August 12, 2010 in Nation/World

Officer challenges ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Dan Popkey McClatchy
 

BOISE – A gay officer at Idaho’s Mountain Home Air Force Base sued Wednesday to block his dismissal and overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach asked a federal court in Boise to strike down the 1993 law that mandates “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Fehrenbach, with 19 years in the Air Force, learned last week that the Air Force Personnel Board recommended his discharge to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley.

His lawsuit says his admission of homosexual conduct was obtained under “coercive circumstances” and that he spoke to clear himself of false allegations of rape.

Fehrenbach was a weapons systems officer on F-15Es who served in Iraq and won nine Air Medals, including one with a valor device.

He was questioned by Boise police and the Air Force in May 2008 after a Boise man alleged he was raped by Fehrenbach. After that, he was grounded, but he remains at Mountain Home Air Force Base.

Both agencies determined the rape complaint was unfounded.

Fehrenbach became a leading national opponent of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2009 when he appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC. He has made subsequent TV appearances and lobbied President Barack Obama for repeal in 2009 at the White House.


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