Reward for proficient and well-decorated fighter pilot: Kick him out because he’s gay

May 20, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Fehrenbach is a fighter pilot and weapons systems specialist for the Air Force.  Aubrey Sarvis writes that Fehrenbach has excelled at everything he has done for the Air Force.  His reward?  They are kicking him out of the Air Force because he is gay.

The Air Force is about to discharge this guy, a virtual poster boy for Air Force recruiting, because he is gay? Someone has to be kidding. This is sheer madness.

Let me check my calendar . . .  yep, it’s 2009.  Obama is in office.  This is insane.  And it’s been done many times before, for instance, when the military kicked out dozens of gay Arabic language specialists during the Iraq invasion because they were also gay.   Sarvis advises that we need far more than an executive order to stop this madness to protect the remaining 65,000 gays and lesbians in the military.  We need to change DADT immediately.  We must rip it apart and choose our military personnel on one criterion: whether they can do the job.

A law is a law, even a bad law. Our country and service members are suffering the consequences as we watch this theater of the absurd play out. We need this new 111th Congress and this new President to engage each other immediately and with a sense of urgency to stop this obvious madness.

To compound this tragedy, Fehrenbach was two years shy of retiring with a full pension.   See Fehrenbach’s interview by Rachel Maddow at the top link.

[I just wrote emails to President Obama, my two Senators and to my Congressional representative to intervene. Please consider doing the same, and writing to your representatives too. Fehrenbach’s case is egregious enough, and getting enough publicity, that it just might provoke Congressional action to overturn DADT.]


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Category: Bigotry, Military, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. The absurdity of using someone's sexuality as blackmail to guarantee "image" has never been clearer. Because that's all this is—image. Many years ago, I read the Inspector General's report on the Tailhook scandal (anybody remember that one?) and subsequently had occasion to discuss it with a few people who thought it was unfair to single all these noble warriors for persecution. Reading that report and seeing the details of the behavior that brought ignominy upon these men, one can only wonder at the rank hypocrisy of the Pentagon over this policy.

    Basically, the defenders of the actions of the men in the Tailhook incidents claimed that it was necessary to let these men party outrageously because of the stress of their jobs. That their superior calling required more extreme outlets. The catalogue of behaviors, however, reads like the shenanigans of a bunch of teenagers at a weekend bash with their parents out of town, not like those of highly-trained, professional soldiers for whom discipline (and squadron morale) is such a highly-vaunted feature of their careers.

    Don't Ask Don't Tell is a screwed up compromise arranged during the occasionally gutless and fickle Clinton years to allow these "boys" to feel like "real men" (that is, heterosexual, kick-ass he-man warriors) while preserving the important "investment" the military made in members who did not fit that profile. As is pointed out in Maddow's interview, the Air Force has spent $25 million on this man in the course of 18 years and by the standards of the military he has more than paid it back. We cannot frivolously throw out that kind of talent and expertise just because he prefers male sex partners.

    This is a Cold War holdover, where there was concern (often legitimate) that people in sensitive positions could be blackmailed by enemies through their sexual orientation. They still haven't quite got the notion that if you don't make it necessary to hide something in order to serve your country, blackmail can't be applied.

    Or perhaps they do and just don't care. As I said, this is all about image.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Most of the estimated 13,000 service members discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" since the law was enacted in 1993 have opted to leave quietly and close the final chapter of their military careers in private. Groups calling for the repeal of the ban, however, say Fehrenbach is among a growing number who are going public with a newfound sense of urgency.

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