A former Coast Guard service member who was last year discharged for objecting to the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate said he was forced to pay back a reenlistment bonus, which another former officer described as “an attempt to humiliate” members who opposed the vaccine mandate.
Phil Southwell had served the country for almost 13 years before being discharged in August for objecting to the military vaccine mandate once embraced by the Department of Defense (D0D) and adopted by the Coast Guard. On Dec. 23, President Joe Biden signed the Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law, which prescribed the rescission of the mandate.
But that measure was “too little, too late” for Southwell, he said, because he was separated on Aug. 12. Within days of losing his job as an operations specialist, Southwell received a memo, stating that he had to pay back an $18,000 reenlistment bonus from 2019. At the time, he had signed up for an additional four-year reenlistment, but due to the military’s actions against those who refused to take the vaccine, he was unable to finish a term of service that would have ended in 2023.
Read more: Former Coast Guardsman discharged for Refusing Fake Vaccine Says He Was Forced to Pay Back Reenlistment Bonus