The decision comes as the Pentagon misses recruiting goals. In 2022 it fell short by 25%.
“Individuals who desire to apply to return to service should contact their local … recruiter,” Brig. Gen. Hope Rampy wrote in a letter sent to former Army personnel.
Rampy also told former soldiers who refused the shot that they could have their military records expunged.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in 2022 when the first soldiers were discharged, “Unvaccinated soldiers present risk to the force and jeopardize readiness.” The Pentagon also suspended most soldiers who asked for exemptions from the mandate.
The Army has not explained why an unvaccinated soldier was a risk previously but is not now a risk.
Multiple military branches have struggled to attract new recruits in recent years.
In response, officials have implemented changes in recruitment strategy, including targeting college graduates and giving bonuses as high as $50,000.
As of November, just 19 soldiers have returned after thousands who were kicked out.
Bradley Miller, a former Army lieutenant colonel, was one of those removed. He was relieved of his command in October 2021 and resigned shortly before hitting the 20-year mark, missing out on a pension, because he questioned the safety of the COVID-19 shots.
“I never trusted whether the vaccines would ever be safe or would ever do what they were supposed to do. And as a commander, I certainly never wanted to order my troops, who might also be hesitant, to take the vaccine either,” he told American Family News of his decision.
Members of Congress are responding to the Military’s decision.
“We’re all glad to see the Army is reversing its persecution of soldiers who refused to get the COVID vaccine, but that doesn’t take away the damage this caused to our troops,” Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) wrote Twitter.