An Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer
The U.S. Navy is refusing to deploy a destroyer while its commanding officer, who they cannot remove due to a court decision, is not vaccinated against COVID-19 despite the service’s vaccine mandate rules.
The unnamed destroyer captain is one of several service members involved in a lawsuit challenging the military-wide vaccine mandate and requesting they be granted religious exemptions to the mandate. Last month federal judge Steven D. Merryday granted the captain and a U.S. Marine officer a preliminary injunction, temporarily barring their respective services from taking any punitive action while their lawsuit continues. Unable to remove the captain, now the Navy is arguing that Merryday’s decision has sidelined the warship based out of Norfolk, Va.
Merryday’s injunction prevents the service from removing the destroyer commander from his post on the warship and replacing him. Until the lawsuit is ultimately resolved or the Navy allows the destroyer to deploy with its current commanding officer, the warship is stuck.
The most fitting commentary on this situation I’ve heard, so far, was “HAR!”