The purpose of this page is to provide resources and guidance for Marines seeking a religious accommodation for the COVID-19 vaccination. The focus is on the material which is needed to understand the process and proper composition of requests in accordance with Marine Corps (USMC) orders and regulations. Descriptions will be provided for some of the documents here which can then be downloaded. Additionally, FOR-US has highlighted aspects that are considered pertinent on some of these documents. This page will be updated as needed to reflect any changes in Department of Defense (DoD), Department of the Navy (DoN), and USMC policy, and is current as of 1 October 2021.
The content of requests for religious accommodation are personalized by their very nature and necessarily unique to the individual Marine making each request. Therefore, this page will not delve into the content of requests. It is strongly recommended that Marines acquire a thorough understanding of the material here, chronologically, upon which they can navigate to the Religious Accommodation Justification Index (hyperlinked) page for examples of content which may be useful in constructing their requests. Chronological topics covered are:
Below you will find the USMC mandate for the COVID-19 vaccination, which is derived from the DoN mandate, which, in turn, is derived from the DoD Memorandum. Focus should be on the USMC mandate which ought to be thoroughly read and understood. The DoD memo and DoN mandate are included for optional review.
COVID-19 Vaccine Command-Specific Orders
It is customary for subordinate commanders to issue their own, specific orders to ensure they are in compliance with the USMC mandate, and those will be posted here as FOR-US acquires them. Marines assigned to commands which have issued such orders are encouraged to thoroughly familiarize themselves with them as they may contain specific guidance on religious accommodation requests, deadlines for submission, routing procedures, etc. Provided are the Marine Forces Europe-Africa and Marine Forces Reserve (MFR) orders.
Here you will find the USMC Marine Corps Order (MCO) on religious accommodations (of all types), which is derived from the DoN Secretary of the Navy Instruction (SECNAVINST), which, in turn, is derived from the DoD Instruction (DoDI). Focus should be on the MCO which MUST to be thoroughly read and understood. The MCO provides fundamental guidance governing the entire process for requests, with which the USMC is obliged to comply. The SECNAVINST and DoDI are included for optional review. Also included for optional review are additional policies and references (BUMEDINST, etc.) that guide the USMC in vaccinations. Importantly, some aspects of requests for religious accommodation require written letters, which ought to be composed utilizing standard naval correspondence format, details of which can be found in the SECNAV M-5216.5 DoN Correspondence Manual, Chapter 7.
Forms & Templates
With a solid understanding of the mandates, command-specific orders (if applicable), and the references (especially MCO 1730.9), Marines will need the following forms and documents to submit their requests. The NAVMC Administrative Action Form has been partially pre-populated for ease and a standard naval correspondence format template are included for Marines wishing to submit letters or statements with their requests. An explanation of how these documents are utilized is found in the "Religious Accommodation Process Instructions" section.
Religious Accommodation Process Instructions
Here you will find step-by-step instructions, recommendations, and some considerations for submitting a request for religious accommodation. Additionally, any command-specific processes that FOR-US are able to acquire will be found.
Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the mandates, command-specific orders (if applicable), and references (especially MCO 1730.9) in previous sections on this page.
Inform your chain-of-command of your intent to request a religious accommodation. Maintain your professionalism, discipline, bearing, and tact, but remain firm and resolute. Your command may offer to assist you or provide guidance in the process. Do not discuss the request with anyone else in your command except those who need to know (senior enlisted, S-1, etc.). Save copies of everything and all communication with your chain-of-command. It might be useful to maintain a logbook of chronological events that include the five W's (who, what, when, where, why).
Schedule an interview with a Chaplain. This can be any chaplain, but preferably a Navy chaplain. For assistance finding a chaplain, email here (hyperlink).
Complete the Chaplain Interview Checklist and Chaplain MFR (listed in the Forms & Templates section) prior to your interview, and provide both to the chaplain for editing and signature. The Chaplain Interview Checklist and Chaplain MFR are required documents, per MCO 1730.9.
Complete the interview with the chaplain.
Obtain a letter or statement confirming your faith from a religious leader or ministry (optional step, but encouraged). A personalized letter may be best. This does not have to be in naval correspondence format.
Compose a letter of your own explaining your faith and reasoning for requesting religious accommodation (optional step). Be sure to use naval correspondence format.
If you have retained legal representation, discuss with your counsel the possibility of obtaining a letter from them to include with your request (optional step). This does not have to be in naval correspondence format.
Complete the NAVMC 10274 Administrative Action Form (listed in the Forms & Templates section), and include all letters you've obtained as enclosures (Chaplain Interview Checklist, Chaplain MFR, etc.)
Route the NAVMC 10274 Administrative Action Form (with enclosures) through your chain-of-command for endorsement and action. Your command senior enlisted or S-1 may return the NAVMC 10274 Administrative Action Form with clerical corrections. If this happens, make the corrections, and re-route.