Friday, July 3, 2009

Obama Vows Gays in Military Policy Shift

Posted By on Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, the Mountain Home Air Force Pilot who faces an honorable discharge for being gay, shook President Barack Obama's hand at a recent Gay Pride event at the White House.

Fehrehnbach told KTVB News in Boise:

"I sort of made a b-line to him and introduced myself and he had that look on his face like he knew who I was. I think there were people who told him I would be there. I introduced myself, I said I'm being discharged under 'don't ask/don't tell' and the situation for me was urgent and I need your help. And, he looked me directly in the eye and said, 'we're going to get this done'.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has indicated that soldiers like Fehrenbach may be allowed to continue to serve until the Administration works out a new policy to replace Dont' Ask Don't Tell, according to the Air Force Times. Gates said there could be exceptions to enforcing the policy if whomever outed the soldier had a chip on his shoulder.

“Do we need to be driven ... to take action on somebody, if we get that information from somebody who may have vengeance in mind or blackmail or somebody who has been jilted,” Gates said.

Air Force Times estimates that if unable to finish out his career, "Fehrenbach will lose $46,000 a year in retirement pay as well as medical benefits, according to pay charts. He would get a lump sum of about $80,000, half of standard involuntary separation pay for an officer of his years, the charts show."

Fehrenbach wore civvies to the White House Pride event, fearing disciplinary action for attending a "political" event with the Commander in Chief, AF Times reports.

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