The Air Force has agreed to upgrade a
91-year-old veteran's discharge for being gay from undesirable to
H. Edwards Spires filed a lawsuit in
November over his 1948 discharge.
Spires' attorney said that the Air
Force Review Board Agency informed Spires in a six-page notice that
his records “should be corrected” after review of his case is
Prior to passage of Don't Ask, Don't
Tell in 1993, the military had an outright ban on gay troops and
actively drummed them out of the armed forces.
Spires was accused of being gay after
he attended an off-base Halloween party. After he refused to
cooperate in outing other members of his unit, he was discharged with
an “undesirable” status for being gay.
Spires, who is said to be in bad
health, has twice applied for a discharge status upgrade, both of
which have been denied, the first on the grounds that the Air Force
could not locate vital records due to a fire. The Air Force last year
agreed to reconsider Spires' more recent request but refused to
provide a timeline.
“[W]e believe it is more likely than
not the applicant was discharged for his sexual orientation and there
were no aggravating factors in the record that could, in and of
themselves, form the basis of an adverse discharge,” the Air Force
wrote this week.
Without an honorable discharge, Spires'
wish of being buried with military honors isn't possible.