The Marine Corps confirmed the discharges on Thursday in a statement to the Marine Corps Times. The 103 soldiers who have been booted from the force so far are expected to receive either an honorable or general discharge.
Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger told the magazine that 1,007 vaccine exemptions for medical and administrative reasons were granted, while 2,836 requests for religious exemptions have been rejected so far. It is widely expected that the force, which has yet to grant a single soldier an exemption on religious grounds over Covid-19 vaccination, would turn down nearly 300 remaining applications.
Although the Marine Corps was revealed last month to be the least vaccinated US military branch, the overwhelming majority of its personnel – about 95% – have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
The news on the mass dismissal of Marines comes shortly after 27 US Air Force service members – who were described as “younger, lower-ranking personnel” – were revealed to have been discharged this week for refusing to get vaccinated.
The terminated Air Force personnel did not seek any exemptions and were officially sanctioned for disobeying orders.
The US Navy is expected to follow suit in the near future. As of last week, 5,731 US Navy personnel remained unvaccinated despite a mandate requiring all active-duty sailors to get the shot by the November 28 deadline.
It has been reported that as many as 40,000 US military personnel either refused vaccination against Covid-19 or sought an exemption – amounting to roughly 3% of troops.