Meet Anonymous Airman #7 of AFPI’s Lawsuit against the Biden Department of Defense

March 31, 2022

Eastern Europe is being ravaged by war. An old enemy has resurfaced. At a time when America needs its best, highly trained men and women in uniform, especially those specifically trained in Russian, the Biden Administration is kicking many out—even those we invested years and millions of dollars in preparing for exactly this adversary and this moment.

Anonymous Airman #7 is an Air Force Reserve Member who serves on an Air Force Base[1]. He is a Russian Linguist, dedicating his life to translating intelligence communications, providing threat warnings, and assisting in future mission planning—skills that are beneficial to the success of our Nation’s military.

After serving for nearly 20 years, Anonymous Airman #7’s time in the military may be forced to an end due to his religious objection to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. During his years of service, he has completed special intelligence and language trainings and has played a critical role in intelligence collection. His skill set is invaluable, especially during this time of heightened global tensions with Russia. Now, due to the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate, Anonymous Airman #7 is facing discharge from the military, loss of income, and having his benefits stripped away all because his religious beliefs do not align with the invasive and overreaching policies of the Biden Administration.

In accordance with Department of Defense policy, Anonymous Airman #7 submitted a Religious Accommodation Request, respectfully refusing to take the vaccine based on sincerely held religious beliefs. His request to be exempted from taking the vaccine for religious reasons and subsequent appeal have been denied, resulting in an imminent involuntary separation from the Air Force. Unfortunately, he is not alone. What is happening to Anonymous Airman #7 is just one example of thousands of Airmen who have been put in a position to choose between God or the federal government.

As of March 1, the Air Force has denied 4,637 Religious Accommodation Requests and granted only 17—meaning 99.6% of airmen’s pleas have been rejected. At the same time, the Air Force has allowed 2,980 administrative and medical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine. Administrative exemptions are typically granted when service members have a planned separation or retirement within 180 days and will not be deployed, while medical exemptions are also commonly granted in situations where service members have a known history of severe allergic reactions to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine. This highlights the injustice that religious exemptions are almost always disregarded while other exemptions are commonly considered and allowed.  

Anonymous Airman #7 is just 1 of 36 service members being represented by the America First Policy Institute in a lawsuit against the Department of Defense and several other defendants associated with the United States Air Force and Air National Guard. These defendants are enforcing the unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine mandate and infringing upon the religious liberties of those who bravely serve our Nation. The lawsuit and its accompanying preliminary injunction request seek to prevent the defendants from terminating these service members in violation of the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

When our fearless American troops must once again stare down Russia and Vladimir Putin, why should President Biden and the Department of Defense waste their time and resources questioning the vaccination status and religious beliefs of our servicemen and women? Our military members—including Anonymous Airman #7— voluntarily serve to protect this Nation and swore an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies—foreign or domestic.” The oath does not say, depending on their vaccination status.

Rachel Jag serves as the Associate Attorney, Consittutional Litigation Partnership for the American First Policy Institute (AFPI).

[1] Due to his possession of sensitive, top-secret intelligence, we will not reveal Anonymous Airman #7’s name, but his story is real. 

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