Tommy Waller, a retired Marine Corps Officer and President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, just left the military much in part over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and he shares his experience with the vaccine mandate in the military, and how the mandate still impacts service members today.
Recently, we had a chance to speak to a retired Marine Corps officer who just left the military, much in part over the COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Tommy Waller is now the President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, and he’ll share with us his experience with the vaccine mandate in the military and how the mandate is still impacting service members. Tommy Waller, thank you so much for joining us.
Sure, thank you for having me on.
Absolutely. Tom, you’ve spent your career in the military up until recently. What was your experience while in the military in terms of dealing with the vaccine mandate and what impact did it have on you personally and others?
Well for me personally, it really led to the end of my military career. Now, the first half of which was on active duty, the second half of which was in the Reserves. But I was blessed. I was fortunate. At the time, I was a commander of Force Reconnaissance Company in the Marine Reserves.
And I say I was blessed because the Marine Corps at least waited until just after my already scheduled change of command to pass the guidance that any unvaccinated commander would be immediately relieved for cause.
I, like most of my Marines, in fact, I made sure mine was the first, had submitted an appeal, a request for a religious accommodation, and it was denied, like most other Marines, in fact, on November 10 of 2021, on the Marine Corps birthday.
And so for me, I waited a year for the Marine Corps to be able to wake up to the fact that what they were doing was unlawful and that, of course, after a year, I decided to go ahead and retire.
So, Tommy, let me ask you, how are servicemen and women still being affected by these mandates, even though certain parts of it have been rescinded? What is the current state and what are people doing to raise awareness about it?
So we think that just because the National Defense Authorization Act repealed or rolled back this mandate, that the problem is over, but the same people who inflicted it upon the Department of Defense personnel are still there.
I saw news headlines just yesterday about the fact that the DoD was looking to still try to remove about 16,000 service members who refused to take the vaccine but had not submitted for a religious accommodation request like I and others had done.
At the end of the day, what happened is Lloyd Austin gave an order that was lawful and said, you’ll inoculate the force with an “FDA approved” vaccine. And that did not exist. In fact, I think it’s still a question whether or not you can get the version of the vaccine that Pfizer got FDA approval for.
So what that did is it put officers in a spot where for them to comply with that lawful order, they’d actually have to break the law by forcing upon service members an emergency use authorized drug and removing their ability to have what’s called informed consent.
And so many officers like myself, we tried to raise our hand and say, look, this is not right. It’s against the law for us to compel service members against their will.
And those were exactly the kind of people who were getting removed from the service.
Tommy, I recall shortly after the pandemic broke, when Trump was president, at those daily briefings, Dr. Fauci, even at that time, when asked about natural immunity, acknowledged that it was there. Then, for some reason, he and others backtracked on that, and now things have changed. What do you think the rationale, the true rationale behind these vaccine mandates is, especially in the military, when everybody knew from the beginning that natural immunity was totally on the table, right?
Well, I’ll tell you, Steve, I asked a lot of these questions, and I was told by at least one superior officer who actually cared for me, he was trying to look out for me.
He said, look, this is political. And because it’s political, you need to proceed with caution. And I don’t see it any other way.
Now we look back at the last 18 months, like you said, Steve, there’s abundant data that’s come out to show that we were lied to about the effectiveness of the vaccines, about their safety. It’s very clear that what we were told is not true.
And yet, over that 18 plus month period, as more and more data comes out, including the fact that some of the pharmaceutical companies have tried to hide this data from the American public, there’s been really no internal adjustment within the Department of Defense, no effort to course correct based on the world around them.
We’re supposed to be adaptable as a military. And this is one area where I’ve seen absolutely no adaptability when it comes to the vaccine mandate.
So I think it was political. I think it was a purge, and I think it’s been highly effective at removing those that won’t break the law for those that are in charge.
Tony Waller, thank you for your service, and thank you so much for sharing this with us.