(by Niamh Harris | NewsPunch) – The discharge of 103 soldiers was confirmed in a statement to the Marine Corps Times on Thursday.
The news comes on the same day that the Army announced it had relieved six leaders, including two commanding officers, over the issue, and that almost 4,000 active-duty soldiers had refused the vaccine.
RT reports: Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger told the magazine that 1,007 vaccine exemptions for medical and administrative reasons were granted, while 2,836 requests for religious exemptions have been rejected so far. It is widely expected that the force, which has yet to grant a single soldier an exemption on religious grounds over Covid-19 vaccination, would turn down nearly 300 remaining applications.
Although the Marine Corps was revealed last month to be the least vaccinated US military branch, the overwhelming majority of its personnel – about 95% – have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Active-duty personnel had been given until November 28 to either get vaccinated against the virus or apply for an exemption.
The news on the mass dismissal of Marines comes shortly after 27 US Air Force service members – who were described as “younger, lower-ranking personnel”– were revealed to have been discharged this week for refusing to get vaccinated.
The terminated Air Force personnel did not seek any exemptions and were officially sanctioned for disobeying orders.
The US Navy is expected to follow suit in the near future. As of last week, 5,731 US Navy personnel remained unvaccinated despite a mandate requiring all active-duty sailors to get the shot by the November 28 deadline.