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The Pentagon's efforts to force Anthrax shots on the United States military suffered a setback when two Air Force officers filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Washington seeking to stop the mandatory program.

Maj. Sonnie Bates, 36, and Capt. John Buck, 32, brought the legal action.

Bates had been forced out of the Air Force after refusing the shots and Buck is presently a military physician stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Miss. Buck is the first doctor in the U.S. armed forces to say "no" to the controversial inoculations. His court-martial is slated to begin in mid-May.

As the highest-ranking officer and pilot so far to refuse the shots, Bates, then-stationed at Dover AFB, Delaware, was the object of much media attention. As a result, he escaped a long jail term at Leavenworth Prison. But Buck's opposition to the forced injections pose an even bigger danger to Pentagon plans. If the brass can't destroy him and send him to jail, many service members around the world will take heart that a physician has spoken out on the risks associated with the Anthrax vaccine and prevailed.

"This is a matter of conscience," Buck told "I know what's at stake, but I must do this, not only for myself, but all our men and women in uniform who have agonized over the decision to risk prison and loss of careers because they don't want to be guinea-pigs in some half-baked medical experiment."

Over one half million service members have been inoculated since 1998 but informed sources say the number reporting adverse reactions (see our story on the female NCO who died from the injections) is far greater than the 1,500 "official" total that the Pentagon uses to downplay concern.

"Many more are afraid to report adverse reactions because it could mean the end of their military career, loss of pension and other problems," an inside source told

Bates and Buck have received strong support from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal who says he feels the Anthrax "vaccine" has not been properly licensed for its present use.

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