TACOMA, Wash., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A U.S. Air Force officer suspended under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy says she "can't wait" to return to duty now that a judge has ordered her reinstated.
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton ruled Friday in Tacoma, Wash., retired Maj. Margaret Witt's presence "would not adversely affect unit morale or cohesion" and ordered the Air Force to reinstate her, The Seattle Times reported.
It is the first time a judge has ordered a service member reinstated since the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on open military service by gays and lesbians was imposed in 1993, the newspaper said.
Witt, of Spokane, joined the Air Force in 1987. She was suspended in 2004 when commanders determined she is a lesbian.
"I can't wait to just do my job," Witt said after the ruling. "Go back to my unit and do what I'm supposed to do."
U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled last week in Riverside, Calif., the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is unconstitutional.
The U.S. Justice Department has asked Phillips to refrain from ordering an immediate end of enforcement of the policy. In a court filing this week, the department said any injunction on the policy should be limited to service members involved in a lawsuit brought by the Log Cabin Republicans.
U.S. Senate Republicans this week blocked an Obama administration effort to authorize the Defense Department to end the policy.