Lt. Colonel Fehrenbach interviewed on MSNBC.

Barack Obama’s election promise to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gay and lesbian personnel seems increasingly hollow as a distinguished 18 year military veteran is fired for being gay.

Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach had originally expected President Obama to end the policy after he came into office. However, Obama still has no plans to repeal the ban, despite the very public recent dismissals of two other service members, Dan Choi and Sandy Taso, because of their sexuality.

Fehrenbach served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and flew the longest combat sorties in his squadron’s history, destroying Taliban and Al Qaeda targets in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. After the September 11 attacks, Fehrenbach was handpicked to protect the airspace over Washington, D.C. He was just two years shy of retirement when he received news of his dismissal.

“What an utter waste of talent,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the Service Members Legal Defence Network’s executive director. “The Colonel has a sterling combat record, does a fantastic job for his country every day and has all the medals and job performance evaluations to prove it. He did not disrupt unit cohesion or good order. But the bottom line is he’s gay, so he’s out.”

“Since 1987, when Fehrenbach entered Notre Dame on a full Air Force ROTC scholarship, the government has invested twenty-five million dollars in training and equipping him to serve his country, which he has done with what anyone would agree was great distinction,” Sarvis said.

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy refers to the US military’s practice of not asking recruits their sexual orientation and in turn service members are banned from saying they are gay or bisexual, engaging in homosexual activity or trying to marry a member of the same sex.

Calls urging Obama to issue an executive order to put a moratorium on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell have been rejected by the White House.

“What we need is Congress and this new President to engage each other immediately and with a sense of urgency to stop this madness”, said Sarvis.

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