FACT CHECK: Did Marine Corps General David Berger Say, ‘There Will Be No Mandatory Vaccinations For My Marines’?
An image shared on Facebook claims Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger told Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that “there will be no mandatory vaccinations for my marines.”
There is no record of Berger making this statement. The claim appears to originate with a website that publishes “humor, parody, and satire.”
Austin sent a memo to all military members on Monday announcing the COVID-19 vaccine will be mandatory for all military members no later than mid-September, according to NPR. A recent image circulating on Facebook claims Berger is pushing back against this decision.
The image shows a block of text next to a photo of Berger in his military uniform while testifying on Capitol Hill in 2019. “Marine Corps General David H. Berger on Monday rebuked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s edict requiring all Armed Forces personnel to submit to Covid-19 vaccinations under threat of court martial or discharge,” reads the first line. The post goes on to allege that Berger told Lloyd that “there will be no mandatory vaccinations for my marines.”
There is no record, however, of Berger saying such a thing or pushing back against the vaccine mandate. Check Your Fact searched his verified Twitter account, @CMC_MarineCorps, but found no instance of him saying there will not be mandatory vaccines for the marines. An internet search likewise turned up no news reports of Berger voicing opposition to the vaccine mandate.
“There is no truth to the information contained in the screenshot you sent me,” Jim Stenger, a spokesperson for the Marine Corps, said in an email to Check Your Fact. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Article About Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Considering ‘Defunding, Maybe Disbanding’ The US Army)
Contrary to what the post claims, Berger actually encouraged members of the Marine Corps to receive the vaccine. In December 2020, Berger tweeted a picture of himself receiving a COVID-19 vaccine along with a message that reads, “As the vaccine becomes available, I encourage all Marines and their families to get the shot to slow the spread of the virus.”
I received my #COVID19 vaccination today. It was great to see many frontline medical workers getting their shot as well. As the vaccine becomes available, I encourage all Marines and their families to get the shot to slow the spread of the virus. pic.twitter.com/nno2FxXDth
— David H. Berger (@CMC_MarineCorps) December 22, 2020
The erroneous claim appears to have originated with an Aug. 10 article published on Real Raw News, a website that states it publishes “humor, parody, and satire.” While Real Raw News includes a disclaimer, the Facebook post does not, seemingly passing the incorrect information off as factual.