A federal judge in Ohio has blocked the United States military, under orders from the President, from disciplining a dozen US Air Force officers who appealed the mandate to take the COVID vaccine on religious grounds.

The group, mostly officers stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, had filed a lawsuit in February when their requests for exemptions were denied.

getty images
getty images
loading...

But the group also included a number of Air Force airmen and reservists. Among those appealing the President's order was Sr. Airman Faith Crocker, stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base.

Crocker, the daughter of a Baptist minister, said her sincerely held religious beliefs had led her to carefully consider, but ultimately decline the the military's mandated COVID vaccine. Despite her stellar record, the Air Force had threatened Crocker - and the others - with involuntary discharge.

United States District Court Judge Matthew McFarland granted the preliminary injunction preventing the Air Force from acting against the officers, airmen and reservists until their lawsuit is resolved.

Crocker and the others claim the Air Force used a double standard when it came to approving exemptions, pointing out that thousands had been approved for medical and administrative reasons, but only a few on religious grounds.

getty images
getty images
loading...

"Airman Crocker was being made to choose between serving her faith and serving her country," said her attorney, James Baehr. "And we're fighting her separation both for her and for other service members at Barksdale and across the country who want the freedom to practice their faith."

Until the court rulings, the government was threatening military personnel who refused the vaccine with disciplinary measures up to and including discharge from their respective branch of service.

In a related story, last week a federal judge in Texas barred the Navy from taking action against sailors who have also refused the vaccine for religious reasons

LOOK: 100 years of American military history

America's Most Conservative Presidents Ever