Retired US Coast Guard Vice Admiral Pens 'Open Letter' On Covid Vaccines, Calling On Other Flag Officers To Fight Mandate

by Paul Alexander

Retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral William "Dean" Lee has written an open letter to his fellow flag officers, calling for the end to the DoD 'vaccine mandate'.


October 3, 2022

‘As many of you know, I have advocated publicly for seven cadets who were recently discharged from the USCGA for failing to comply with DOD’s vaccine mandate.   Each had applied for, and had been denied, a religious exemption.   I have been publicly rebuked, harshly, for doing so.  This letter will explain the facts and circumstances underlying my actions. 

I am not now, nor have I ever been, anti-vaccine.  I took both shots and advised a number of officers and enlisted members who sought my counsel to do the same.  I find no fault in the decisions made by operational commanders at the height of the pandemic who judged it necessary to make the vaccine mandatory.   I would have done likewise.   But, as with any new disease, with time, scientific understanding has markedly increased, treatments for those infected have been developed, and the effects on both the general population and specific cohorts of the population are better known and predictable.  Unquestionably, the risks of prolonged and severe disease, and of adverse outcomes, are now reduced, particularly for those of military age and who are otherwise healthy.  

The American people have moved on.  The President himself has declared “the Pandemic is over.”   Yet, we continue with an outdated mandate and to purge good people, even though we struggle to meet our recruiting goals.   The legality of the order itself is under significant scrutiny, with at least three federal injunctions in place.  The CDC just issued new guidance that advises that the vaccinated and the unvaccinated need not be treated differently.    

It’s time to pause and reevaluate whether, for some demographics at least, the cure has become worse than the (diminishing) disease, and, in the case of the military’s mandate, whether material violations of law have occurred.  Science has rapidly moved forward, but DOD inexplicably is not keeping up.  Vaccine protocols, in practice, require demographic stratification in order to keep up with the science, particularly where the risk-benefit analysis necessarily depends on demographic considerations.

Bringing this issue into the public domain is not easy for me, for I’m keenly aware that I may appear to some to be the dissident in a club that expects blind loyalty and whose rules require that retired Flag Officers go home and shut up, leaving the service in the capable hands of those behind us.  That was my plan.  But I am not blind, and there comes a time when prior leaders should question, and seek accountability of, those responsible for maintaining the core values and culture put in place by the chiefs and officers who preceded them.  I believe now is such a time.    

The men and women in the bowels of the ship are becoming uncomfortable.  Trust is eroding as our sailors question the motives and judgment of those who, despite the evidence, are sticking to a mandate that is no longer necessary; who have resorted to apparently unlawful measures to continue enforcing it; who have embraced a culture with ideologies antithetical to unit cohesion; that divides people into identity groups; and that promotes the acceptance – without question - of flags and symbols that may be offensive to men and women of faith.  They have no voice.  There is shoal water ahead, and the ship’s bridge isn’t listening to the lookouts on the fo'c'sle.’