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This story has been corrected.
The north gate stands empty, awaiting the change over on Laughlin Air Force Base, July 15, 2021. After years of legal battles, a judge found that the Air Force, when it withdrew an offer in 2014 for a historian job at Laughlin Air Force Base, had discriminated against Dave Bighia. Weeks after the deadline, Bighia has yet to see a dime or receive a job offer. 

The north gate stands empty, awaiting the change over on Laughlin Air Force Base, July 15, 2021. After years of legal battles, a judge found that the Air Force, when it withdrew an offer in 2014 for a historian job at Laughlin Air Force Base, had discriminated against Dave Bighia. Weeks after the deadline, Bighia has yet to see a dime or receive a job offer.  (Nicholas Larsen/U.S. Air Force)

However, in March 2014, the Air Force rescinded the job offer saying Bighia could not deploy to areas that lacked a treatment facility and there was no guarantee that all possible locations would have one.

According to a report by the Air Force EEO office in 2015, the service had employed five historians who were ineligible for deployment due to health or other reasons. A summary judgment in August 2021 found that “worldwide deployability” is not an essential duty of the historian, and the agency’s historians were never required to deploy. 

“I thought in December, when the judge finally ruled in my favor, [that] things were going to get better,” Bighia said. “We’ve made it this far, but now eight months into that favorable decision, the Air Force is still jacking me around and refusing to pay and do anything that would be helpful to me, despite their admitting that they discriminated against me.”

Despite it all, Bighia still wants to work for the Air Force.

“I think for those who have worn the uniform, the desire to continue to serve our country is formed around the core values of their respective service,” Bighia said. “Those values — personal sacrifice, courage, integrity, honor, loyalty, [and] selfless service — prompted me to undertake this fight in the first place.”

Correction

This version makes corrections to details of the judgment.
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Sara Samora is a Marine Corps veteran and the veterans reporter for Stars and Stripes. A native Texan, she previously worked at the Houston Business Journal and the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. She also serves on the boards of Military Veterans in Journalism and the Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals.

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