Idaho Airman Sues Air Force to Block Possible Discharge


Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach filed papers in Idaho federal court, requesting a temporary order blocking his possible discharge under the "don't ask, don't tell policy."

In 2008, Fehrenbach was accused of violating the military's ban on homosexuality and placed on desk duty at Mountain Home Air Force Base. Within weeks, a charge of sexual assault was dismissed for lack of evidence. But by then, the Air Force had begun a new file, investigating the decorated flight officer's sexuality. Fehrenbach says he has reason to believe that he will soon be discharged.

On Wednesday, Fehrenbach's lawyers filed papers in Boise, saying that a discharge would violate the airman's rights and cause him irreparable harm.

President Obama has called for an end to the ban, and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint chiefs of staff agreed that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy should be halted. But in the meantime, gay service members continue to face investigations and possible discharge.

Capt. Derek White, an Air Force spokesman, said that Fehrenbach's case was under final review by the Air Force secretary, Michael Donley, and that until a final decision was reached, the Air Force would have no comment.

Fehrenbach will soon complete 20 years of service to the Air Force. He was deployed six times as a weapons system officer. He flew combat missions over Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.