President Biden thanked a US Coast Guard member for saving lives during Hurricane Ian — only for the hero rescue swimmer to reveal he will soon be discharged for not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
“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 Friday of his call with Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Zach Loesch, Fox News reported.
The president also spoke with Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Hooper.
“The President thanked them for saving lives and asked for a report on the work that continues to rescue Floridians. He also asked if they needed any additional support that he can provide to accelerate successful rescues,” the White House said in a readout.
But despite the tribute, Loesch told Breitbart News that he is among the service members poised to be discharged in 30 to 60 days for not following Biden’s mandate making the jabs mandatory in the military.
The heroic Coastie told the outlet that he had submitted a request for religious accommodation, as well as an appeal, but was denied both times.
“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,’” Loesch told Breitbart.
Amid the Category 4 hurricane, Loesch said he rescued a disabled woman and her husband after kicking through a wall to free them, then went back to retrieve her wheelchair, which he attached to his body as he was hoisted by a chopper.
Loesch, who also rescued several dogs and cats, told the outlet that he did not want to bring up his imminent discharge during the call with the commander-in-chief.
“It just sucks that he thanked me yet the vaccine mandate is what’s kicking me out,” he told Breitbart. “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.”
In September, about 1,200 service members filed a lawsuit against the Coast Guard and other government agencies seeking religious exemptions from the vaccination mandate.
They accused the Coast Guard of “categorically denying virtually all” religious accommodation requests – but a rep for the branch previously denied that anyone was penalized for seeking religious accommodations, according to Fox News.
Loesch is one of 2,632 Coast Guard member who refuses to get a vaccine, the Daily Mail reported.