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Air Force pilot near retirement could lose pension despite vaccine mandate repeal: I’m in ‘purgatory’

An Air Force reservist sounded the alarm on the U.S. military’s treatment of service members who refused the COVID-19 vaccine as she faces losing her pension after 19 years of service despite the mandate being repealed. 

With only six months until retirement, Lt. Col. Brandi King’s multiple vaccine exemption requests were denied, and she now is being held in a type of “purgatory.”

“I’m just in a holding tank of sorts,” King explained on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday. “Until I phase out of the military altogether.”

“It’s a little loophole that Air Force Reserve Command uses and really all reserve commands use to send those of us that they don’t want to serve for whatever reason into a holding tank until we can just basically disappear.”

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King told host Brian Kilmeade that she’s currently unable to gain income, earn “points” toward retirement or use health benefits. She also noted that in addition to her request for a religious exemption, she has allergies to two ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Pentagon formally dropped the vaccine mandate for service members in early January following President Biden’s signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in December which repealed the mandate. However, the NDAA did not reinstate service members who were discharged or lost benefits for refusing the vaccine. 

King argued the intent of the NDAA has not been met.

She recently hired a lawyer, arguing that there were multiple constitutional and statutory law violations. 

“The American public knows that the military’s sole purpose is to support and defend the Constitution and defend our republic,” she said. “So not only do my neighbors, community, friends, family see the way I’ve been treated, they also see that our constitution isn’t being defended and supported.”

“And I think that that is a huge problem for military recruitment and for retaining talent.”

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King warned that more military pilots are turning to commercial airlines as a result of the mandate. 

She noted that the military has historically honored religious and medical exemption requests for other vaccines and said the military’s arguments in favor of the COVID vaccine are not “buyable.”

Despite her battle to keep her pension after a 19-year career, King remained proud of her service for the country. 

“I am dedicated to my oath to support and defend the Constitution,” she said. 

“I think the American public would like to see our military leaders step up and support and defend the Constitution as they swore.”

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Kelly Laco contributed to this report.

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