Days ago it was first revealed that despite the Department of Defense offering a "religious exemption" as part of the Covid-19 vaccine mandate across all military branches, not a single one has yet to be approved - at a time at least 169 Marines were already discharged for their refusal to receive the shot.
A new investigative report by Fox News finds that multiple "thousands" of Marines are still set to be processed out over the mandate, and that the corps' "best and brightest" are being "crushed" by the Biden vaccine order. "Marines are allowed to apply for a religious exemption, but so far not a single application regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, or any vaccine for that matter, has been approved, a Marine Corps spokesman told Fox News."
For this reason the mandate is being likened to a "political purge" - which has seen a "blanket denial" of all formal requests for religious exemptions. In recent days official Marine Corps statements have underscored no exemptions are being given out, yet supposedly these are being considered on a case by case basis.
As of late last week, the Marine Corps confirmed that not a single religious exemption request has yet to be approved. It was further confirmed that at least a few thousand could be discharged based on the exemption denial:
Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Ryan Bruce told Fox News that as of Thursday, 3,080 of the 3,192 requests for religious accommodation concerning the COVID-19 vaccine mandate had been processed and zero had been approved, adding that "no religious accommodations have been approved for any other vaccine in the past seven years."
So assuming these Marines will still refuse the jab, thousands are set to be booted from the Marine Corps. In its reporting, Fox extensively quotes Marine officers, whose names are withheld. The Daily Wire, citing the most recently available public data from last week, estimated that some 9,000 could still be set for early discharge from the service:
As of Thursday, 94% of active-duty troops were fully vaccinated and another 1% were partially vaccinated, according to data from the U.S. Marine Corps.
That leaves the remaining 5% of an active-duty Marine force of about 182,500, which amounts to about 9,125 active-duty Marines who are still unvaccinated.
"There’s something fundamentally wrong at this point with our nation’s leadership," a major with over 17 years of active service was cited as saying. "We are facing an unconstitutional edict that I think is very targeted as a political purge, taking out some of the best and brightest soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians from the Space Force."
Further, a lieutenant colonel who has served for almost two decades said the Marines are discharging service members "as fast as they can and as brutally as they can, damaging every Marine as much as they can on the way out."
Further, Fox's Jessica Chasmar, who interviewed several of the officers, said:
"The one message I got from the colonel above me was: ‘Tread very carefully, this is political, you will be crushed like an ant.’ And he told me that because he cares about me," the lieutenant colonel said. "Do I want to continue serving in an institution that crushes people for bringing up reasonable points in defending their faith?"
One master sergeant said it seems that "the louder I speak the tighter the screws are turned against me."
Additionally one Marine who ranks high on the enlisted side said, "When you’re expected to behave a certain way and to obey certain rules and follow certain processes, and then to see on the other end that that’s not a two-way street, that’s a violation of my morals that I can’t stand by and not speak out about."
The same Marine, identified as a Master Sergeant, described one particular instance of an individual Marine's exhaustively documented and very convincing case for a religious exemption: "I saw one package from a sergeant who had attached, like, 30 pages of material to substantiate why his belief was sincere, under no lawful obligation to do so," the master sergeant said. "And then to have this as a response with no individual inquiry and just a generalized assertion of governmental interest is insulting."
"On the religious side, this is absolutely a travesty what’s happening," a separate officer described. "People are getting blanket denials, they’re not addressing the individual concerns or beliefs of Marines who are submitting for religious accommodations, and I think that’s just horribly wrong. I honestly believe that they’re not really reading the packages."
Those interviewed also depicted an ongoing culture of intimidation which appears intended to silence any potential opposition to the mandate, further with no recourse whatsoever. Instead the Marines feel steamrolled into compliance. What's more is that unlike many parts of Europe, prior infection and natural immunity is being completely ignored.