US military members who were fired over vaccine refusal have to pay back ... trends now
US Army service members are entitled to bonuses of up to $7,000 if they sign up for six years. But speaking to Fox News, an anonymous soldier who was fired in May 2022 after refusing to get the jab, claimed he was told he must repay $4,000 because he had not served six years.
The soldier said he had to 'sell' unused vacation days in order to pay the fee and described the move as the 'final kick in the face'.
Around 3,717 Marines, 1,816 soldiers and 2,064 sailors have been discharged for refusing to get vaccinated, according to Defense Department data cited by Reuters.
The Pentagon officially ended its Covid-19 vaccine mandate earlier this month as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Military members who were fired over their refusal to get the Covid vaccine are being forced to pay back their recruitment bonuses
Despite the vaccine mandate for the military ending, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has encouraged service members to still get vaccinated against Covid-19
The policy, which was first imposed by the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin around 17 months ago, was perennially criticized by Republicans, while Biden officials blamed concerns on vaccine misinformation.
The anonymous soldier told Fox: 'I've deployed multiple times, and I feel like the last thing I had was selling leave days that I earned and was never able to take due to me being deployed or needing that time to prepare for the training cycle'.
He continued: 'I was about to enter a new world with no income, and that extra bit would have been a nice buffer in my rainy day fund to keep me afloat until I was able to find new employment'.
Another anonymous soldier said the Department of Defense under Biden has continually fallen short with its treatment of rank-and-file troops. That soldier said forcing repayment of bonuses was the 'icing on the cake.'
That soldier added that the 'appalling treatment' has broken the trust between military service members and government officials.
He said that if efforts to reestablish trust are not made, it will be hard to recruit new members and keep soldiers in the service.
He went on: 'The individuals who make public statements that they are unsure what has contributed to the current recruiting and retention shortfalls need to take a look in the mirror; and perhaps they should resign for the betterment of our Nation.'