House GOP calls on Marine Corps to fill critical roles with Marines cut due to vax mandate: ‘an utter shame’
FIRST ON FOX: Several House Republicans are calling on the Marine Corps to reach out to marines cut from service due to the military vaccine mandate in order to fill critical roles.
Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., whose district houses Camp Lejeune, led a letter with several of his GOP colleagues to Marine Corps Commandant David Berger requesting the branch reach out to marines released from service due to not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for key jobs.
“I represent over 52,000 Marines and their families who sacrifice so much by their dedicated service to our beloved country,” Murphy said in a press release exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital.
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“It is an utter shame that many of these selfless individuals have been stripped of their livelihoods simply because they made a conscious medical decision,” Murphy continued. “Our military cannot function as the strongest force in the world with such baseless and unscientific policies.”
“That’s why I led this letter to the Marine Commandant to restore our service members’ livelihoods and ensure our military’s premier standing,” he added.
House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman Mike Bost, R-Ill., said the marines who were discharged from service due to the vaccine mandate should be reinstated to the service.
“Congress ended the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine mandate when we passed the National Defense Authorization Act last year,” Bost said. “As the Marine Corps faces a recruitment crisis, it only makes sense to reinstate those who were discharged simply because of an outdated mandate.”
“They’ve proven they are ready, willing, and able to serve our nation,” he continued.
Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, who served six years in the Marine Corps Reserve, told Fox News Digital the nation has “trained Marines who could fill critical jobs today, but they were discharged simply for refusing a vaccine.”
“That is wrong,” Miller said. “The United States would be well-served by bringing these soldiers back into active duty.”
In the letter to Berger, the lawmakers expressed their “serious concerns over the unprecedented recruitment challenges your service and the entire Department of Defense is experiencing.”
The lawmakers wrote that the Marine Corps vaccine mandate dismissals added “to this problem” and that, last year, acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell “wrote in a memo last year to the secretary of defense on the COVID-19 exemption process that many of the service members were not even given their due consideration.”
“As you know, the Marine Corps was the most aggressive service in discharging service members as a result the Marine Corps had to change its recruiting goal for Fiscal Year 2022,” the letter continues.
“Fortunately, under the leadership of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Congress, in a bipartisan fashion, repealed the vaccine mandate,” the lawmakers wrote. “While I thoroughly understand the need for mission readiness, in the low-risk age population of our healthy Marines, as well as the ready availability of therapies, this mandate has an essence caused more harm than good.”
The lawmakers said they had a “simple” request: the Marine Corps “recruiters explore reaching out to the thousands of Marines who were expelled to investigate as to who could fill positions where their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) expertise is of critical need.”
“We would ask special consideration for those Marines who received re-enlistment bonuses due to a need for their MOS expertise,” the Republicans wrote.
Murphy and his colleagues pointed out to Berger that “the Marine Corps is now in the process of attempting to recoup these bonuses, so these dismissed Marines face double jeopardy.”
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“General Berger, we greatly respect your past extraordinary service in our Corps and implore you to carefully consider this recommendation,” the lawmakers wrote.
Joining Murphy, Bost, and Miller on the letter is Virginia Republican Rep. Jen Kiggans, a former Navy pilot.
Maj. Josh Larson, spokesperson for Berger, told Fox News Digital, “As with all congressional correspondence, Gen. Berger will respond to any inquiry from Rep. Murphy or any other elected official promptly and directly.”