Voices from the Tennessee National Guard: ‘I Didn’t Have a Choice’ but to Leave

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this as a small piece of a big puzzle. My ETS (expiration term of service) from the Tennessee Army National Guard took place last summer after nearly 14.5 years of service. I honestly did not want to leave but felt as though I would be in a place soon where I didn’t have a choice. I knew after so many hours of research that this shot would simply not be an option for me and didn’t want to risk the rumor of having a dishonorable discharge on my record. My own personal convictions weighed heavily into the equation, as did the questionable ingredients, lack of studies, manipulated data, and watching the VAERS data skyrocket and change daily. It was a heartbreaking time for me, but I knew I had to make the decision in order to become a voice for others who would soon find themselves in situations like mine. I was told at the time by a retired CW-5 close mentor that sometimes the way to be heard is to let your feet do the talking, so that’s exactly what I did. I have spent the last 11 months advocating medical freedom for all. Helping others with religious exemptions, educating, and hopefully making a small ripple in a big body of water.

The Tennessee National Guard has always taken pride in that we come from a volunteer state and that we act as an extended family. My husband, who has around 18 years in, is now in the same shoes that I found myself in around this time last year. He has served in both the Air Force as well the Army sides of the military. He has served both enlisted as well as his most recent time as a commissioned officer. He has always been a soldier who has stepped up regardless of the task at hand. Just last year, he was needed to serve on the Covid team for the state, took a break only to serve on flood duty, then hurricane duty, and then return to the Covid team. This required a lot of sacrifice on our side, but we were both willing to help anywhere needed during a time when the public seemed to need it most. I watched as he selflessly worked LONG hours trying to arrange data in a manner that would prove that the adverse reactions were WAY too high to try and force this vaccine on anyone. I also watched as the Tennessee National Guard took his hard-earned Unit command simply because he was unvaccinated, and now most recently denied his right to transfer to a different state.

What is around the corner for our family is unknown. However, we started this journey last year in faith and that is exactly how we will continue to approach these next steps. If this deadline is not taken away, our family will lose life insurance, our three children will lose health insurance, both retirements, and a part-time job that pays several of our monthly bills. As will the other members of our extended family undeservingly lose similar benefits.

I am asking whoever reads this to put themselves in our shoes. Remember the sacrifices that were made during our journeys to even get to this place. Missed birthdays, holidays, school programs, games, and so much more to be available and ready for whatever was needed for our state, our country, and even to lend a hand to other nations.

Please review and change this policy and deadline to allow these soldiers, my family, to be able to stay in boots and continue to answer these calls that will always be coming in.


Heather Eli

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Photo “Person Getting COVID Vaccine” by Tennessee National Guard. 


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One Thought to “Voices from the Tennessee National Guard: ‘I Didn’t Have a Choice’ but to Leave”

  1. Karen L Bracken

    LEAVE. DO NOT GET THAT DEATH SHOT. No job is worth dying for.