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Posted on Jan 15, 2002 Print this Article


The following is a brief summary of key points discussed during depositions with Plaintiff Carey Lohrenz that followed many procedural delays. For more background information, see additional summaries posted elsewhere on this website, · In a disingenuous attempt to avoid portraying herself as a public figure, as defined under libel law, Plaintiff Carey Lohrenz claimed ignorance of the huge, ongoing national debate about women in combat and gender-based double standards in training. Attorneys entered dozens of articles into the record that featured Lohrenz and/or the ongoing debate. Publications ranged from her hometown newspaper to the New York Times. Lohrenz nevertheless claimed that there was no public controversy until Elaine Donnelly created it by publishing the 1995 CMR Special Report: Double Standards in Naval Aviation. (Lohrenz also claimed, implausibly, that she had never read the New York Times.) (Dec. 6, 1999) · In testimony before the Field Naval Aviator Evaluation Board (FNAEB), Lt. Jeffrey Trent noted that Lohrenz's performance had fallen below minimum standards, and that her flying was "undisciplined, unresponsive and unpredictable." Lt. Trent, who was Senior Staff landing signal officer (LSO) for Air Wing Eleven, also said that "Lt. Lohrenz' performance in the carrier landing environment is unsafe. She has not demonstrated the ability to fly safe, consistent and predictable passes and has not shown suitable progress toward achieving the proper technique .... Controlling Lt. Lohrenz under pitching deck conditions is nearly impossible ...." Lt. Rinehart Wilke, another LSO, expressed similar concerns about her ability to land on a pitching deck. Wilke added, "She is a friend of mine and I don't want to see her kill herself." (June 3, 1995) Superior commanders noted that she had received fair treatment, but safety was the primary consideration in removing Lohrenz from carrier aviation. · After confirming that it costs at least $1 million to train a fighter pilot, Lohrenz denied that the general public had any reason to be concerned about the gender quotas or the competence of naval aviators. Nor was it a matter of public concern whether some female pilots were receiving preferential treatment in order to qualify for combat aviation. (Dec. 7, 1999) · In answer to questions, Lohrenz said that depending on the circumstances, seven "pink sheets" given for unsatisfactory performance should not necessarily disqualify a pilot. (One or two pink sheets, called "downs" or "signals of difficulty" for unsatisfactory performance, have historically been enough to end a career in carrier aviation. F-14 training records indicate that Lohrenz had earned low scores and seven pink sheets, the last one not recorded.) Dec. 7, 1999) · Lohrenz is currently claiming that publication of the CMR Special Report in April of 1995 had a more severe effect on her ability to "compartmentalize" than the death of Kara Hultgreen and carrier landing problems that placed her on the air wing "watch list" in January, 1995. At the time, however, she did not complain of such problems, even when asked point blank by commanding officers. She now claims that stress became a "physical impairment" that should have precluded the FNAEB and her removal from carrier aviation. · On December 6, Lohrenz denied that she was disrespectful, during an interview with NBC Dateline, when she accused Capt. Dennis Gillespie, the Carrier Air Group commander, of "lying" about trend analyses of her flight performance. (Derogatory comments about a commanding officer, even if true, are forbidden by regulations.) · Lohrenz told the FNAEB that she had flown with her future husband Donovan Lohrenz, then an instructor at the NAS Kingsville basic training command, only once. (June 4, 1995) Later she admitted to flying with him ten or eleven times, but claimed in a signed response to the review board that this was not an "issue." (June 18, 1995) FNAEB findings and recommendations noted her lack of candor on this point. · In the same FNAEB response, Lohrenz said that "My squadron mates have handled well the press interest in San Diego with respect to women in Navy TACAIR... The big majority of my squadron mates have been very supportive of me in my dealings with the press articles that have been written lately. If you had to pick the TOMCAT squadron to be in, VF-213 would be the one... There is not a better group of people." · In addition, Lohrenz asserted that "I feel the air wing landing signal officers (LSOs) have been fair in their grading of my passes... I feel the FNAEB that I am undergoing now has been called appropriately because the tripwire of landing grade requirements of the CVW-11 instruction (less than 3.0 GPA) has been met." (These statements stand in stark contrast to claims she is making now.) · Contrary to claims made elsewhere, Lohrenz admitted under oath that Elaine Donnelly and the Washington Times did not "doctor," "alter," or "falsify" her training records. Nor did she do anything to request corrections or a retraction. (Dec. 7, 1999) · Lohrenz is currently questioning the squadron Grading Criteria displayed in the CMR Special Report, indicating that a performance grade of 2.90 or lower required the issuance of a "pink sheet" for unsatisfactory performance. (As explained in the CMR Special Report, pink sheets are frequently called safety of flight "downs," which require a re-fly, or "signals of difficulty," which do not.) When the FNAEB and several other review boards gave her the opportunity to challenge the same information and training record, she declined to do so. · Lohrenz claimed that the stress put on her by publication of the CMR Special Report was worse than an actual combat mission--primarily because the Navy does not train pilots on how to deal with "attacks" in the media. This claim is inconsistent with her own statement in a 1997 interview with Gregory Vistica of Newsweek, with regard to the training pilots receive to compartmentalize their emotions. Said Lohrenz, "It doesn't matter if your left foot is on fire or you've just heard that your mom and dad are dead. You do your job." (Dec. 7, 1999) · Lohrenz has accused CMR of destroying her ability to secure an airline pilot position, but admitted on Dec. 6, 1999, that she had not made any efforts to apply for such a job. · Lohrenz claimed that her FNAEB had been "voided," and that Navy officials subsequently suggested that she would be eligible to fly any plane in the inventory, including the F-18 Hornet. When asked to show credible evidence supporting these claims, she was unable to do so. (The latter suggestion was hypothetical, not a statement of fact.) · When confronted with official documents that contradict her lawsuit claims, Lohrenz repeatedly answered, "The document says what it says, but that doesn't mean that it's accurate." In almost every case, someone else or circumstances beyond her control were to blame for her problems. CL010602A * * * * * * The Center for Military Readiness is represented by Kent Masterson Brown, Frank Northam, and Chris Shaughnessy of the firm Webster, Chamberlain & Bean in Washington, D.C. Tax deductible contributions to the CMR Legal Defense Fund may be addressed to P.O. Box 51600, Livonia, Michigan 48151. For more information, please see additional Summaries and Legal Defense Updates in the Issues section of this website.
Posted on Jan 15, 2002 Print this Article