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Unvaccinated USAF Instructor Pilots to Resume Flying

Travails and Vapor-Trails

The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that it is allowing unvaccinated instructor pilots to return to flight-duty after grounding them last summer in accordance with federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates since ruled broadly unconstitutional.

USAF Major General Phillip Stewart, head of the 19th Air Force, conceded on 25 October 2022 that it is “in the best interest of the Air Force” for instructors to resume their regular in-flight duties until further notice. The 19th Air Force is a subunit of Air Education and Training Command tasked with oversight of the USAF’s pilot training pipeline. General Stewart plans to revisit his decision once an ongoing class-action lawsuit challenging the lingering vestiges of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate is resolved. The case, Hunter Doster, et al versus Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, will be heard in Ohio’s U.S. District Court.

In July 2022, a federal judge issued an injunction stopping the Air Force from punishing or separating personnel who filed requests to be exempted from the vaccine mandate on religious grounds. Prior to the injunction, the USAF—according to information last updated in July 2022—had ousted more than 830 active duty airmen and Air Force National Guardsmen who refused the jab. The selfsame July data indicated the service had denied approximately 6,800 initial religious waiver requests and 3,600 appeals, and has yet to rule on nearly 3,500 additional cases.

About ten-thousand airmen and national guardsmen are part of the class-action suit, which contends the military is unfairly forcing people to either submit for injection with an allegedly dangerous vaccine to which they object on religious grounds, or forfeit their careers, lose their livelihoods, and render themselves and their families destitute.

While instructors are being permitted to return to flight-duty, the training of unvaccinated students remains at an abject standstill.

Nineteenth Air Force spokesperson Aryn Lockhart prevaricated: “In order to maximize readiness, training will be prioritized for student pilots who have received the vaccine.”

Notwithstanding some reports of injury, disability and death following administration of COVID-19 vaccines, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to encourage Americans to get fully vaccinated with one of the four drugs authorized for use in the U.S.

That vaccine mandates have proved catastrophic to U.S. military morale, cohesion, and recruiting is widely known. What remains unknown is the extent to which the vaccine fracas has disrupted pilot training. Air Education and Training Command has yet to state how many new pilots it graduated in fiscal 2022, which ended 30 September. The USAF typically aims to train around 1,500 new pilots annually. In recent years, however, the service has fallen well short of that objective. Despite readily-available mathematical data to the contrary, Pentagon spokespeople have repeatedly asserted to news outlets that vaccine refusal has not slowed pilot training. We shall see...

FMI: www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/ensuringsafety/monitoring/vaers/access-VAERS-data.html#anchor_1617388966905

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