Like other branches of the nation’s military, the U.S. Coast Guard is facing recruiting challenges. In spite of this, the branch is letting go of experienced service members without due process over the vaccine mandate, holding little regard for sincerely held religious beliefs, according to an attorney and a retired Coast Guard officer.
The Coast Guard is attempting to separate members from service who refuse the vaccine under the process known as “convenience of the Government,” which does not require review by a military panel, said former Aviation Survival Technician Chief Petty Officer David Kroll, who decided to retire in April 2021 after more than 20 years as a helicopter rescue swimmer over his religious objection to the vaccine.
According to the Coast Guard instruction M1000.4 (pdf), “members separated for the convenience of the Government are not entitled to an administrative discharge board” unless otherwise indicated.
Air Force Reserve Judge Advocate General and civilian attorney, Lt. Col. R. Davis Younts, who represents multiple military clients in a private capacity as a civilian attorney, told The Epoch Times that Kroll is “absolutely correct.”
The attorney explained that “service members of other branches [of the military] are granted an administrative separation board, if they have six years of service.” Cases are presented to three senior officers with an attorney present, he said.
“However, the Coast Guard is using the provision of the Coast Guard instructions that allows them to circumvent that process and kick people out without a board even if they have 18 or 19 years in,” Younts said.
“Unless a federal court intervenes with an injunction, the Coast Guard is the worst offender as far as what’s happening to their members,” the attorney added, referring to preliminary injunctions issued by federal judges directing the Air Force, Marines, and Navy to cease taking any actions against service members who have filed religious accommodation requests to the vaccine mandate.
By J.M. Phelps