Grounded Marine pilots stare down penalties, discharge over mandate: I will not abandon my Constitutional oath

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(Video Credit: pancake7)

In a video that was played during an anti-vaccine-mandate rally in Los Angeles on Sunday, six brave active-duty Marine pilots came forward in a public display to take a principled stand against the Biden administration’s COVID vaccine mandate.

The mandate was ordered into effect by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last August.

Six pilots, including the first female Marine F-35C pilot, all speak about the impact on their lives in the video since they have stood against and opposed the vaccine mandate. All of them are facing a military discharge, loss of benefits, and other forms of punishment for not obeying the directive.

Marine Lt. Col. Scott Duncan, who is a former Top Gun instructor and F-35 pilot, is first up in the video. He stated that he was competitively selected to command an F-35 squadron, but the honor was revoked because he refused the vaccine.

“I was competitively selected to command an F-35 squadron. That achievement took 18 years and seven months and was recently taken away because my religious accommodation and appeal both came back denied,” he recounted.

Marine Capt. Nick Morrison, who is an active duty Marine F-35 pilot with approximately six years of service, is staring down the barrel of a discharge because his religious accommodation request was denied.

“Absent intervention from our judicial branch or our senior military leadership, I face involuntary separation from our beloved corps after my religious accommodation request was wrongfully denied. These injustices being carried against an officer are likely occurring at even greater scale to our junior Marines. When we took the voluntary oath of service, we did not surrender our constitutional right to exercise religious freedom,” he contended.

Marine Capt. Joshua Hoppe, who is an MV-22 Osprey pilot with over nine years of service, asserted that if the mandate is not retracted, “I will likely be removed from service, charged with misconduct, and the educational benefits that I’ve transferred to my children will be removed.”

“This mandate infringes on our religious freedoms and is being unlawfully enforced. I have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I will not abandon that oath,” he courageously declared.

Marine Capt. Catherine Stark, who is the Marine Corps’ first female F-35C Lightning II pilot, turned to her faith over the issue, “This past year, the policies in place have led to me being personally targeted and discriminated against. I pray to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that the military can reverse the mandate and respect my religious and moral beliefs as well as my legitimate health concerns.”

Marine Lt. Col. Hank Hortenstine, who served as an instructor pilot for multiple helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft with three combat deployments, has been grounded for refusing the jab.

“Now I’ve been grounded and I’m being processed for punitive discharge because of my religious and conscientious objection to the shot mandate,” he stated. “These stories you’ve heard today are ours. However, it bears repeating that we stand today for tens of thousands of service members in similar circumstances or even worse. Over 1,000 have already been punitively discharged under similar grounds. We stand today for truth, religious liberty, and in fulfillment of the oath that we took to support and defend the Constitution.”

Marine Lt. Col. Jonathan Reed, who is another Top Gun graduate and an F-18 pilot who has served for over 18 years and has been deployed 5 times, claims he has been removed from senior positions within his units while awaiting a determination on the appeal of his religious accommodation denial.

“Resulting from our quest for religious accommodation from COVID vaccines, I’ve been removed from senior positions within my units and I am awaiting final adjudication of my religious accommodation appeal,” he remarked. “Like thousands of other military service members, I face likely administrative separation from service. I stand here with you, and with thousands of other service members, at great risk in the aggressive defense of our Constitution and of our religious beliefs.”

Over 1,500 Marines have now been discharged because they objected to the vaccine mandate. They are not alone as approximately 800 sailors, 100 soldiers, and 250 airmen have also been booted over it. Thousands more are expected to join their ranks.


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