A former space force commander claims Air Force service members have been grounded for refusing COVID-19 vaccinations, despite a court order forbidding it.
An Ohio federal court ruled about two months ago that the Air Force is acting contrary to law in taking punitive actions against members for not getting vaccinated against the coronavirus. Former Space Force Lt. Col. Matt Lohmeier made his remarks during a “Capitol Report” interview.
The former commander, who was relieved of his command in May 2021 after making comments criticizing the U.S. military, noted the Ohio court issued a preliminary injunction. He claimed during his “Capitol Report” appearance, that an Air Force fighter squadron leader had been grounded and removed from his post following his decision not to take a COVID-19 shot.
Lohmeier said the squadron leader has not been returned to flying status, a fate shared by other members he claimed he is aware of.
“Our senior defense officials seem uninterested in abiding by law,” he said. “We’ve got over 700 pilots potentially on the chopping block right now for their refusal to take the shot.”
The mandatory vaccination rule itself is illegal since the COVID-19 vaccine available in many instances has only been approved under emergency use authorization (EUA), Lohmeier said.
Thousands of service members “across all branches of the military” have objected to these vaccines, the former Space Force commander said. He added the service’s leaders publicly admitted the U.S. had a shortage of 1,650 pilots back in 2019.
“That problem hasn’t been fixed or gotten any better since 2019,” he remarked.
“At a time of great power competition, potentially with China and Russia,” Lohmeier said, it is “not the time to be tampering with our readiness.”
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