Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, investigated how different state National Guards are reacting to the Army’s June 30, 2022 deadline for all active-duty and reserve components to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
McCabe: The Star News Network has investigated how different states and National Guards have dealt with the COVID-19 mandate. A spokesman for the National Guard Bureau in Washington told The Star News Network that 86 percent of the Army National Guard is fully vaccinated and 88 percent partially vaccinated coming into the June 30 deadline.
In raw numbers, this means roughly 5,000 Army National Guardsmen are poised to miss the Pentagon’s deadline. The problem for the Biden administration is that while the Army Reserve is fully federal, the National Guard is a hybrid.
No governor took a stronger stand against forcing guardsmen to get the jab than Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt in October.
Stitt: This administration has no respect for individual freedoms. I can’t believe we have a president who wants to force Americans to choose between a vaccine and their job.
McCabe: In December, a federal judge denied Stitt’s request for a preliminary injunction and his lawsuit is still in the courts. In January, the governors of Texas and Alaska filed lawsuits asking the federal courts to exempt their guardsmen from the mandate.
They were followed by the governors of Mississippi, Wyoming, Iowa, and Nebraska, who sent letters to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin requesting the same exemption.
The Texas and Alaska lawsuits are still in the courts. Maybe the most dramatic step was taken by Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis announced on June 15 that he is reestablishing the Florida State Guard where Florida Guardsmen could serve regardless of their vaccine status.
DeSantis: The Florida State Guard will be comprised of Floridians and it will be designed to assist and help only Floridians. It will not be subject to being mobilized by the federal government and the federal government cannot impose policies or penalties on the Florida State Guard.
McCabe: In a statement to The Star News Network, the director of the National Guard, Lieutenant General Jon Jensen, said, “We’re not giving up on anyone until the separation paperwork is signed and completed. There’s still time.” Reporting for The Star News Network, Neil W. McCabe, Washington.