Lesbian officer leaves Air Force with honorable discharge

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE -- A lesbian Air Force officer who earlier this year became a national symbol of loopholes in the military's controversial Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is set to be honorably discharged today.

First Lt. Robin Chaurasiya, 25, said she plans to spend a few weeks in the St. Louis metro area before heading off to Mumbai, India -- where her immigrant parents were born -- to work full time on a charitable foundation for impoverished girls that she started.

"It's definitely going to be a bittersweet day on Monday," Chaurasiya said. "You can't just deny the fact this has been such a huge part of my life for how many years, ever since I started ROTC."

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley ordered the discharge of the 375th Air Wing communications officer Wednesday under the federal law that bans openly gay service members.

Chaurasiya, whose hometown is Seattle, joined the Air Force by way of a Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship to the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

But because Chaurasiya is exiting the Air Force early, she has been ordered to pay back some of money that financed her ROTC scholarship -- or about $16,000.

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