In the spring of 2021 during my first year at the U.S. Military Academy, I was told that my decision to reject getting the “optional” COVID-19 vaccine would not negatively affect my time as a cadet at West Point.
That quickly changed. My Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act medical privacy rights were violated when my vaccination status was released to members of the freshman class and upperclassmen who were planning our summer details, to which an officer stated, “HIPAA isn’t the be-all, end-all.”
Before leaving for the summer, the unvaccinated were forced to attend a “re-education brief” led only by vaccinated personnel. Unvaccinated personnel were not allowed on the panel and it became a very hostile environment of us-versus-them. In this three-hour brief, our questions about natural immunity and health concerns were disregarded and labeled “unscientific.”
During summer training, my unvaccinated friends and I were segregated, ostracized, and mocked. We endured rude comments, while others pointed and laughed at us for being in the “dirty” platoon of only unvaccinated (and therefore masked) cadets. Cadets yelled that we were the “sick” or “dirty” or “anti-science” platoon. Officers told trainees to stay away from us.
After returning to the academy in the fall, unvaccinated cadets were subjected to COVID testing twice a week at 6:00 a.m., even if we didn’t have COVID symptoms. Even though the vaccinated can also contract and transmit COVID, they were not tested, and those who felt sick were denied COVID tests. The leadership purposefully made life miserable for unvaccinated cadets, in what I can only conclude was an attempt to convince us to violate our consciences and blindly follow the rest of the herd.
Denied a pass for being unvaccinated, I was not allowed to leave campus with my friends because our radius was restricted compared to the vaccinated cadets. I could not even take an overnight pass to my sponsor’s house on post, even though the same policy that restricted me from staying overnight allowed me to spend the day there.
I was visibly cast as the “other” when only the unvaccinated had to wear masks (indoors and outdoors). This made it easier for teachers to identify me as unvaccinated, and during my summer class I was the only one in our hot classroom forced to wear a mask for our three-hour class. Ironically, now, everyone must be in masks in the classroom. Many of my teachers scoffed at the idea of students remaining unvaccinated and for making such an unscientific and selfish choice.
I was subjected to this treatment while knowing that some of my fellow cadets had an adverse reaction to the vaccine, including life-changing heart problems. One of these adverse reactions resulting in heart issues happened on the Crew team. That same team kicked my best friend off for being unvaccinated, with her coach saying it “went against [her] ethics” to coach an unvaccinated cadet.
Around the same time, guidance was pushed down that we could not even attend our religious clubs. While this guidance then changed shortly after, no one questioned the unethical nonsense of telling cadets they could sit shoulder to shoulder in a classroom to study calculus, but it was too much of a “health threat” to have us in the same classroom six hours later discussing the one thing that gave us hope and comfort.
The coercion grew worse when the official vaccine mandate paperwork came down on Sept. 27, 2021. The other unvaccinated cadets and I were escorted to an auditorium at 5:45 a.m. We were not allowed to leave without signing a document acknowledging that we were disobeying direct orders.
We had a choice to either be vaccinated, separate, or apply for a religious or medical exemption. At the meeting, we were denied any legal counsel. There were no judge advocate generals or legal advisers available for us to talk to before signing this document, and I was personally told by a colonel that I could not receive counsel before signing the documents.
When I raised the point that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine (Pfizer’s Comirnaty) with the proper lot numbers had yet to be distributed in the United States, that the only available vaccines were under emergency use authorization and that vaccination must be voluntary under those conditions according to the Nuremberg Code, I was told this small legal distinction didn’t matter.
My friends’ medical exemptions pleading natural immunity have been denied by West Point, contrary to science. We are not aware of any medical exemptions that have been granted. The religious exemptions are still being processed, but denial is assumed. Although I filed a religious exemption, I decided to separate from West Point because the U.S. Army is no longer an organization I can serve in.
I personally refused the vaccine because I had COVID and now have natural immunity, the vaccine has harmed way more people I know than the actual virus, and I believe the entire push to vaccinate has been rooted in deceit. Because I follow a God who demands absolute truth, I cannot participate in something that has been built on a mountain of lies.
I could no longer stay at an institution that claims to fight for freedom while using people as puppets to convince the public to give up their freedoms for a political show. Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act prohibits religious discrimination, and while I am by no means against vaccines, I am against unjust mandates, vaccine passports, the violation of HIPAA, and the violation of personal rights to bodily autonomy.
Unfortunately, serving my country and serving in the Army don’t seem to be so similar anymore. I have deep respect for West Point’s legacy, for the sacrifices of our soldiers to protect and defend our country, for the cadets who work tirelessly, for the training officers and teachers who devote themselves to raising leaders, and for the amazing family I have made through some of the most wonderful people I have ever met.
I tell my story not to stain the name of West Point, but to raise awareness of the persecution our military is under because of our higher leadership. I do blame the Biden administration for ignoring the pleas of thousands of soldiers. I blame Anthony Fauci for shamelessly lying time and again. I blame Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for his lack of leadership and integrity. And I blame the leaders who have the power to make change and yet remain silent.