Rep. Fallon urges military leaders to revoke COVID-era policy
(KTEN) — Texas Rep. Pat Fallon (R-District 4) and nine other House Republicans have sent follow-up letters to the Army, Navy and Air Force regarding a COVID-era policy.
More than 8,000 service personnel were discharged in November 2021 because they refused to get vaccinated against the virus. As they were shown the door, service members were also forced to repay their signing bonuses.
“A typical reenlistment bonus could be between $20 and $40,000... sometimes less, sometimes more," Fallon said. "When you extrapolate that over almost 10,000 people, you’re talking some real money.”
The U.S. military has since rescinded that policy, but former military personnel still face the consequences. Fallon said that's a loss the armed forces can’t afford.
“Ultimately, 8,453 service members were separated at a time where we are not meeting our recruitment goals,” he said. “So it was cutting off a nose to spite a face.”
The new wave of letters were sent out last week, but the first round went to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin roughly a year ago.
“The Army, Navy and Air Force have the authority on a case-by-case basis to end this practice,” Fallon said.
According to a spokesperson for Secretary Austin, these former military members could re-join, but they would have to follow the same process as someone enlisting for the first time.
“To have a policy where you forced out — again, nearly 10,000 people that were well-trained, that we had invested probably close to $1 billion in — if you factor in all the training and the years of service, it doesn't make any sense,” Fallon said. “It was an insane policy to begin with.”
The congressman said he hopes this new wave of letters will convince someone in charge to reinstate those who refused to get the COVID vaccine.