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Discussion Starter #1
I am contemplating applying to the U.S airforce academy this fall, and I found my athsma to be a disqualification factor according to the academy's website. My plan was to do army ROTC in college if I didnt make it into the academy, but I suspect that they don't allow athsmatics either; I would really like to serve my country and have the military pay for my college, but i am not sure that it is possible for me at this point. Do any of you guys have experience with this or have an answer? I am in otherwise great shape medically and physically and am a high school swimmer, so I am not some lard ass that is out of shape. I appreciate your advice and your responses. :)
 

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The short answer? Yes, athsma is disqualifying. But I can tell you that I had guys in my class at USAFA and in pilot training who used their inhalers very discretely. Not saying it's right to hide a medical condition... just saying that I've served with some real good guys who found a way to apply stealth to their conditions in order to serve their country.
 

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First, don't tell them. Your civilian medical records are private and only you can release them to the government. If they require something then either talk to your doctor not to declare anything or go to another and get a cold physical with no mention of your previous history. I had asthma that set in in adolesance as opposed to childhood asthma. In fact I was probably miss diagnosed and it was probably more due to puberty and allergies than true asthma. I outgrew it at jump school, that was the last time I can remember being dependant on an inhaler. I was in ROTC and only dropped out of a run once and resolved not to let it stop me. Most asthma in children is probably not true COPD (cronic obstructive pulmonary disease) victims and they are doped up to the point of dependancy on inhalers and drugs just because doctors are legal drug pushers. Have yourself tested for food allergies, avoid those things that seem to trigger a reaction and learn breath control and breathing exercises. The military, the medical establishment like any bureaucracy don't look at the individual, they look at statistics and place people in categories, don't let them with you if you want to serve your country and earn your place thru one of the academies or ROTC.

If you have not already applied for an appointment to the academy by now more than likely it is too late, most appoinments occur in the spring, I would recommend taking ROTC at the college of your choice that offers it, I got a scholarship after my first year and got a regular army appointment. One other piece of info for you, thought: you can love the military but the military doesn't have to love you back! Watch your six and thanks for your interest in serving.....
 

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Dude...

Everyone lies to Flight Surgeons (except me of course). It's the only way to qualify, and the only way to keep a medical. That's why the Doc's pass out condoms and hangover relief (1000mg ibuprofen) on liberity, anything to get us to talk to them. I had a bud who wore contacts while the corpsman checked his vision, then pulled them before seeing the Doc. Craned his sholders above the film plate during his chest x-ray to hide the pin left over from a football injury. Topgun grad, wing LSO, good guy. As a rather large, rather mean, Marine DI once told me, "If you're not cheating, you're not trying." Good luck.

MSG

p.s. go ROTC, the academies stunt your (social) growth.
 

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Don't currupt this fine young man by telling him to lie to a flight surgeon! Its fudging, much different than lieing, lieing is dishonest, fudging is what you do to pass the medical. Hmm, I think I heard a tax man say something like this one time...... Hotch
 

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I don't sit on medical review boards or work at a MEPS station where they do physcials for persons trying to join the military, so my expertise is limited BUT I am an active-duty Army physician. I'm a pathologist and one of my responsiblities is to perform autopsies on Soldiers who die unexpectedly.

There are medical waivers. Some medical conditions are automatic disqualifications to military service (e.g. insulin-dependent diabetes), some disqualify you from holding certain jobs such as flight duty (e.g. sickle-cell trait) but do not bar all service, some things that can be disqualifying can be waived after the medical board reviews your history, severity of symptoms, and how long you have been symptom free (e.g. attention deficit disorder requires requires that a person have been off medication for ____ years before being eligible to serve).

When you say you have "asthma", were you formally diagnosed by a physician? If so, how did he arrive at that diagnosis? How severe is it, do you require an inhaler? How often do you have attacks? These are all pertinent questions that must be considered. Lying to your doc is a bad idea. There is a good reason why certain medical conditions are disqualifications for military service--you could die and under the wrong circimstances take several people to the grave with you. If your "asthma" is truly insignificant, such as last attack was when you were in grade school, then the doc will sort you accordingly. Depending on your symptoms, you may not even have asthma, you could have some allergy such as to cat dander that is mimicking asthma. That's why its so important for a physican to review your individual medical history.

I have performed autopsies on persons who tried to "tough out" or self-treat conditions rather than go on sick call. You can't serve your country from inside a coffin.

--drdave
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, my athsma was diagnosed by my physicain at age 4, and I was hospitalized twice for it in the next two years for a couple days each trip. I now have a nebulizer machine and an inhaler just in case and take singulair to help allergies, which used to be the main cause of an attack for me. I have had 2 major attacks in the last four years that were each about a week in duration, but those started out as upper repiratory infections first and then turned into athsma. I rarely have problems now, and have not missed a day of swimming practice for it outside the above mentioned incidents though I dont really know how I would be affected by different environments.
 

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It sounds like you are talking about asthmatic bronchitis if it lasted a week. I have had asthma since I was a child, before they had nebulizers. The first nebulizers in the early 1950s were like perfume atomizers, and you put in the liquid medication instead of perfume. We have come a long way since then and you should be able to keep your condition largely in check, though physically strenuous activity, like basic training, tends to increase susceptibility to asthma attacks. Respiratory conditions also make you more vulnerable to allergic reactions. I inhaled a ladybug through my inhaler a year and a half a go and ended up in the emergency room at 2% lung capacity. Thank God for the EMTs at the fire house up the road. The point is, the risks can be high, and if you run into trouble well into your flight training and it becomes known you concealed a condition that ended up costing the Air Force a half a million dollars in wasted training, it could be more than just a big disappointment for you. Something to think about. It's a shame that such a relatively small thing can close so many doors, but it is what it is and we all have something in the ointment, so to speak. In any case, good luck with whatever you set out to do.
 

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hotchkissmtrifle said:
Don't currupt this fine young man by telling him to lie to a flight surgeon! Its fudging, much different than lieing, lieing is dishonest, fudging is what you do to pass the medical. Hmm, I think I heard a tax man say something like this one time...... Hotch
Oh, OK...

Dude...

Everyone FUDGES Flight Surgeons (except me of course). It's the only way to qualify, and the only way to keep a medical. That's why the Doc's pass out condoms and hangover relief (1000mg ibuprofen) on liberity, anything to get us to STOP FUDGING them. I had a bud who wore contacts while the corpsman checked his vision, then FUDGED THEM OUT before seeing the Doc. Craned his sholders above the film plate during his chest x-ray to FUDGE the pin left over from a football injury. Topgun grad, wing LSO, good guy. As a rather large, rather mean, Marine DI once told me, "If you're not FUDGING, you're not trying." Good luck.

MSG
 

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MJB68 said:
Hey MSG...I resemble that remark:)
It's scary. I was on a cruise with three other Mids; one from the academy, another from VMI, and the last from the Citadel (yes, I was odd man out). They couldn't understand why I was so excited to have a single room in the nurses dorm my last year in college.

MSG
 

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garandsandguts said:
Well, my athsma was diagnosed by my physicain at age 4, and I was hospitalized twice for it in the next two years for a couple days each trip. I now have a nebulizer machine and an inhaler just in case and take singulair to help allergies, which used to be the main cause of an attack for me. I have had 2 major attacks in the last four years that were each about a week in duration, but those started out as upper repiratory infections first and then turned into athsma. I rarely have problems now, and have not missed a day of swimming practice for it outside the above mentioned incidents though I dont really know how I would be affected by different environments.

So, basically, you require some serious meds and still have had incapacitating episodes in the recent past.

Not to be rude, but put a leash on your ego. In the military, your medical condition doesn't just affect you, it affects the troops who are relying on you to do your job and who will have to take care of you if you have an attack.

Can't speak for the other services, but you would be disqualified from both initial entry and retention in the Army, and I would suspect the same for the other services.

If you want to do your part, get into a good school as an engineering student. We need folks who can design reliable usable gear for troops in the field even more than we need pilots or trigger-pullers.
 

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Dude, Im a recruiter.....

"I now have a nebulizer machine and an inhaler just in case and take singulair to help allergies"

I am an Army National Guard Recruiter. As we all know, times are tough, and recruits are scarce. But I could not, with good concience, enlist a soldier who has used a nebulizer since the age of 5 or 6. And god forbid something happens to you because you concealed this condition, you will get booted and your recruiter will get in serious trouble. (Thats if the condition doesnt KILL you in some far off place where your nebulizer wasnt available.) Sorry to be so blunt, but asthma is just one of those things recruiters dont like to hear about. Good luck.
 

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i had been out of the nat grd for a few years, was looking at going back in, alls i needed was a hair cut and a pt test, all set, got sicker then hell, found out i was a type 2 diabetic, lost out on the sgt E-5 job, sign on bonus, everything, it sucks, just deal with it
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks to you all you guys for taking the time to respond to my question. I appreciate your straight and truthful answers and will take them to heart. i knew I came to the right place to ask; My uncle was in the army and said "just don't tell them", but I wanted more opinions from more people, and I got just that. Thank you for your time.
;)
 

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From a (former) US Army Medic -- 91c, Long Course

"Don't ask, don't tell." I think this is now USArmy policy, maybe law. I was frequently in charge of inductee screening. Whoever did the (whatever it's called) color-blindness test would sometimes ask when the potential inductee failed, would ask them why they wanted to join the Army -- were they running away from home, (wife, arrest, lawsuit, parents, general BS, or whatever) or because they wanted to serve their country. If they answered the latter, some examiners might say "Congratulations, you just passed!" The test is a book of colored dots -- one person would look at it and see a bunch of dots that looked to form the number "3" while a "normal" person would see a multi-colored "27". If I were you and I had a problem passing a test, or question, I'd ask the administrator of the actual test itself that if one failed the "test" and the examiner "accidentally" certified "passed" on it ,would the examiner ever likely get into potentially SERIOUS trouble -- the answer would likely be "NO," if they're honest. Well, mistakes happen! Mistakes happen. And in the Army, mistakes happen ALL the time, and nobody wants to admit it, because it goes on one's "permanent record" -- remember that from grade school? Ever seen it again? Well, it "MIGHT" be seen again in the Army if one really F's up -- like show up with a BAC over .04, I think it is, and crashes a jeep or something -- but it goes on the COMMANDER"S record too, so it's less likely to be filed if HE'S got a half-ounce of sense. You know, "CYA,". As to color blindness, what's the MAJOR need for color recognition in the world? -- RED light's on top, yellow in the middle, w/green at the bottom. If one comes to an intersection and makes a "military stop," regardless of traffic control (wheels stop turning, forward motion ceases and one counts, [one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three,] shift gears and goes,) with caution, -- WTF cares or knows? Who cares if one knows magenta from purple?!!! Now if you're flying a Warthog..., magenta might be a necessary recognition, I don't know. But I'd bet if I could fly one (with the DU cannon) I'd love to blast the **** out of some Syrians, Iranians, North Koreans, Paki's, and probably lie (I mean, evade the truth) to do it! But I'd hate to cause a "friendly fire" incident because I couldn't recognize red, but who're you planning to hurt with asthma? Ok, you get out of breath -- anyone will in the line of fire. Take your Albuterol or other OTC allergy med shipped from home with your cookies and die like a PATRIOT trying to save your buddy, democracy, or whatever your reason. I'm 62, anybody need a 62 y.o. medic?-- bet I could save a life or two still, but who wants me!? YOU DO IT!!! I'd like to help those guys find "72 virgins," (you've heard the joke about Bin Laden goin' to Paradise, haven't you?) 'cause there ain't any more virgins around HERE I've found lately!

I know of someone who had a minor MJ bust many years ago who was at a very young age -- they arrested every male in a park (probably illegally) and that person conceeded in court, (the record later got lost and was legally expunged) but was advised by an Army colonel to tell the recruiter "NO" when asked if he had any kind of arrest record. So what are they gonna' do to ya' later -- send ya' to the sandbox or home? Kick ya' out? I don't think so!!! MAYBE d/c ya', but not dishonorably, probably medical. I doubt that, because asthma or allergies are too easily treated. You might've shot a Redcoat, (illegal, of course in 1775) --smoked some pot or even borrowed a car that wasn't yours without asking. Volunteer, serve and be a Patriot, don't let a little crap, little people or little politicians stop you. I'm not a lawyer or attorney -- this advice and $1.69 will get one a cup of coffee down at the 7/11) so YMMV, that's just my two cents worth and it's worth every cent you pay for my opinion. STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE. (Oh yeah, and carry a discreet Albuterol inhaler always, Singulair, antihistamine, etcetera. Have them regularly sent from home with your cookies.) Sounds to me you MIGHT have "allergies" to everything, and EVERYBODY has allergies! BFD.

CARRY on! (With Honor, and Valor)
Best to you,
Gary
 
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