After the debacle in Afghanistan, the Pentagon is doubling down on its efforts to thin troop levels even further. With the recent move to mandate vaccinations, more and more troops of all levels are at odds with this decision. Two of the biggest areas for concern are already thin in the numbers, Navy SEALs and Coast Guard rescue swimmers. Now that’s not to say other lines of duty aren’t at risk too, but these parts of our National security are some of the most highly trained forces.
With years of training and millions of dollars invested, replacing a Navy SEAL is impossible. Team dynamics, training, timing, and communication are crucial amongst these team members. If they aren’t on the same page and equipped with the same levels of training in their specialties, they put the entire operation at risk. This means new team members and, especially new SEALs, need time to get up to the task with the man to their right and their left. For older SEALs, this isn’t necessarily an issue. Their advanced rank, previous training, and physical fitness make it rather easy to get in there and know what they are doing. However, communication is one of the most crucial areas, and that takes time to develop.
In the case of the rescue swimmers for the Coast Guard, these brave men and women need years of training to be proficient enough to make these rescues and to have the training to know when a save is good or not…and to know when life is too far gone to risk others…and to know when to stay and when to go. These situations must be learned in a hands-on manner. No video or simulation can prepare you for the real thing. Losing more and more people to these mandates threatens to put our waters at extreme risk.
Now, numbers have been struggling for years. From the lower number of eligible troops to the even slimmer numbers cut out for this kind of service, these groups have been facing challenges in keeping proper unit strength. Further complicating this is the new social experiments of allowing transgender troops, the inclusion of women in special operations, the changes in the last 10 years especially have been disastrous for recruitment and retention. The inclusion of the vaccine to these ‘bright ideas’ only makes more people anxious to leave the service; in any way necessary.
Thankfully, people like David Younts are out there ready to represent them in their bid to stay in service, but even these elite service members are at risk. “My clients, the guys I’m representing, and the SEALs I’ve spoken to, are what we’re calling ‘hard no’s’… that means you’re going to submit a religious accommodation request, you’re going to submit a medical exemption based on where you’re at… and then if it’s not approved, they’re not going to take the vaccine.” The fact that the Government is ready to toss away years of dedication to service, years of training, and millions of dollars is disturbing.
Even worse is what could happen anyways to those given exemptions. Younts continues “The uncertainty for all my clients is what comes next. Even if the accommodation is granted, they’re being told they will be denied deployability status, so it’ll go from green, in military terms on their medical, to red, and they will not be deployable, for a Navy SEAL, for a fighter pilot, that means essentially you’re done.” To finish these careers over a vaccine that was originally optional is disturbing, and simply wrong. Where do we draw the line, and just let these well-trained people decide what is best for their medical care and future?