The head of the Oklahoma National Guard won’t require troops to comply with the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but don’t expect the Georgia National Guard to follow Oklahoma’s example.
Adjutant General of Georgia Major General Thomas Carden told The Georgia Star News on Monday that he intends to follow orders.
“I’ve only been doing this for 34-and-a-half years. I took an oath, and I intend to do what I promised the country I would do. That is to follow the lawful orders of the president of the United States, the governor of Georgia, and the orders of the officers appointed over me according to law and regulations. There are three branches of government. The executive branch. The legislative branch. And the judicial branch,” Carden said.
“There is plenty of opportunity out there if someone in the military wants to seek redress with respect to this mandate through the court system. I’m not tracking a single injunction in the judicial branch, with respect to the military vaccination mandate. It’s cut and dry for us.”
Communications staff for Georgia Governor Brian Kemp — who has the power to oversee and activate the Georgia National Guard — did not return The Star News’ request for comment Monday.
In Oklahoma, Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino said that that state’s Governor Kevin Stitt is the organization’s “lawful Commander in Chief” when not under federal orders, implying that Stitt — and not Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — has the final call on any vaccine mandate.
Mancino wrote in a memo that “no negative administrative or legal action will be taken” against guard members who do not get the vaccine.
Mancino was appointed last week as adjutant general of the Oklahoma National Guard, replacing former Adjutant General Michael Thompson. Stitt earlier this month asked Austin to suspend the vaccine mandate for members of the Oklahoma National Guard.
Austin has not directly responded to Mancino, according to an official with the Oklahoma National Guard.
The Pentagon is aware of the memo and the letter from Stitt, and “will respond to the governor appropriately,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Military Times.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Thomas Carden” by Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. Background Photo “Joe Biden” by The White House.