COVID-19 vaccines and the military

Brad Jennings
Posted 2/11/22

I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was more than 40 years ago

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COVID-19 vaccines and the military


I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was more than 40 years ago.

I was lined up with a bunch of other young guys with our heads freshly shaved. Our uniforms still smelled new and weird to me. I was getting used to wearing boots.

Actually, I was getting used to everything around me at Air Force basic training in San Antonio, Texas.

I had gotten to know a few of the guys around me and was becoming friends with a dude from California and a nice kid from North Carolina. There was a wildman from Idaho who I liked as well.

But here we were under the hot Texas sun standing in twos. My arm was linked with another guy – I don’t remember who – as our drill instructor spoke in a very loud voice to us (yell? Maybe).

“Just keep walking when they tell you to walk!” he said. “I don’t want any of you babies passing out after this either! Grab some water and sit in the shade for a minute. This isn’t the Navy, so no crying!”

OK, maybe those weren’t his exact words, but you get the idea.

So, we walked forward and slowed down just long enough to get our shots from the shot gun. These things were like high-powered sprayers that forced the vaccines into our arms. We got a lot of them – there were multiple people on each side loading us up. We linked arms to keep the other person from falling if he got weak from all the shots.

When we got to the end, our arms were sore and bleeding – mine not too much – and we grabbed some water and sat in the shade. I felt fine, but quite a few of the guys passed out. I will admit, I found it pretty amusing and was glad I didn’t do it.

What was just put into my body? I didn’t know, I was in the military. I was a government asset. My job was not to ask questions, as I was reminded about 2,677 times a day. My job was to do as I was told without question and without hesitation.

As long as it was a lawful order, of course. But we all know that is a very gray area.

That is the system in the military, and it has worked pretty well. When your superior tells you to do something, you don’t play 20 Questions. You simply do the job you were trained to do.

I bring this up because I am reading that the U.S. Army is starting to kick out members who are refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Some people are upset about this, but they shouldn’t be. When you join the military, you sign a contract to do a job and to follow orders. If you can’t follow orders, you don’t belong in the military. It is really that simple.

I have talked with my brother, a retired Army Colonel about this a few times. He is a very conservative man, but he thinks the Army should kick these guys out if they refuse to get vaccines they are ordered to get. He knows if soldiers start questioning everything, the entire system will collapse.

Vaccines are about readiness. Members of the military live in close quarters and can be deployed all over the world, so a variety of vaccine are necessary. That currently includes a COVID vaccine.

Now I don’t not want the government telling civilians that don’t work for them that they must get a vaccine. Yes, I think everyone should for the sake of the country as a whole get vaccinated, but I don’t think the government should force it on anyone.

But your private employer, when considering overall worker safety, should be able to make this or any vaccine mandatory. They must consider productivity.

And there can also be consequences for not getting the COVID vaccine or any vaccine. That could include higher health insurance premiums, not being allowed on certain transportation like flights, or not being allowed into sporting events or concerts.

I encourage people to do what they think it right for them, but to just consider the consequences to themselves and society.

But if you want to join the military, know that you will get this vaccine and many, many others, or you will get kicked out. That is a fact of life when you are a Soldier, Airman, Seaman or Marine.