Six active duty Marines are speaking out against the Biden administration’s coronavirus vaccine mandate in a video that was aired during an anti-vaccine-mandate rally in Los Angeles on Sunday.
The video marks one of the most public displays by active duty service members of opposition to the mandate, which was ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last August.
In the video, the six pilots — including the first female Marine F-35C pilot — speak about the effect their opposition to the mandate has had on their lives. They all face discharge from the military, the loss of benefits, or have faced some punitive measures.
Marine Lt. Col. Scott Duncan, a former Top Gun instructor and F-35 pilot, begins the video saying he was competitively selected to command an F-35 squadron, but that was rescinded due to his opposition to the vaccine mandate.
“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 said.
Marine Capt. Joshua Hoppe, an MV-22 Osprey pilot with just over nine years of service, said that if the mandate is not rescinded, “I will likely be removed from service, charged with misconduct, and the educational benefits that I’ve transferred to my children will be removed.”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,” Hoppe said.
Marine Capt. Nick Morrison, active duty Marine F-35 pilot with just under six years of service, said he is facing discharge after his religious accommodation request was denied.