This effort for records corrections is dedicated to Lt. Col. Russ Dingle, USAF Reserves, retired, who passed away September 4, 2005 after a valiant fight with cancer. As an Air Force Officer and Fighter Pilot, Russ flew over 2,000 hours in the A-10 Thunderbolt II on active-duty, and served as an Instructor Pilot and a Flight Commander for the Connecticut Air National Guard, earning multiple awards as "Top Gun." Russ was selected to lead a flight of A-10's in the U.S. Air Force Gunsmoke competition in 1993, and support of the United Nation's peacekeeping mission over Bosnia in 1996. LtCol Dingle's career was uniquely distinguished by his noble advocacy for Soldier's Health Rights, testifying as an expert witness for the U.S. Congress in 1999, as well as serving as an expert for the Government Accountability Office and the Connecticut Attorney General's Office. Russ' exemplary career included over 16 years of service as a pilot and Captain for American Airlines in the Boeing 767, 737, and S-80. Russ will always be remembered as the intellectual force behind accountability efforts on the anthrax vaccine. His family, as well as his fellow citizens and soldiers, miss him dearly, but will eternally benefit from his life's accomplishments, courage, service, leadership, and most importantly, his honor.
See footnote 83, testimony of Maj. Russell Dingle, NSVAIR anthrax hearing (I), p. 49.
See footnote 83...
"Others question the necessity of the program, asking whether it betrays a lack of confidence in deterrence and other force protection elements, and suggesting a vaccine program makes anthrax attack more, not less, likely." 83
See footnote 83, Testimony of Capt. Thomas Rempfer, NSVAIR anthrax hearing (I), pp. 40–41.
"...We are not speaking out against a vaccine for public health issues. We take a lot of shots. We have always taken them. We are speaking out against vaccines against biological weapons."
And, see footnotes 119 - 121...
"But some service members see an important difference between the physical body armor worn in battle, which can be removed, and medical prophylaxis, which cannot. ‘‘The body armor that our Department of Defense refers to is perceived by many service members as ‘tin foil armor.’’’ 119
"Primary reliance on medical intervention may also undermine confidence in other elements of the force protection hierarchy. One hearing witness asked if the vaccine might not ‘'create a facade of
force protection’’ provoking an adversary to even more lethal chem/bio or conventional attack.'" 120
"He noted: 'These foundations of force protection rely on a credible willingness to use force. This resolve won the Cold War and it won the Gulf war. Abandoning this time tested doctrine and emphasizing the inevitability of biological attack to advocate a defensive anthrax vaccination policy may inadvertently result in legitimizing biological warfare.'" 121
House Government Reform Committee hearing on "Defense Vaccines: Force Protection or False Security?’’ October 12, 1999; Testimony begins at page 111 of 744 (also page 99 of PDF)...
"...I am here to discuss another reason for the growing retention problem generated by the anthrax vaccination policy: it is integrity, and its relationship to doctrine. After exhausting all avenues within my chain of command, and communicating with hundreds of service members over the past year, I have concluded that the root cause of the negative reaction to the anthrax vaccination policy is a sense that the professional standards demanded of military personnel have been consistently violated by those implementing this policy. It is not, as DOD officials assert, simply a failure to educate, but instead a failure to communicate the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Here are just a few examples:...
In 2001 Dingle and Rempfer filed a Citizen Petition with the FDA in accordance with 21 CFR 10.30: Citizen Petition
In 2002 the FDA responded to the Petition acknowledging the formal review of the anthrax vaccine license was incomplete, and that the Agency was required to publish a final rule.
In 2003 the Federal Courts cited the Petition, and the lack of a final licensing rule, and halted the mandatory program until the licensing was complete.
The Court concluded:
"In sum, because the record is devoid of an FDA decision on the investigational status of AVA, this Court must determine AVA's status for itself. This Court is persuaded that AVA is an investigational drug and a drug being used for an unapproved purpose. As a result of this status, the DoD is in
violation of 10 U.S.C. § 1107, Executive Order 13139, and DoD Directive 6200.2. Thus, because the plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits, defendants will not face substantial harm by the imposition of an injunction, the public interest is served, and plaintiffs face irreparable harm, the Court finds that the plaintiffs meet the requirements for a Preliminary Injunction.
The women and men of our armed forces put their lives on the line every day to preserve and safeguard the freedoms that all Americans cherish and enjoy. Absent an informed consent or
presidential waiver, the United States cannot demand that members of the armed forces also serve as guinea pigs for experimental drugs."
OpEd related to the internal military profession's conflict over duty and trust...
...As noted Harvard scholar Samuel Huntington observed, our professional standards justify disobedience when a military leader is ordered to take a measure that is militarily absurd. Those professional standards are spelled out in our honor code and oath of office.
So when a senior military leader recently said to me, "Perhaps if you don't trust the military anymore, you need to hang up your uniform," I didn't hesitate to respond, "With due respect, sir, my duty is to be a member of a military that is trustworthy."
LtCol Tom "Buzz" Rempfer, USAF retired, ended his USAF career instructing and evaluating MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper missions. Past US Air Force flying assignments included duty as an F-16 flight lead, F-117 instructor pilot, C-130 aircraft commander and A-10 forward air controller, with total flight time of over 5,500 hours. He earned a Master's Degree through the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security, and received the program's Outstanding Thesis Award. LtCol Rempfer was a distinguished graduate from USAF Pilot Training and the USAF Academy where he was an all-American boxer.
This cartoon depicts trust issues, yet many Service-members continued to serve their nation, despite refusing the vaccine, highlighting the inequities imposed on other troops that were jailed, demoted, fined and discharged less than honorably.
The new Clemency guidance to our nation's military correction boards provides a unique opportunity for our troops to ask for redress, request corrections to their records for not only the fact that the anthrax vaccine mandate was illegal prior to December 19, 2005, but also based on the documented inequities where military justice was inequitably applied.
The Honorable William Cohen served as the Secretary of Defense (1997–2001) under President William Clinton. He launched the anthrax vaccine program in response to concerns about WMD in the middle-east. SecDef Cohen was misled about the legality of the program, as were all of our commanders and troops.
The Monkees, lyrics embody ethical struggles faced by military members with the anthrax vaccine:
When the world and I were young...
It was easy then to tell right from wrong
Easy then to tell weak from strong
When a man should stand and fight
Or just go along
But today there is no day or night
Today there is no dark or light
Today there is no black or white
Only shades of gray
I remember when the answers seemed so clear
We had never lived with doubt or tasted fear
It was easy then to tell truth from lies...