(LifeSiteNews) — A former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces went public about his fight to defend his bodily autonomy and Catholic moral conscience in an op-ed late last month, explaining that he ultimately left his military career rather than violate his firmly held beliefs after commanders repeatedly pressured him to get the experimental COVID-19 jab.
John Frankman, who previously served as a captain in the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (7SFG), wrote in a July 31 article that he “voluntarily separated from the Army due to struggles I encountered because I refused to get the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine.”
A Catholic former seminarian who studied at The Catholic University of America and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Frankman served as an infantry officer and later a member of the Special Forces (also known as the Green Berets) in a nearly eight-year Army career before his July 1 separation.
Frankman said that the “push to get all soldiers vaccinated” commenced in January 2021 upon the rollout of the experimental COVID-19 jabs that had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as part of its heavily criticized Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) under which drug companies were exempt from liability for potential side effects.
“Military leaders at all levels made being vaccinated a ‘readiness’ issue and wielded whatever authority and power they had — legal or otherwise — to coerce individuals into getting vaccinated,” Frankman wrote.
A team leader, Frankman said he told his men he didn’t intend to get the jab and that he wouldn’t penalize or incentivize them for choosing to get it themselves.
The former Special Forces captain said that he and his team were aware early in 2021 that the shots had been developed or tested using cell lines from aborted babies; that serious side effects (including death) were already being reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS); and that the jabs were experimental. Moreover, as young, physically fit men, they were at very low risk from the virus itself.
Ultimately, only two members of Frankman’s 12-man team opted to get the jab before the implementation of the military-wide mandate.
As a result, he said, “my team sergeant and I were constantly harassed by the Company Sergeant Major,” adding that he and his men were threatened with “undesirable assignments” if their refusal to get jabbed meant that they had to give up missions, because unvaccinated soldiers were barred from deployment due to policies implemented by the Special Forces’ top brass.
Frankman’s team was later forced to turn down a mission rather than comply with the jab rule.
Though he said he had expressed his concerns about the shots to his leaders, the objections weren’t “taken seriously.”
Pressure to get jabbed predictably ramped up after the official COVID shot mandate. During a two-week training exercise in Louisiana, Frankman said, military leaders abruptly advised the captain and his team that they had 72 hours to review information about the jabs and consult with their medical providers, after which time they were expected to comply with the mandate.
“I immediately expressed to my leadership that it isn’t fair to force service members to make a career- and life-altering decision under duress and without the proper medical, religious, and legal resources and that having this hanging over our heads would take away all training value,” Frankman wrote.
The initial 72-hour push was scrapped, and “official counseling” concerning vaccination was put off until after the team finished the training exercise.
When the counseling session finally took place, team members argued the mandate “seemed illegal” and ran afoul of existing regulations that allowed the military to accept proof of natural immunity for medical exemptions to vaccination requirements.
But the push for vaccination raged on despite the objections.
“Soldiers who still were not vaccinated either had to get the shot within 72 hours of the counseling or receive UCMJ punishment,” Frankman said.
Undeterred from his strong belief that the jabs were too risky and violated his moral conscience, the Catholic Green Beret put in for a religious exemption on October 5, 2021, the day after the vaccine “counseling” session.
Months later, a colonel challenged him on his religious views and asked him what he would tell a fellow Catholic or other Christian who had opted to get the injection. Frankman said he would ask that person whether “it is justifiable to take a drug linked to an abortion; the murder of an unborn human and continued theft of its body parts and products; for a disease with over a 99.99% survival rate.”
Frankman’s religious exemption request would go unanswered until December 2022, when the Republican-led House of Representatives passed legislation to roll back the military vaccine mandate.
Before the reversal, however, Frankman would be again told to obey the jab order despite his objections and accused of being an “extremist” for his views.
He would also lose out on a major opportunity after the Army (“ironically”) assigned him to teach a philosophy and ethics course at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was unable to fulfill that assignment because his pending religious exemption request meant he was forbidden to “move, deploy, or travel.”
Though the jab mandate has now been rolled back, Frankman said he’s choosing to separate from the U.S. Army due to the years of apparently capricious bullying he endured.
“I am leaving because although the vaccine mandate is no longer in effect, it cost me the opportunity to teach and form cadets at West Point, cut my team leader time short, and cost me other career opportunities,” he wrote. “At this point, I believe that God can use the gifts, talents, and passions He gave me to serve Him in a better way.”
Frankman said he is speaking out because he wants military leaders to learn “from their mistakes concerning the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccines for when something like this happens in the future.” He also wants to help civilians recognize the issue in order to pressure politicians “to enact policies to treat service members properly and refrain from any action that compromises their morale, health, and conscience.”
According to Frankman, leaders who pushed the COVID-19 jabs when they should have known better should be held to account for their actions.
“Rather than moving on from this ordeal as it is an uncomfortable topic, we must face it head-on to learn from our failures and respond to future challenges properly,” he said. “Our military and our nation, but more importantly, our character and honor depend on it.”