Armed Forces News

Two service members are challenging in court the Defense Department’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate.

In their lawsuit, Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Roberts and Marine Corps Sgt. Holli Mulvihill contend that the vaccination requirement oversteps military and federal regulations, federal law, and is unconstitutional as well.

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Both are stationed in North Carolina. Roberts, a drill sergeant and infantryman, is at Fort Bragg. Mulvihill is an air traffic controller at Marine Corps Air Station New River. Theirs is a class action suit, meaning its outcome would affect any service members in similar straits. The legal document filed on their behalf did not offer a precise number of troops included in the class action, stating instead that more than 1.8 million active-duty service members could be included. The document also stated that any future decision that may be rendered in their favor would affect only those who meet exemption requirements.

“The DoD is already vaccinating military members in flagrant violation of its legal obligations and the rights of service members,” lawyers for the two stated in a brief filed before the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Lloyd Austin and Xavier Becerra, the secretaries of Defense and Health and Human Services respectively, and acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Janet Woodcock are listed as defendants.

The two service members contend that according to regulations, anyone who has contracted and survived any illness such as Covid-19 should be exempt from being vaccinated. They also cited federal statutes that the Defense Department’s application of the Emergency Use Authorization is illegal.

The lawsuit also states that the vaccination mandate illegally requires service members to take “investigational new drugs” or face disciplinary action that could end military careers.

“This case implicates the most fundamental of all human rights, the right of a person to bodily integrity and to make their own choices about what will be put into their body,” the document stated. “Service members that have natural immunity, developed from surviving the virus, should be granted a medical exemption from compulsory vaccination because the DoD instruction policy reflects the well-established understanding that prior infection provides the immune system’s best possible response to the virus.”