This is breaking news from Oklahoma’s National Guard.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino was appointed this week by Gov. Kevin Stitt, REFUSED to get the vaccine, despite the Biden admin’s vaccine mandates.
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We read history and know that the Founding Fathers were heroes! But we couldn’t understand what that must have felt like to live through it.
Well, now, the history is repeating. We all want to be heroes, but only a few of us have to potential to really be.
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— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) November 13, 2021
This is the hero:
🚨 BREAKING: General Mancino has revoked the Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate for Oklahoma National Guard soldiers.
Salute this hero! 👏🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/jFzm5JqYxi
— JJ THE PATRIOT 🇺🇸 (@jjthepatriot) November 13, 2021
The Oklahoma National Guard has rejected the Defense Department’s requirement for all service members to receive the coronavirus vaccine and will allow personnel to sidestep the policy with no repercussions, an order from the governor that could serve as a blueprint for other Republican-led states that have challenged Biden administration mandates.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, appointed this week by Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) as adjutant of the state’s 10,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen, on Thursday notified those under his command that they are not required to receive the vaccine and won’t be punished if they decline it.
It’s an extraordinary refusal of Pentagon policy by the general and follows Stitt’s written request to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin seeking suspension of the requirement for Guard personnel in the state.
“We will respond appropriately,” John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, said of Stitt’s letter. “That said, Secretary Austin believes that a vaccinated force is a more ready force. That is why he has ordered mandatory vaccines for the total force, and that includes our National Guard, who contribute significantly to national missions at home and abroad.”
The governor installed Mancino after having removed the state’s prior adjutant, Maj. Gen. Michael C. Thompson, who has advocated for his troops to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and last month publicized having received a booster shot. Carly Atchison, a spokesperson for Stitt, said Thompson’s departure was unrelated to his stance on vaccine policy and that the governor had explored a change over the last few months.
The new vaccine policy, distributed the day after Thompson was relieved of his leadership post, was directed by the governor, Atchison said.
Thompson did not respond to messages seeking comment. He told the New York Times that he believed his ouster was politically motivated. “There’s not another reason for it,” the general said.
Oklahoma National Guard defies Pentagon, won’t impose COVID-19 vaccine mandate | Just The News https://t.co/Z6BiA0nLxw
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) November 13, 2021
Just The News also covered this story:
“No Oklahoma Guardsman will be required to take the COVID-19 Vaccine,” Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino wrote in a Thursday memo. The memo was at odds with a Defense Department directive that the “total force” – including the National Guard – must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Mancino noted in the memo that Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is the organization’s “lawful Commander in Chief” when not under federal orders, implying that Stitt – not Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin – has the final call on any vaccine mandate.
Mancino wrote in the memo that “no negative administrative or legal action will be taken” against guard members who do not get the vaccine.
Mancino was appointed on Wednesday as adjutant general of the Oklahoma National Guard, replacing former Adjutant General Michael Thompson.
Governor Kevin Stitt earlier this month asked Austin to suspend the vaccine mandate for members of the Oklahoma National Guard.
“It is irresponsible for the federal government to place mandatory vaccine obligations on Oklahoma national guardsmen which could potentially limit the number of individuals that I can call upon to assist the state during an emergency,” Stitt wrote in a Nov. 1 letter to Austin.
“This mandate violates the personal freedoms of many Oklahomans, as it asks them to potentially sacrifice their personal beliefs in order to not lose their jobs,” Stitt wrote. “All of our national guardsmen take this calling very seriously. These are patriotic citizens who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect others in our communities during times of greatest need.”
Austin has not directly responded to Mancino, according to an official with the Oklahoma National Guard.
— The Hill (@thehill) November 2, 2021
The Hill has to tell you this:
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is asking Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to suspend the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the Oklahoma National Guard.
In a letter to Austin, Stitt said Tuesday that the mandate “violates the personal freedoms of many Oklahomans, as it asks them to potentially sacrifice their personal beliefs in order to not lose their jobs.”
“These are patriotic citizens who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect others in our communities during times of greatest need,” Stitt said.
Austin ordered all service members to “immediately” get vaccinated against COVID-19 in late August after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine.
About 97 percent of the total force has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Monday.
Deadlines for the mandate differ between the military branches. The first deadline, for active duty Air Force personnel, is Tuesday, while all air National Guard members and reservists have to be vaccinated by Dec. 2.
Meanwhile, all active duty Army troops have to be vaccinated by Dec. 15, while Army reservists and National Guard units have to be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022.