Coast Guard Hero Praised By Biden For Saving Lives After Ian Facing Discharge Over COVID Jab Refusal

 President Joe Biden personally thanked a Coast Guardsman for saving a 94-year-old woman in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, but the hero expects to be fired within days for rejecting the COVID vaccine.

Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Zach Loesch earned praise in a Friday phone call from the commander in chief for kicking in a wall to save a trapped, wheelchair-bound woman and her husband. The guardsman hoisted the woman in her wheelchair to a waiting helicopter, according to Breitbart, which interviewed him.

“I told him how proud of him I was and thanked him for all the work he and his Coasties are doing to save lives,” Biden said in a press release from the White House that thanked Loesch and Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hooper “for the heroic work that they and their Coast Guard colleagues have performed during search and rescue operations in response to Hurricane Ian.”

Biden said Hooper’s team also saved a one-month-old baby. It was not clear where the rescues occurred.

But the next time Loesch hears from a federal official, it could be to learn his career is over. Loesch told the news outlet he had applied for a religious exemption to avoid taking the COVID vaccine but does not expect it to be honored.

“If I had asked any of the people I saved yesterday if they wanted to come with me even though I am unvaccinated, every single one of them would have said ‘yes,’” he said.

Loesch, who also saved several pets, said he did not mention his vaccination status or anticipated dismissal in the call with Biden, saying it would not have been appropriate.

“It just sucks that he thanked me yet the vaccine mandate is what’s kicking me out,” he said. “I just love my job and I’m really good at it. It sucks. I feel like this is the job that I was born to do.”

As of Saturday afternoon, the Coast Guard had rescued or aided 442 people and 89 pets in Florida and South Carolina.

More than 2,600 members of the U.S. Coast Guard and thousands more from other military branches remain unvaccinated. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last year made the COVID vaccine mandatory for all service members, including those at the military academies. Most of the servicemembers who have refused the jab have been given general discharges, meaning they can receive benefits and rejoin the military if they get the vaccine, according to the Military Times.

There are multiple lawsuits challenging the mandate, including two in South Carolina and Texas involving Coast Guard Academy cadets who were kicked out for refusing the vaccine.

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