Adjutant Gen. Thomas Mancino announced to the Oklahoma Air National Guard that unvaccinated airman may not participate in drills after Jan. 1 after the state’s loss in court.
Members must be vaccinated or they cannot participate in the National Guard as U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot denied Oklahoma’s request for a preliminary injunction.
“The Department of Defense (DoD) has indicated it will recoup any pay provided to unvaccinated airmen who drill after Jan. 1, 2022,” said Mancino in a statement. “The Department of Defense controls the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) and can enforce this threat outside of the State of Oklahoma’s control … With no possibility of injunctive relief before Jan. 1, 2022, I have decided to not allow unvaccinated Oklahoma Air National Guard Drill Status Guardsmen, without a medical exemption or religious accommodation request, to participate in any future drill period, except for any airmen wishing to be vaccinated.”
The ruling applies to the Oklahoma Air National Guard, as the deadline for Army National Guard soldiers to be vaccinated is this summer, American Military News reported.
Republican governor J. Kevin Stitt said he did what was allowed under the law to protect the freedoms of Oklahoma Guardsmen. “President (Joe) Biden’s decision to mandate COVID vaccines will weaken our operational readiness by driving good men and women out of the Guard by violating their personal and religious freedoms.”
Oklahoma National Guard officials said 250 servicemen and women out of the 2,280-member Air National Guard — remained unvaccinated. The official also said about 60 percent of the 6,500-member Oklahoma Army National Guard remained unvaccinated ahead of the June 2022 deadline.
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