Major Discharged Over Refusal to Take Anthrax Vaccine

From Associated Press

An Air Force major was discharged Thursday, ending his fight against an order to take an anthrax vaccine.

Maj. Sonnie Bates, 35, had initially faced a court-martial for refusing an order. He was believed to have been the highest-ranking officer in the Air Force to face a court-martial for refusing an order to take the vaccine.

Bates, a pilot at Dover Air Force Base, said the vaccine could jeopardize his health. The Pentagon says it is safe.

The Air Force last month said it wouldn’t court-martial Bates and later offered him a general discharge under honorable conditions.


“I think what we really want to come out of all this is for Congress to take this issue to the floor and debate it,” Bates said. “I don’t have to worry about the vaccine, but there are a lot of people who do.”

The Pentagon wants to vaccinate all 2.4 million of its troops against the deadly biological weapon.