An Army special court-martial Friday convicted 1st Lieutenant Mark Bashaw for violating orders related to COVID-19 containment.
According to an Army Times report, the officer was convicted of violating lawful orders to comply with COVID-19 mitigation measures at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
Bashaw was found guilty of refusing an order to perform his duties from a remote location. He reported to work at his office without getting a COVID-19 test beforehand or providing the Army a negative test result. Those mitigation measures were reportedly required for unvaccinated troops stationed at Aberdeen. His second conviction stemmed from reportedly failing to wear a mask while indoors.
Even though he was convicted on the two charges lodged against him, Bashaw did not receive punishment from the military judge who presided over his trial. Bashaw’s conviction, though, is a matter of public record that may impact future employment opportunities because of having a criminal record.
“After a careful consideration of the evidence, a military judge exercised lawful authority not to adjudge punishment for 1st Lt. Mark Bashaw,” APG spokesperson Amburr Reese told the Army Times. “Receiving no punishment at a court-martial is not without precedent.”
“While the Army does not categorize court-martial convictions as felonies or misdemeanors, many civilian jurisdictions treat a conviction in a special court-martial convened by military judge alone, which this one was, as a misdemeanor.”
Bashaw, who previously served as a headquarters company commander for the Army’s Public Health Center, is believed to be the first soldier court-martialed for violating COVID-19 protocols.
The Army has booted out 505 soldiers as of May 5, according to a report by The Epoch Times. Another 3,381 have reportedly received official reprimands. Roughly 5,000 exemption requests await adjudication, according to the Army Times report.
The convicted officer’s Army career future is not clear, nor is whether Bashaw was vaccinated after the incident that led to his court-martial.
Deputy Public Affairs Officer Amburr Reese was not immediately available for comment.
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