Army Scrambles to Reinstate Discharged Personnel

The United States Army has reportedly initiated efforts to reintegrate former soldiers who were discharged due to non-compliance with the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The revelation emerged through a letter shared online by several former service members, addressing the process of correcting military records for those previously discharged. This action would enable individuals previously marked with specific codes on their DD-214 forms, barring them from reentering service, to potentially return.

The letter advised former soldiers to rectify their records and directed those interested in rejoining the Army to contact local Army, US Army Reserve (USAR), or Army National Guard (ARNG) recruiters for further guidance. This development follows the rescinding of the vaccine mandate, which initially led to the expulsion of over 8,000 troops, alongside disruptions for numerous National Guard members and enlistment decisions influenced by the mandate.

Former military personnel affected by the mandate’s enforcement expressed varied sentiments regarding the recent Army correspondence. Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer 2, Sam Shoemate, known for his opposition to the mandate, shared the letter online, while former soldier Brad Miller, who resigned due to the mandate, called for compensation for those impacted by the policy.

Retired Army Maj. Chase Spears stated, “One might be curious why the Army is doing an about-face on this now, given that its top official clearly has a different perspective from the policy change she’s authorizing. Last month the Army missed its fiscal year 2022 recruiting goals by 10,000, the third consecutive year to have a significant shortfall. In fiscal year 2021, the Army missed its recruiting goal by 25 percent, even after lowering its initial goal for the year and reducing enlistment standards. If this trend holds, the force will have no choice but to cut units, and the heavy load already borne by those currently serving will increase accordingly. As top military officials continue to deny the impact of dragging the Army into progressive social policy advocacy, reality remains unmoved.”

The decision to reverse the mandate and offer pathways for former soldiers to return to service coincides with broader discussions about the military’s recruitment crisis. Recent reports indicate significant recruitment shortfalls in the Army, compelling a reconsideration of past dismissals and a potential reintegration of capable personnel.

Former Army Major Chase Spears highlighted the Army’s recruitment challenges and the coercive atmosphere created by the vaccine mandate in his analysis. He critiqued the discriminatory treatment faced by unvaccinated soldiers at various military bases and emphasized the need for accountability and apologies from senior officials for their actions during the mandate’s enforcement.