Army chaplain under investigation for calling transgender troops ‘mentally unfit’ to serve

Chaplains represent "hundreds of American denominations and faith traditions" and are "charged to nurture the living."

An Army chaplain with the 3rd Security Forces Assistant Brigade is under investigation after calling transgender troops “mentally unfit (ill)” to serve on Facebook.

Maj. Andrew Calvert, an active-duty soldier who joined the Army in May 2009, responded on Facebook to a post by Army Times about President Joe Biden’s reversal of the Trump administration’s ban on transgender service members saying that transgender troops are a “MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen.”

“How is rejecting reality (biology) not evidence that a person is mentally unfit (ill), and thus making that person unqualified to serve,” Calvert said, according to a screenshot posted on Twitter. “There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

According to the Army’s career description, chaplains are religious leaders who represent “hundreds of American denominations and faith traditions,” “charged to nurture the living,” and tasked with bringing “soldiers to God and God to soldiers.”

A spokesperson for the Security Forces Assistance Command said the Army was aware of Calvert’s comments, and the 3rd SFAB was investigating.

On Tuesday, the command reminded soldiers on Facebook to “‘Think, Type, Post’ when it comes to engaging in conversations on social media platforms. “The Security Force Assistance Command Enterprise fully supports the Commander in Chief, Secretary of Defense and all DoD policies. The United States Army has a strict standard against any form of discrimination based on gender identity,” the post said.

On Monday, Biden signed an executive order ending the Defense Department’s transgender policy, which barred people with a gender dysphoria diagnosis from joining the military unless they had not begun treatments to transition to a new gender or had been “stable…in their biological sex” for 36 months.

In 2018, all four service chiefs testified before Congress that they saw no negative impact from transgender troops serving in the military, which is “the largest employer of transgender people in America,” according to the Human Rights Campaign.

“America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive. The military is no exception,” the White House said in a statement on Monday. “Allowing all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform is better for the military and better for the country because an inclusive force is a more effective force. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do and is in our national interest.”

Featured photo: Then-Capt. Andrew Calvert. (U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School video)

Haley Britzky

Haley Britzkyis the Army reporter for Task & Purpose, covering the daily happenings in the Army and how they impact soldiers and their families, as well as broader national security issues. Originally from Texas, Haley previously worked at Axios before joining Task & Purpose in January 2019. Contact the author here.