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Former colleagues who testified Monday disagreed that Ms. Witt’s firing accomplished anything — especially because it came during a shortage of flight nurses.

“We were at war at the time,” Lt. Col. Vincent Oda said. “It was the loss of an able flight nurse is what that was.”

The court also heard from other service members discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell.” One, former Army Sgt. Darren Manzella, said that when his superiors first investigated him, he gave them pictures of himself and his boyfriend kissing to make it clear he didn’t want to hide anything.

The result of that initial inquiry? “No evidence” of homosexuality, Mr. Manzella said. He served almost two more years before the Army kicked him out in 2008.

One of Ms. Witt’s lawyers, Sarah Dunne of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state, said in her opening statement that the McChord Air Force Base aeromedical evacuation squadron with which Ms. Witt served welcomed gays and lesbians, and it was her dismissal — not her orientation — that caused problems in the unit.

Mr. Schaffer, the retired master sergeant, said he went on hundreds of flights with Ms. Witt, including several missions to evacuate ill or wounded Americans from the Middle East and Afghanistan. Ms. Witt received a standing ovation when she showed up at his retirement party in 2007, he said.

Ms. Dunne said Ms. Witt received glowing performance reviews that attested to her nursing ability and leadership, even one that was written in 2005, after her suspension.

Her suspension came less than a year before she would have earned her full pension.