On 27 July, US District Judge Matthew McFarland entered a preliminary injunction prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and punishments for failing to take COVID-19 vaccinations by members of the Air Force who requested religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
A couple weeks ago he issued a temporary restraining order and directed both sides in the case to submit their arguments for or against a longer-lasting preliminary injunction. Both sides complied. The judge was not swayed by the filing submitted by Biden Administration lawyers.
Under the new order, the Air Force, Space Force and Air National Guard cannot take disciplinary action or attempt to separate members who have requested a religious exemption on or after Sept. 1, 2021, and who were found by a chaplain to have a “sincerely held religious belief.”
The Air Force is the second service to receive such an injunction; the Navy’s was issued in the spring. The injunctions are valid until the cases are fully resolved in the courts. Army and Coast Guard members are still at risk.
An eye-catching billboard flies high in the skies of Colorado Springs, reaching out to patriots who want to help STARRS save America. From July 1 for five weeks, all who drive by the intersection of Nevada and Garden of the Gods will be encouraged to join the fight to preserve our country! Our website is prominently displayed to enable passers-by to access clear facts about ideologies and movements destroying the United States from within and to help as many as possible come out from under the spell of socialist/Marxist propaganda and mental oppression.
Man’s Flight through Life is Sustained By The Power of His Knowledge. These are the words on the Eagle and Fledglings statue outside the doors of Mitchell Hall at the Air Force Academy. They have been there since the USAFA opened. STARRS provides the information individuals need to combat the forces pressing against the survival of the freedom, health, and life of our citizens and our country.
In the attached open letter USAFA grad Scott Dunphy compares USAFA Association of Graduates (AOG) 2006 and 2022 survey reports showing a 12% drop in graduate pride in the Academy. This 2022 Survey is discussed in the USAFA magazine Checkpoints, June 2022, pages 16-23. Scott feels that the sample size and confidence level is excellent and highly valuable. The results are still being analyzed with additional information expected to be published later this summer. Scott’s open letter to the AOG expresses concerns on the downtrend of pride in the USAFA and queries the interpretation of the comments.
One point is that 92% of grads were proud in 2006. That dropped to 80% in 2022. He offers the lack of candor from the DoD, USAFA and AOG may be the cause of decline. Another comment in the letter is that Scott was not impressed with the positive spin the AOG put on the Afghan withdrawal; so why should we expect them to provide a realistic, candid and unbiased analysis of the survey.
As a note of comparison, it is typical for schools to have a 90% positive rating among grads.
Scott concludes with “If anyone would like to engage in friendly, polite debate in the comments below, I’d welcome it.”
Open Letter: https://thoughtspossiblyworthexpressing.blogspot.com/2022/06/concerns-about-usafa-aog-2022-survey.html
Since we introduced you to Dana’s situation Thursday, STARRS has put out a press release and she and her attorney (and STARRS General Counsel) Mike Rose were interviewed by Brian Kilmeade on Fox and Friends. The local Colorado Springs paper wrote an article that includes the basics and goes into more detail about her accomplishments working at AFA. Colorado Spring’s television station 13, KRDO, published an investigative report on the situation. We have also received comments from people who worked with her.
As a reminder, in the “Notice of Termination” dated 31 May, 2022 Dana was told “This is non-disciplinary and not personal to you.” She submitted a letter requesting reconsideration and pointing out the termination date was two months short of retirement benefit eligibility. In reply, she received an email on 8 June from the Executive Director of AFA Athletic Programs stating:
“To be clear, the decision not to renew your contract was based on performance and the department’s wish to go in a different coaching direction with the track & field team, not on your vaccination status. At the time of your notification, we were not aware that you were only two months shy of five years of active civilian service, which we now know is important for your retirement eligibility. Given this new information, I will extend your employment contract until 31 August 2022, so that you will be eligible for a federal retirement.”
Although Dana and STARRS are happy about this development, the fight will continue. Prior to her notice of termination, the only negative counseling she had received was in relation to the COVID vaccine. Normally, if there are performance issues with a federal employee, they are warned, mentored, and given a performance improvement plan. None of this happened.
As a testament to her superior performance and the respect she garnered from cadets she worked with, we received the following from a former AFA athlete:
“Dana is so amazing. She gives her heart and soul to everything she does. Spends her own money buying implements for the track team. When they wouldn’t let her travel to meets, she took leave and drove herself hours to be there for her kids.”
Her coach from her cadet years (and father of a current cadet) also wrote about his impressions of her:
“Dana was my star thrower. 2 Time NCAA javelin National Champion, and inches away from making the US Olympic Team. You won’t find a more honorable, amazing human being anywhere. This was an absolute gut punch reading the news of her termination. The stories my cadet (arrived home on leave yesterday) tells of Dana’s super-human dedication to her country, the AF, and her cadet athletes, nearly brought me to tears. I’m utterly disgusted beyond words at the AD for doing this.”
Click Here To Donate to STARRS; Select “Litigation Support” to help pay legal fees for Dana and others adversely effected by DoD’s vaccine mandate.
Award winning 2006 Air Force Academy graduate, Afghanistan vet, Gold Star widow, and currently the only female coach on the Track & Field staff at the Air Force Academy was harassed and is being separated two months before retirement eligibility due to not taking the COVID vaccine.
Dana Lyon is a two-time NCAA javelin champion and Academy record holder. She is a three-time All-American and captured titles in the North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships. She served two terms in the Air Force World Class Athletic Program earning national titles and records and was just two inches short of making the US 2008 Olympic Team.
Lyon is in her fifth season as an assistant coach for the Track and Field team. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Specialist, Lyon worked with men and women cross country teams, women’s basketball and women’s soccer teams. She is the only female coach on the Track & Field staff and serves as the S&C coach for the entire Track & Field and Cross Country team. Cadets have earned NCAA qualifications and improved their standings multiple times over the years in weight throw, javelin throw, discus, hammer, and shot put. Just this past year, four of her throwers debuted on Air Force’s Top 10 and claimed the school record and Mountain West Conference (MWC) title in the weight throw Last fall she coached the former American Record Holder at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Prior to returning to the Academy to coach, she served as an acquisitions officer (Hill AFB, Utah and Peterson AFB, Colo.). She was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013. Her husband was also deployed there in a different location. He was killed in action (KIA), and she escorted his body home, on their “Freedom Flight”. After this tour, while working at Peterson AFB, Lyon was encouraged to go work at the Academy as a Physical Education (PE) instructor at AFA. Senior academy officers told her that they “would take care of her.”
Dana spent the 2014-17 seasons as an assistant strength and conditioning coach and PE instructor at the Academy. In 2015, she was added to the Air Force Athletics Hall of Fame. She separated from the Air Force in 2017 to pursue a full-time coaching career with the Falcons.
As a civilian coach, Lyon submitted a religious accommodation request in November 2021 for the COVID-19 vaccine and has yet to receive a response. In the meantime, she was subject to harassment. For example, an athletic department individual accosted her in front of the cadet athletes by exclaiming “You have to be $h!tIng me, I can’t believe you won’t get the shots…don’t you care about these kids?!” in a negative tone.
Upon hearing of the firing, a cadet wrote STARRS admiring the regard for the cadets when Dana Lyon made a presentation during the class of 2025’s recognition training in front of the Memorial Wall. She spoke of the graduates who gave their lives for this country, one was her husband.
After the Jan 2021 court injunction prohibiting the termination of federal employees who refuse the vaccine, Dana explained:
“They called my boss in (without me) on 7 Feb and said, “Now that we can’t terminate her based on her shot status, what’s her job performance like?” He, of course, replied ‘Outstanding, exceeds expectations—invaluable to our program’s success.’ One month later, he tragically passed away unexpectedly…since he was the only one that had my back, and is now gone, they want me gone too. I am the only coach in the entire department who didn’t get the shots.”
Mr. Kevin Anderson, an Associate Athletic Department’s/Sports Supervisor, explained the termination was “no-cause” non-renewal, non-disciplinary and not personal, “we are going a different direction.” They set her termination date for 30 June 2022.
“With their termination actions effective 30 June, I will be two months shy of five years of Civil Service,” she told STARRS. “Therefore, I will not be eligible to even apply for a deferred retirement.” Thus, after 20 years of service, she stated she has “nothing but a death certificate for my husband.”
There is not one negative piece of documentation in her personnel files, and she is not in a deployable position. Therefore, it seems clear she is being terminated under a false pretext, whereas the real reason is she will not take the vaccine. After STARRS put the pressure on the Academy and the situation was distributed, the Academy extended her employment long enough to retire. This occurred the day before Dana Lyon appeared on Fox News.
First and foremost, we honor America’s fallen; those who served their country in combat and didn’t make it home. STARRS is focused on fighting to preserve what they died for – our constitutional republic and the honor, unity and quality of the armed forces that protect it!
Jane Hampton Cook, STARRS Board of Advisors, discusses the history and meaning of Memorial Day.
Vaccine Issue Update:
Marine Capt Tom Stewart, a 13 and a half year veteran, describes how he and other Marine pilots were grounded after submitting formal requests for religious exemptions according to service policy. He explains how the military is wasting a vast amount of money by not letting them do their jobs and describes the life threatening effects a couple pilots he knows experienced after getting the vaccine. Interestingly, none of the grounded personnel he is serving with has had COVID since they were taken off the flight schedule. (Note: Scroll down quite a ways on the linked page to get to the video)
Brig Gen Marty France, USAF (Ret), a Military Religious Freedom Foundation Advisory Board Member published an inflammatory, emotionally charged article filled with deceptive talking points degrading the cadets who have requested religious exemptions from the COVID vaccine. On 24 May, The Gazette in Colorado Springs published an editorial rebutting Brig Gen France’s positions and pointing out the errors in his arguments.
As of 26 May, the Navy has separated 1,074 sailors for not getting vaccinated after their waiver requests were denied. This number does not include many who requested religious exemptions because a federal judge has barred their separation pending the outcome of a federal lawsuit.
As word spread about the Air Force Academy’s decision not to commission graduating seniors who were denied vaccine exemptions, multiple senators introduced The Defending Freedom of Conscience for Cadets and Midshipmen Act to protect cadets and midshipmen.
Lt Gen Rod Bishop and Dr Ron Scott Interviewed on His Glory. The discussion includes examples of the divisive over-emphasis on race and other manifestations of CRT and DEI at USAFA and the tyrannical DoD COVID vaccine policies that seem to ignore scientific data. They also discuss the vaccine lawsuits STARRS is participating in to help affected cadets. The interview starts at the 8:35 point in the linked video.
Dr Robert Malone, a scientist involved in the development of the mRNA vaccine technology, says: “The more doses of these products that you receive, the higher your risk for infection, disease, and death, compared to those that remain ‘unvaccinated’.” His conclusions are based on data from numerous countries.
A 22-year Navy veteran chose to take his case to court after learning that the military services intended to implement a blanket denial policy for service members objecting to receiving non-FDA approved vaccine. The attorneys for the Navy agreed with the officer’s lawyer that no FDA fully approved vaccines are available, only emergency use approved vaccines. The review board voted 3-0 that Lt Moseley’s failure to follow the COVID vaccine did not count as misconduct and that the officer should remain in the Navy. Board members were not convinced that the vaccine order was lawful.
By Scott Sturman, M.D., STARRS Board of Advisors, USAFA ’72
In his most recent article, Dr Scott Sturman discusses how today’s landscape of the Covid battlefield is unrecognizable. The dominant, highly infectious but relatively mild Omicron variant, has morphed into a disease that primarily affects the upper respiratory tract. Natural immunity, shown in numerous studies to be superior to vaccine immunity, is burgeoning within the general population, and the CDC reports nearly 2/3 of military aged personnel demonstrate antibodies directed against the nucleocapsid antigen.
Like Don Quixote engaged in mortal combat against windmills, the Covid battlefield conditions are being distorted by DOD to suit orthodoxy; fantasy is substituted for rigorous assessment of the disease’s current risk. The DOD policies formulated nine months ago to address Covid 19 no longer apply. The Omicron variant is a different enemy with different strengths and weaknesses that requires adaptable leaders willing to apply solutions based on real time information. In comments about effective leadership, General George Patton observed, “If everybody’s thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
The DOD mindset of applying obsolete information to contemporary, rapidly changing problems threatens the defense of the country more than Covid 19.
Go To The Brownstone Article
Superintendent Says He’ll Let Cadets Have Degree!
By Tracey Meck, Col, USAF (Ret), STARRS Newsletter and Blog Editor-in-Chief, USAFA ‘87
Update 21 May: Attorney, Mike Rose, has received word from two of the cadets that they have been informed they will not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony on Wed, 25 May, due to their unvaccinated status even though they are not sick and have been participating in normal cadet activities all along.
Original blog: After a protest outside an academy gate, several published articles and interviews (including on Fox News), and a letter from Congressman Doug Lamborn, CO 5th Dist; the USAFA Superintendent, Lt Gen Rich Clarke, told the cadets that he will allow them to graduate with the degrees they earned. However, he is still refusing to grant them religious exemptions, so they will not be commissioned or allowed to serve in the military. They will also have to reimburse the Air Force for their education.
On May 10th, four Cadets First Class (seniors) were ordered to report to the superintendent’s office under the escort of their Air Officer Commanding (AOC) to discuss the status of their requests for religious exemption from taking a COVID vaccine. Representatives from the Judge Advocate and Surgeon General offices were present. The cadets’ Air Force assigned defense attorney attended via teleconference.
For background, appeals the cadets (and 12 other cadets from lower classes) submitted after being denied religious exemptions had been formally denied on March 28th and they had been given five days to start the vaccine process or start the disciplinary and dismissal process. However, their lawyers secured additional time for them to submit medical exemptions and explore other options based on on-going court cases involving other service members in similar situations.
At the meeting, Lt Gen Clark strictly and candidly informed the cadets they had until August 2nd to decide whether or not to take the vaccine before the formal disciplinary process would begin, including the following actions:
– They would not be allowed to graduate (not awarded an academic degree)
– They would not be commissioned
– The superintendent would recommend they be required to pay $160-200K for their academy education (recoupment)
– They would be issued a letter of reprimand to document their refusal to take the vaccine as supporting documentation for discharge and recoupment actions
– They would not receive pay between now and the August 2nd deadline
– They would not be allowed to get a job unless approved by the academy
They were further informed that even if they started the vaccine process right away, they would not be allowed to participate in graduation activities. Rather they could not graduate until they completed the full vaccine regiment.
One cadet asked why they were being punished for their strongly held religious beliefs and exercising their first amendment rights.
Lt Gen Clark replied that they were not being punished. Rather, their religious beliefs were not compatible with the Air Force’s mission, including keeping the force safe and ready, and upholding good morale and discipline.
Similar actions were taken against a senior midshipman from the Merchant Marine Academy who refused to take the vaccine after his exemption appeal was denied. He was recently discharged without an academic degree. He is now working with another school to transfer his credits in hopes they will award the degree.
Sixteen West Point cadets and a Naval Academy midshipman trying to commission into the Space Force are all in a similar position.