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(LifeSiteNews) – A long-serving U.S. Army pilot who was reluctantly vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to care for his family faces the possible end of his military career for his opposition to the controversial shots, his wife says.
Brandon Budge is a maintenance and combat pilot who has served in the Army for 20 years, and currently holds the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3. His wife, Jessica Hill-Budge, told The Epoch Times that he was denied promotion to Chief Warrant Officer 4 upon objecting to the COVID shots, but that was only the beginning of his troubles.
Ordered to deploy to South Korea during his wife’s “high-risk” pregnancy with their seventh child, CW3 Budge requested to remain in the United States until his son’s birth but was told that unless he was vaccinated he would be unable to return for their child’s birth or to help his wife through any potential emergencies.
Budge had been particularly concerned about the COVID shots’ potential to cause myocarditis, as such a diagnosis could end his career as a pilot. But “eventually, because he could not bear to miss the birth of his son, Brandon took the vaccine,” his wife said.
Despite his compliance, his previous objections were taken as evidence that he was still a problem.
“Since he had shown initial resistance to the vaccine and requested an additional 90 days to provide care for his wife who had complications, he was accused of falsifying his vaccination record,” Jessica said. “Brandon was not allowed to provide evidence to prove his innocence, including a receipt and vaccine card from Walgreens.”
In April 2022, a Flying Evaluation Board concluded that the allegations against Budge were not supported by the evidence and he should remain on flying status, but his supervisor still determined he should be removed. The command chief warrant officer even “bullied” them both over the phone, according to Jessica.
“Enough’s enough,” she said. “This leadership in this command is ridiculous, to say the very least. And it appears that they had no intention of doing what was right from the beginning.
Last August, at the direction of President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed the secretaries of all military branches to “immediately begin full [COVID] vaccination of all members of the Armed Forces” and “impose ambitious timelines for implementation.” The majority of service members complied, but tens of thousands remain unvaccinated, with many seeking exemptions.
In the Army, the approval rate for religious exemptions so far stands at just one percent (20 approvals out of 1,465 reviewed requests), while the approval rate for medical exemptions is only slightly higher at three percent (34 approvals out of more than 1,000 adjudicated applications).
In December, the military began discharging soldiers for refusing the shots, and the deadline for Army Reservists and National Guardsmen passed on June 30. The discharges, which threaten to significantly deplete the manpower of America’s armed forces, have prompted legal challenges that have so far been neglected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
While defenders of vaccine mandates are quick to point out that the military has long required soldiers to vaccinate against a range of diseases due to the harsh and exotic locales soldiers are sent to for extended periods of time and the close quarters they typically share with one another, previous vaccines were typically subjected to far more evaluation and development time before being put into widespread use than the COVID shots received during their accelerated clinical trials under former President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed initiative.
In March, it was found that 11,289 cases of pericarditis/myocarditis after COVID vaccination were reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database between January 1 and February 25, which is already 47% of the 24,177 reports for the same submitted in all of 2021. An April study out of Israel indicates that COVID infection alone cannot account for such cases, despite claims to the contrary.
COVID shot defenders claim that VAERS offers an exaggerated view of a vaccine’s potential risks, as anyone can submit a report without vetting it, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention researchers have acknowledged “high verification rate of reports of myocarditis to VAERS after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination,” leading to the conclusion that “under-reporting is more likely” than over-reporting.
But VAERS is not the only data source indicating cause for concern. LifeSiteNews has reported on the forced release of Pfizer data the company had tried to keep sealed until 2076, including reports of 158,893 serious adverse events after vaccination in dozens of countries around the world from December 1, 2020 to February 28, 2022.
Data from the Pentagon’s Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) has been similarly alarming, showing that 2021 saw drastic spikes in a variety of diagnoses for serious medical issues over the previous five-year average, including hypertension (2,181%), neurological disorders (1,048%), multiple sclerosis (680%), Guillain-Barre syndrome (551%), breast cancer, (487%), female infertility (472%), pulmonary embolism (468%), migraines (452%), ovarian dysfunction (437%), testicular cancer (369%), and tachycardia (302%).
U.S. service members facing medical coercion over the COVID-19 shots or denied effective treatment can apply for Medical Freedom Fund Grants with the medical freedom nonprofit Truth for Health Foundation by clicking here. The group’s website also contains additional resources, including medical information, civilian legal resources, news, COVID treatment information, and a form for reporting COVID vaccine injuries.
“I think Ronald Reagan said it best when he said ‘America is too great for small dreams,’” Budge himself told the Times. “As a soldier and an army aviator, I love my country. I love the thought of freedom. I have loved my opportunity to offer that freedom to others around the world. I love that I work with a multitude of individuals that seek to offer the same blessings of freedom to the downtrodden and the oppressed, even if it means we must give our lives to do so. The United States of America is the greatest experiment of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness that has ever existed. We are the world’s last greatest hope.”