Retired Gen. Holt to Newsmax: Vaccine Mandate ‘Creates Division’ in Military Ranks

The Biden administration’s mandate that members of the military have their COVID-19 vaccines or face discharge “creates division in the ranks,” Blaine Holt, a retired Air Force brigadier general and deputy military representative to NATO, told Newsmax Friday. 

“We see 200 Marines, unfortunately, who are being shown the end of their service careers, and that has a very large impact,” Holt said on Newsmax’s “Wake Up America.” “I don’t think a lot of people understand the impact it has internally.”

According to a service branch spokesperson, a total of 206 Marines were discharged because they were unvaccinated. Active-duty Marines had until Nov. 14 to either get their COVID-19 shots or apply for an exemption, with members who wouldn’t comply facing a discharge. 

Holt said Friday that service members have been put in a tough place with the vaccine mandate. 

“For every Marine that said, I absolutely am not going to serve if it means I have to take the vaccine, there are many Marines, and I’m in touch with quite a few of them, who feel coerced, felt that they were in a very bad position,” said Holt. “They had to look at their families first and acquiesce to taking the shot.”

The rule also creates a “lack of unity” in the military ranks, when they need to be “in a great, unified way, ready for battle,” said Holt.  

Meanwhile, members of the military seemed to have been getting a modest pay raise through the National Defense Authorization Act, but instead, once inflation is factored in they’ll face a pay cut, said Holt.

A 2.7% pay raise has been approved, “but we’re looking at inflation this year that’s already been posted at 6.8%” said Holt, but added that “we’re grateful for anything that we can get to our armed forces in terms of their pay and benefits.”

Meanwhile, care must be taken about how other money approved in the defense bill is spent, said Holt.

“We see a very large tab for the nation’s defense,” he said. “What are the audits? What are the efficiencies or the ways that we look at how the money is spent and what the money is being spent on?”

It is also important that the defense spending is more efficient than what is being spent by potential adversaries, said Holt. 

“If our missiles cost $9 million a missile, you better hope your adversary’s missile costs a heck of a lot more because we have to be better in our spending on the battlefield,” said Holt. “It’s very important to be efficient with the taxpayer dollars.”

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