U.S. Military Whistleblowers Challenge Legality of Vaccine Mandate in Court


Former U.S. Marine Corps Captain and lawyer, Dale Saran (RET.), legal representation for active-duty U.S. military servicemembers who filed a class action lawsuit on May 23rd against U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Janet Woodcock, and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Xavier Becerra. The lawsuit accuses the military’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate, spoke out on behalf of the 80,000 unvaccinated servicemembers in a live-streamed military whistleblower press conference on October 18th.

Saran, who is also part of the class action lawsuit against the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate, noted the similarities between the cases and the legal fight against the Pentagon’s mandatory anthrax vaccination program nearly 20 years ago.

U.S. Navy Commander Oliva Degenkolb, an active duty military servicemember, also spoke at the conference.

The Navy Commander stated that because “these [Emergency Use Authorization] products are not formally licensed by the FDA and by federal law, they cannot be mandated,” but that the Navy ignored this.

As a result of the rejection of religious accommodation exemption, Degenkolb lost a work assignment in China, and was also denied leave, training opportunities, and access to her family’s possessions.

Despite the fact her appeal is still pending, in August 2022, Degenkolb received a recommendation she be permanently terminated from the U.S. Navy.

“On top of that, I received a career-ending performance evaluation in August 2022 and have been recommended for a show cause board to terminate my service with the Navy,” Degenkolb stated.

The 20-year Navy veteran pointed out that vaccine companies admit its product has not been thoroughly tested in the package insert for “COMIRNATY,” an mRNA vaccine manufactured by BioNTech and Pfizer.

“COMIRNATY has not been evaluated for the potential to cause carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, or impairment of male fertility. In a developmental toxicity study in rats with COMIRNATY there were no vaccine-related effects on female fertility,” the label reads.

“Demand for a robust military force is increasing worldwide due to countries such as Russia and China, which are engaging in increasingly aggressive activities,” Degenkolb said. “Mandating EUA products is not only dangerous and illegal, but it also undermines national security.”

U.S. Army Captain Grant Smith spoke at the conference as well. “This vaccine is unsafe and ineffective for active-duty service members,” Smith said.

Smith added that vaccine concerns have “fallen on deaf ears” and that the vaccine mandate has “been a disaster for readiness.”

Air Force First Lieutenant John Bowes, an F-16 student pilot, was also present at the conference.

“We were [at the conference] to advocate for the 80,000 service members who aren’t being heard,” Bowes said. “We’re making a call for help to both Congress and the American people to stand up for us and give us some protection from the Department of Defense so that we can continue to serve–which is all we want to do.”

A survey of unvaccinated 357 pilots across all U.S. military service branches found that the U.S. stands to lose $7.8 billion dollars in American taxpayer funds and an average of 14 years of service if all surveyed pilots are discharged for vaccine mandate refusal.

Lt. Bowes revealed that most of the officers involved in the lawsuit are higher-ranking members, like majors and lieutenant colonels.

“These are experienced aviators and that’s just not in the flying community. Most of the people fighting these mandates and standing up to this mandate are not lower level junior officers like myself. That’s actually fairly uncommon,” Lt. Bowes said.

“The most common thing you see is O-4’s O-5’s: experienced pilots, experienced soldiers, experienced special forces operators. These are the people that we are standing to lose. 14 years of service on average. That is a lot of experience that we can’t just go on the street and recruit from high schools. It’s not going to happen,” Lit. Bowes added.

Both Bowes and Saran consider the COVID-19 vaccine mandate to be almost identical to that of the anthrax vaccine mandate enforced by the Pentagon some 20 years ago.

“[It is] almost a carbon copy of what happened with anthrax nearly two decades ago,” Lt. Bowes said. “Anthrax ended up being ruled as a vaccine that couldn’t be forced on service members because it was experimental.”

“It’s shocking to see this exact same thing happen 20 years later,” Lt. Bowes added.

“[The servicemembers at the press conference] will continue to respectfully bring up the devastating consequences [of the vaccine mandate] to both national security and the health and safety of our force at every opportunity they are given,” Lt. Bowes said.

The Air Force officer emphasized that his views do not reflect those of the Air Force or the DoD.

The Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Air Force (USAF), U.S. Navy (USN), and U.S. Army have not made a comment on the press conference.


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