Master Sergeant Nickolas Kupper, an airman who’s set to retire from the Air Force in the next several months, has been told by his chain of command (CoC) that he won’t be receiving a retirement award after twenty years of service due to a Letter of Reprimand (LOR) he received for appearing on a “news network program” where he discussed the COVID-19 vaccine mandate with the host, Tucker Carlson.
Kupper appeared on Tucker’s show in July of ’22 where he discussed how his religious beliefs, and the lack of an FDA approved vaccine on his base, had impacted his decision to take the vaccine and had affected both his career and family.
His CoC reprimanded him for appearing on the show and told him he spoke in “disparaging terms about the SECDEF, including the legitimacy of the vaccination order.” They went on to state that he had “emboldened our world-wide adversaries by making ill-informed and inaccurate statements regarding military readiness and capabilities” despite him only discussing readily available, accurate and public information that had been the subject of public discourse in the media for months at that point.
Prior to receiving a LOR for taking a public stance against the mandate, Kupper had a remarkable, and highly praised, career. He was named one of the ten Outstanding Young Americans by the US JAYCEES in 2016. The Air Force Times wrote an article about him in 2017 with a headline that read “Master sergeant dedicates thousands of hours to mentoring youth, caring for orphans.” Nick was also Senior NCO of the year in 2017, Air Force Times Airman of the Year honorable mention 2017, and was nominated three times to be the superintendent to the Secretary of the Air Force, to include a nomination from the installation he’s currently serving on.
Thousands of servicemembers have conducted themselves in an exemplary manner throughout their numerous decades of service only to have their careers irreparably harmed or even ended in many cases, such as Lt. Col. Brandi King. MSgt Nick Kupper went above and beyond to serve both his country and those less fortunate, yet he’ll be dismissed without any acknowledgement from the Air Force. It’s hard to think his being denied an award is anything less than an act of pure spite due to him standing strong in his religious beliefs, which were unlawfully subverted, and his challenging of the DOD and their lack of an available, FDA approved vaccine. It is my hope that Americans everywhere will see what’s happening in the tucked away corners of the military and demand better for those who have honorably dedicated their lives in service to this country.