The US Navy is under fire after news broke that an unnamed multi-billion-dollar warship is currently docked and “out of commission” because its commander remains unvaccinated for religious reasons.
At a Glance
- A Navy warship has been dubbed “out of commission” on the East Coast
- The ship’s commander refuses to adhere to the military’s vaccine mandates for religious reasons
- In February, a federal judge ruled the Navy could not remove the officer from his post
- Navy officials refuse to deploy the ship saying the officer is unfit to command
The Warship Will Remain Out of Commission While the Military Seeks to Overturn a Florida Court Ruling
The US Department of Defense is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the goal of firing the unnamed officer for defying the military’s standing vaccine mandate.
Last month, a Florida federal judge ruled that the commander cannot be fired over the situation. And while the DoD works to overturn the decision, it will not allow the warship to deploy.
The commander is part of a class-action suit that lawyers filed last year. According to a group of service members, the military infringed on their civil rights when it imposed COVID vaccine mandates and refused their religious exemption requests.
As the court documents read, superiors reprimanded this particular commander after he refused the shot. And then, the Navy took action once more when the officer reported to work with COVID-like symptoms.
The Navy alleged that the officer put “dozens’ of crewmembers at risk by doing so.
Shortly after, Navy brass denied his exemption request and took steps to remove him from his post. And that prompted the officer to take legal action.
In late 2021, the officer filed a civil suit against the Department of Defense, President Biden, and nearly three dozen other unnamed US soldiers.
The Department of Defense Attempts to Block Preliminary Injunction
Last month, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday ruled in favor of the commander in a preliminary injunction. Per his decision, the Navy could not dismiss the officer. And the military also could not punish, demote, or shuffle him to a different post.
The DoD asked the court to block the injunction citing that the soldier it unfit to command. But on Thursday, Merryday denied the request.
“By forcing the Navy to keep in place a commander of a destroyer who has lost the trust of his superior officers and the Navy at large, this Order effectively places a multi-billion dollar guided-missile destroyer out of commission,” the appeal reads.
As for now, the Navy will keep its warship docked in Norfolk, Virginia, until the unvaccinated commander accepts the shot or leaves his post. However, the DoD hasn’t commented on its next steps, according to the Daily Mail.