told The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network his perspective on the great Biden purge.
Shelton: My current vaccination status is that I have a pending religious exemption. So currently right now, I’m still able to drill until otherwise told or if that’s approved or disapproved. And how I came to that decision, it’s my personally held religious beliefs.
McCabe: The captain, who deployed to Kuwait in 2019, said his conscience kicked in when he learned that the COVID-19 vaccines were developed with tissue cells harvested from aborted children.
Shelton: After I found out that they were derived from fetal cells, I said, well, this goes against my beliefs and so I had to submit my exemption.
McCabe: Shelton said while he and other guardsmen are awaiting an exemption decision, they continue to serve. But many were told not to even bother submitting their request.
Meanwhile, there are roughly 500 straight refusals awaiting involuntary separation and another more than 400 unvaccinated recruits stuck in limbo, he said.
Shelton: Here in Tennessee, 400-plus members in the recruit sustainment program that may be waiting to go to basic, or that could be at basic right now, waiting for a unit to get back home. These individuals are unvaxxed and they will not get vaccinated.
McCabe: Biden’s purge of unvaccinated Army Reserve and Army National Guardsmen is set to top 60,000 soldiers, more than the men killed in Vietnam. Shelton said he knows that for him, his speaking out means his military career is over.
Shelton: I know I’m blackballed already. I was told I’d never get [the rank of] major here in the state now. So you know what, it’s okay. I knew that before doing this. So I think this is the biggest way I can help my soldiers at this point. And if it’s not meant to be, then I’ll hold my head high and walk out.
McCabe: Reporting for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network, Neil W McCabe, Washington.