Reprieve for Colonel Bohannon as Air Force Reverses Punishment
In a expected turn of events, the Air Force has chosen to reverse the verdict to discipline a highly decorated colonel after he declined to publicly affirm the same gender spouse of a subordinate, who happened to be retiring at the time.
The colonel in question, Col. Leland Bohannon, was just about to be promoted to the ranks of a one-star general, but he was consequently suspended from command last year. Orders also came from upstairs that he was not to receive any promotion.
The colonel was disciplined after he refused to put his signature to a ‘certificate of spouse appreciation’ in relation to the same gender spouse of a retiring master sergeant. An investigation carried out by an Equal Opportunity investigator concluded that at the time, the colonel had knowingly shown discrimination towards the airman; and even went on to state that despite the accommodation being awarded, Col. Bohannon had nevertheless demonstrated unlawful discrimination.
First Liberty Institute, which is considered one of the country’s most highly-established religious liberty law firms, disputed that the colonel had done his best to accommodate the airman by giving a two-star general the mandate to sign the given document.
Support from Congress
Col. Bohannon had is a recipient of the Bronze Star and had previously flown some important combat missions in areas of the Middle East. He is also a recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal as well as the Air Medal. The fact that he was punished brought about strong condemnation and remarks from a majority of the Republicans in Congress.
In a letter, eight U.S. senators wrote their sentiments, stating that they felt that Col. Bohannon had suffered unfairly on several accounts in the hands of the EO investigator who had mishandled his case, as well as his religious liberty rights. In the letter, they continued on to state that the Air Force owes it to Col. Bohannon that his good name is at last restored.
Reprieve by Air Force
The previous week, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson had stated that the colonel had been ruled in favor of by the Air Force Reviews Boards Agency.
The director of the Agency had come to the conclusion that Colonel Bohannon had every right to exercise his morally held beliefs and had not unlawfully discriminated against the sergeant when he refused to sign the certificate of appreciation with regard to the same gender spouse of the Airman. This was as stated by Secretary Wilson through a letter delivered to Rep. Vicky Hartzler.
Secretary Wilson went on to state that Col. Bohannon had executed his duty as an airman by giving a higher ranked officer the opportunity to sign the certificate. General Counsel for First Liberty, Hiram Sasser, stated that he was satisfied with the decision carried out by the Air Force.
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