The Pentagon has warned the US National Guard in Oklahoma that the covid jab is mandatory and that soldiers will face disciplinary action if they refuse to get the shot.
The warning comes after the National Guard general told soldiers that they could ignore the vaccine mandate.
RT reports: Brigadier General Thomas Mancino – the 45th Infantry Brigade Commander of Oklahoma’s National Guard – told his soldiers last week that “no negative administrative or legal action” would be taken if they refused Covid-19 vaccination, despite President Joe Biden’s controversial military vaccine mandate.
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However, the Pentagon shot back on Monday, warning that National Guard members would be punished if they remain unvaccinated.
“It is a lawful order for National Guardsmen to receive the COVID vaccine. It is a lawful order,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby warned. “Refusing to do that, absent an approved exemption, puts them in the same potential as active-duty members who refuse the vaccine.”
Kirby noted that even state National Guard members were beholden to the secretary of defense’s orders and that the Oklahoma National Guard would therefore have to conform like any other US military body.
“The Secretary of Defense has the authority to require these vaccines for all members of the force, including the National Guard, as I said, even in a Title 32 status,” Kirby said, arguing that even when the National Guard members are under the command of state governors, they must abide by the Pentagon’s vaccination mandate, since the force is federally-funded.
Claiming that vaccinated members were a more ready force, Kirby added that the National Guard meets “key national security needs, so it’s important for them to get these vaccines.”