Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Separation proceedings for Army officer who refused coronavirus vaccine

A military judge convicted First Lieutenant (1LT) Mark Bashaw, but did not punish him, in the first known COVID court-martial on April 29, 2022. Now, 1LT Bashaw's company commander has initiated separation proceedings against 1LT Bashaw, citing the failure to get vaccinated. 

Stars and Stripes indicates that the Army denied 1LT Bashaw's request for a religious exemption from the coronavirus vaccine. Their article does not clarify whether 1LT Bashaw consistently refused vaccines on religious grounds through his 16-years of service. Regardless, 16-years of service will likely help 1LT Bashaw in his upcoming proceeding. 

Officers who have served less than 5 years, like most 1LTs, do not get the benefit of an Army Board composed of three officers from outside the chain-of-command. That Board will hear his case, consider the evidence, and then make a recommendation on separation. If that Board votes for retention, the Army cannot separate 1LT Bashaw. For officers with less than 5-years of service, decisions to separate go through the chain-of-command without an independent hearing before being forwarded on to the Commanding General, Human Resources Command. 

Of potential interest, according to the Army Times article from May 3, 2022, Colonel (COL) Yevgeny Vindman appears to be the responsible Staff Judge Advocate for the unit that court-martialed 1LT Bashaw. As you may recall, COL Vindman was dismissed from the National Security Counsel in February 2020, after President Trump's first impeachment. An IG report later determined the Trump White House retaliated against COL Vindman. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a fine object example of the (limited) levelling that can arise when someone benefits from safeguards for fairness and reasonableness, if if they do not rise to the level of judicial independence and impartiality. The transparency, intelligibility, and justification arising from reasons given in such a process serve as limited safeguards.


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