Victor Fehrenbach Hub

Rachel Maddow Celebrates the End of 'DADT' with Service Members: VIDEO


Rachel Maddow has tirelessly covered the process of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" since her MSNBC show began, so it makes sense that she devoted a lengthy segment to the death of the discriminatory ban featuring celebrations, coming outs, and what's going to happen to many of the military figures involved in the battle like Margaret Witt and Dan Choi. Later she was joined by Lt. Josh Seefried (founder of Outserve) & Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, live from one of the many celebrations around the country toasting the end of the ban.


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Thomas Roberts on the Final Repeal and 'Strange History' of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell': VIDEO


Thomas Roberts spoke with Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, and Fenton Bailey, who produced the new documentary The Strange History of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, about the film and the final repeal of the military gay ban this coming Tuesday.


Roberts also gives Towleroad a kind on-screen credit at the beginning of the segment - thanks, Thomas (and thanks, Dave Evans for the clip).

In related news, TIME's Mark Thompson talks to Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center, who is publishing a book, How We Won, Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" about repeal and how we got there.

Says Belkin:

From the point of view of military readiness, this issue was always a molehill, and there was never going to be any threat to readiness from allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly. So why the big deal? From a cultural perspective, this issue has always represented a line in the sand for both the gay-rights as well as the traditional-values communities. Gay groups have understood that getting rid of the military ban would be an important steppingstone for other rights like marriage equality. For traditional values groups, equal treatment of gay and lesbian troops signals the erosion of what they see as the Judeo-Christian basis of American culture. Both sides made a big deal out of the issue because, from a cultural perspective, the stakes were high.

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Watch: Rachel Maddow Discusses DADT Injunction's Function


MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last night hosted Col. Victor Fehrenbach, who was meant to be discharged under DADT, to chat about yesterday's landmark ruling against Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and explains why gay soldiers should remain in the closet for a few more months.

Watch the discussion unfold, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Watch: Rachel Maddow, Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach on the New Push for Senate 'DADT' Repeal


Rachel Maddow lays it all out — the Republican plan to filibuster the entire Defense bill in order to prevent 'DADT' repeal, a press conference involving nine Senators planned for today, and Obama's call to Senator Carl Levin on the measure, and Harry Reid's commitment to bring it to the floor.

Maddow also talks to 19-year-veteran Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach


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A Letter from Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach's Sister on DADT


With the Pentagon’s family survey now in the field, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), will release a letter each day this week from family members and spouses of former service members impacted by DADT. As the Pentagon reaches out to 150,000 straight couples on how their lives are impacted, these letters will share the perspective of those forced to serve under this law alongside their loved ones. SLDN is urging supporters of repeal to call, write, and schedule in-district meetings with both their senators as the defense budget, which contains the repeal amendment, moves to the floor just weeks from now.

August 27, 2010

Hon. Jeh C. Johnson
General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group

General Carter F. Ham
Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group

Dear Mr. Johnson and General Ham:

My name is Angela Trumbauer. I am an Air Force enlisted veteran. I was born and raised in a family of 8 children by my father, a retired Air Force officer (deceased 1979), and my widowed mother, a former Air Force officer, who just turned 78 years young this month. I am married to a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant. My stepson is an active-duty Air Force Technical Sergeant. My brother is Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, a highly decorated 19-year Air Force officer. I hail from the “military family” in every sense.

Fehrenbach Over Victor’s military career, our family had limited opportunities to see and spend time with him. He came home to Ohio for visits once or twice a year, usually over the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. I took my kids to visit him at his assigned Air Force Bases a few times over the years. We prepared and sent him care packages when he was deployed to Iraq. Vic sent me care packages when I was stationed in Greece years ago, while he was still a high school student. Reflecting back, I never gave much thought to his short 2-3 day trips home or the seemingly strained nature of the visits. All that changed in May, 2009, however, when my brother was forced to reach out and seek our family’s support in the most difficult battle of his life – fighting against his discharge under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

The revelations that have come to light and emotions evoked throughout the past year have brought a great sense of loss and heartache to our family, not unlike that experienced in grief and death. It saddened me deeply to realize that my single, younger brother could never enjoy a close personal relationship, free from fear of persecution or harassment, throughout his near 20 years serving. His family back home was free to enjoy wonderful family relationships with their spouses and children, but Vic was never to experience that same freedom and privilege while in uniform. I often wonder how alone or lonely he must have felt all those years, especially when he couldn’t even share his personal struggles with his very own family.

I recently took the opportunity to ask my brother who he would like us to notify in the event of an emergency or upon his death, after I realized he had no one else to confide in. Most soldiers and airmen have a support system in place, where their spouses or immediate family members are aware of their dying wishes and will share urgent news or handle the appropriate notifications with those closest to their loved one. In my brother’s case, I just figured the military would let us know if something happened to him and that no one else aside from his family members needed to be notified, since he was single and has no children.

Under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” the Fehrenbach family has been robbed of truly knowing and loving our brother for who he is for nearly two decades. He chose to serve in silence to protect his own family – the only family he can legally call his own – from potential exposure to investigation under DADT. We can never get those years back. Nor can we accept the damage to and destruction of our family’s long-standing military history that will result from Lt. Col. Fehrenbach’s discharge under this discriminatory and unjust law. Our family legacy goes back generations, in which our father, mother, grandfathers, spouses, children, uncles and cousins have all answered the call to serve.

Despite all the suffering that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has caused my brother and our family, we have reaped a benefit far greater than words can measure. Since I’ve come to know and understand my brother’s true identity, and because he no longer has to hide any part of himself from me, our relationship has become much closer and deeper, where we laugh and share more than ever before. Vic can now be completely open and honest with me – an element that was clearly missing in our lives and relationship in the past. I can’t express the immense pleasure I’ve experienced in getting to know my baby brother --- “Uncle Baldy” as some of our 17 nieces and nephews call him.

In light of the infinite family gains that the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” will yield, I sincerely believe that allowing open service is necessary, right, and just in every sense. Each and every service member deserves the FULL love and support of their family and friends, without fear of persecution, discrimination and harassment. A strong sense of support and love is essential for our troops at all times. It only stands to reason that overall military performance is enhanced and the resolve to accomplish the mission is strengthened by complete and unhindered family bonds.


Angela Trumbauer

CC: U.S. Sen. Carl M. Levin
Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee

U.S. Sen. John S. McCain
Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman
Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach's Discharge Under DADT Suspended

On Wednesday, I posted that Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, a decorated 19-year veteran flight officer for the U.S. Air Force, is suing to block his discharge under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Today, the AP reports that the military has halted the discharge for now:

Fehrenbach "The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network says an agreement reached Monday prevents the Air Force from discharging Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach until a judge can consider its request for a court order to stop his ouster from the military. The network, an advocacy group seeking equal treatment of gays in the military, is representing Fehrenbach in his legal fight to keep his job and last week filed a federal lawsuit in Idaho. The lawsuit asks for an order to stop the Air Force from discharging Fehrenbach until a full hearing can be scheduled. It also wants the law declared unconstitutional."


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