In November, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Guard members must be vaccinated to participate in training.
On Tuesday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves joined four other governors from Wyoming, Alaska, Iowa, and Nebraska in writing a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to withdraw his and the Service Secretaries’ directives to the National Guard members in their Title 32 duty status concerning the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As Commander in Chief of the Mississippi National Guard, I was proud to join 4 of my fellow governors to call on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to withdraw his overreaching directives on our Guardsmen,” Governor Reeves said on Twitter.
Defense Secretary Austin issued a memo in late November that said Guard members must be vaccinated in order to participate in training.
“To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force,” Austin said in that memo. “After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the president, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease… is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people.”
In the letter to Defense Secretary, the governors of the five states ask Austin to reconsider the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for National Guard members.
The governors say that they acknowledge Secretary Austin’s right to establish readiness standards for the National Guard for activation into a Title 10 status. However, directives dictating whether training in a Title 32 status can occur, setting punishment requirements for those who do not revive the COVID-19 vaccine, and requiring separation from each state’s National Guard if not vaccinate are “beyond [his] constitutional and statutory authority,” the governors contend.
You can read the full letter to the Secretary of Defense below.