by WorldTribune Staff, March 9, 2022
The U.S. Navy is refusing to deploy a guided-missile destroyer because its commander is unvaccinated.
The unnamed commander is seeking a religious exemption to the Pentagon’s Covid vax mandate.
“With respect to Navy Commander, the Navy has lost confidence in his ability to lead and will not deploy the warship with him in command,” the Navy said in a court filing, according to a report by Stars & Stripes.
Adm. Daryl Caudle filed a statement on Feb. 28 saying that the Navy “cannot have a Sailor who disobeys a lawful order to receive a vaccine because they harbor a personal objection any more than we can have a Sailor who disobeys the technical manual for operating a nuclear reactor because he or she believes they know better.”
The destroyer, which is docked in Norfolk, Virginia, is “out of commission” after a Florida federal judge ruled that the Navy and Marine Corps cannot remove its officer for being unvaccinated against Covid.
U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday, a George H. W. Bush nominee, ruled on Feb. 2 to bar Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and all other military officials from taking punitive action against the commander.
Merryday wrote that the Navy’s rejection failed to note that the branch has separately granted hundreds of medical exemptions to the Covid vaccine mandate
On Feb. 28, the Navy asked Merryday for an emergency stay on the preliminary injunction, arguing that the judge’s ruling prevents it “from removing an officer from … commanding officer billets who the military has deemed unfit for command.”
“The order is an extraordinary intrusion upon the inner workings of the military that presents a direct and imminent threat to national security during a global military crisis, and it indefinitely sidelines a Navy warship,” the Navy said, according to court papers.
Merryday on March 3 denied the Pentagon’s request to halt the injunction, and accused the defense of attempting “to evoke the frightening prospect of a dire national emergency resulting from allegedly reckless and unlawful overreaching by the district judge.”