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Navy commander relieved of duty after refusing to get vaccinated or COVID-19 tested

A top ranking US Navy commander was relieved of duty Friday night for reportedly refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine or tested for the virus.

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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A top ranking US Navy commander was relieved of duty Friday night for reportedly refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine or tested for the virus.

A senior US Navy official familiar with the situation told Fox News that Commander Lucian Kins, the USS Winston S. Churchill destroyer's number-two officer, refused to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or tested.

Naval officers confirmed to the outlet that Kins was relieved of duty due to his refusal to get tested, not because of his vaccination status.

Sources told Fox News that Kins had applied for a religious exemption. That exemption was refused by the Navy, though Kins had later appealed the decision.

In a statement to Fox News, LCDR Jason S. Fischer, a Navy spokesman, said that Kins was relieved of duty "due to loss of confidence" in his ability to perform his duties.

"On December 10, 2021, Commander, Naval Surface Squadron 14, Capt. Ken Anderson, relieved Cmdr. Lucian Kins as executive officer of USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) due to loss of confidence in Kins' ability to perform his duties," Fischer said.

"Lt. Cmdr. Han Yi, the ship's plans and tactics officer, is temporarily assigned as executive officer until a permanent relief is identified" and that Kins will be "reassigned to the staff of Naval Surface Squadron 14," he added.

Kins was reportedly on track to become the destroyer's commander within the next year and a half.

In August, the Biden administration announced that all active duty soldiers would be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The navy gave a deadline of late November for all personnel to be vaccinated, or request an exemption.

According to the New York Post, thousands of US military service members have requested religious exemptions, though no exemptions have been granted.

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