COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has written a letter to the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asking that the department to rethink the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the National Guard, saying the state will not have a hand in punishing guard members who refuse to get vaccinated.
Calling the mandate "at odds with law and logic," McMaster writes "Unless the Department agrees to cease enforcement of these mandates or a court enjoins the same, I intend to make clear that any adverse action taken against a member of the South Carolina National Guard on account of their vaccination status is not of my making but is solely due to the Department’s implementation of the Biden Administration’s misguided and unlawful policies."
According to the US Department of Defense, "Unless there is an approved exemption, National Guardsmen who refuse to get the shots face repercussions and consequences. This includes loss of pay or the loss of the ability to train. Those who persist in failing to obey a lawful order face discharge."
McMaster writes if the mandate goes forth, he plans to withhold court martial convening authority for South Carolina's Adjutant General "and any subordinate commanders" in order to "make clear that the Biden Administration will be solely responsible for any consequences brought to bear on a member of the South Carolina National Guard based on their vaccination status."
Air National Guard personnel were supposed to have been vaccinated by December 31, 2021. Army Guardsmen have until June 2022 to get vaccinated.
You can read Governor McMaster's letter here: