Some of the soldiers assigned to the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team have expressed feeling a slight bit of karmatic justice from the recent relief of COL Scott Desormeaux, the Brigade Commander, due to his sending of “inappropriate text messages to other service members”
While in command of the 256th IBCT, COL Desormeaux implemented a number of COVID-19 Vaccine related policies that ran afoul of current Army policy at the time and subjected those who weren’t vaccinated to discrimination. In a memo dated March of 2021, which was issued prior to the DOD’s August 2021 vaccine mandate, COL Desormeaux ordered restrictions which limited all “US Military Personnel from off-LSA facilities unless fully vaccinated” (the LSA referring to Erbil Air Base in Iraq as part of Operation Inherent Resolve).
Despite a lack of alternative options for the deployed soldiers, gym use was limited or even completely restricted if soldiers refused to receive an Emergency Use Authorized vaccine. Not only did COL Desormeaux state that his intent was to “exempt those who have been fully vaccinated from potential future shutdowns,” but he also threatened punitive action in the form of possible fines up to $1,000 or imprisonment for those who may be found in violation of the policy.
Regardless of whether or not the many violations of federal law under 10 U.S. Code 1107a are ever answered for in a court of law, servicemembers who suffered under discriminative “health and readiness” related policies will likely find satisfaction in knowing the law caught up with individuals like this in one way or another.