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Militry medical retirement or stick it out?
Old 05-09-2009, 06:32 PM   #1
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Militry medical retirement or stick it out?

Hello all,
I have searched all over the internet for advice on my situation only to find confusing and conflicting data. This board seems to have some very intelligent members that offer some strong advice and would like to pose my question in attempt to find some answers and or advice.
I have been in the Military for 14 years now and have had a few medical complications that have made me doubt staying in through retirement. Upon my enlistment I disclosed a prior medical condition from when I was a child. The condition was the removal of some of my small intestines caused by gang green. After medical review and signing a waiver I was allowed to enter the service. I have not had any issues related to that surgery until this current deployment to Iraq. Within the first week of being deployed the temperatures were 120’s – 130 and my body could not stay hydrated due to my lack of small intestine. As a result of that I got so dehydrated that after a meal I developed a blockage in my intestines and I was evacuated to Germany for treatment. I was drinking about 8 – 12 liters of water a day and this blockage still occurred. Upon release from Germany and re deployed to Iraq my flight Doc grounded me so that he could try to find some medicine that would allow me to retain my water. He started treating me and my case got better. However, I was restricted to flight only during night hours due to the fact that medicine will not fix the problem completely during extreme weather. Also due to my shortened intestines I have had other related injuries that have occurred on active duty due to the lack of my body absorbing vitamins and nutrients: Advanced Ostia arthritis in both knees, surgery in one knee and dislocated shoulders and surgeries.
The question I pose is should I request a medical board? As of now my current command is supportive and will allow me to fly at night only due to the cooler temperatures. If my next command does not agree with or follow my flight Doc’s advice I can find myself forward deployed, flying during the day, passing out in flight due to dehydration, or passing out while grounded and being worked like a slave and having to rely on the medical staff to save my life. I know this is farfetched but I have see examples of this type of “punishment” for having a medical condition and having to be catered to. Will I be able to receive a medical retirement if I had this prior condition? Will the board keep me on active duty and just restrict me from deployments? Should I just keep my mouth shut and pray my next command is compassionate?
Any answers, advice, or links to answers would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:12 PM   #2
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Wow. A very compelling story. I have nothing to help, but others here may well have something.

Best of luck.

Ha
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:18 PM   #3
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Dustoff, here is some information one of our retired military members put together on early medical retirement from the military. Hope it helps: (FAQ archive) Military member who's confronting an early medical retirement?
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Old 05-09-2009, 10:17 PM   #4
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- I'm surprised to hear that you perceive that a flight surgeon might put you in a situation that is unsafe. In my experience (USAF), the flight surgeons were spring-loaded to ground an aviator if there was any doubt about flight safety. Usually guys have to fight and claw to stay on flying status if they have issues. And, at least in the old days, if you ever lost consciousness for any reason (overheated, concussion, G-induced loss of consciousness in the jet, etc) then you were going to get a very thorough going over--largely to determine why you could not return to flight status, not to determine if a return was possible. For all these reasons, guys sometimes tended to avoid going to the flight surgeon with serious issues that could result in being grounded or extended "duty not involving flying" (DNIF) status.

Lots of questions to consider and research:
- Do you want to stay in the service if you can't fly? Will the service allow you to transfer to a non-aviation MOS/AFSC/Rate?
- Would you like an aviation career outside the military? Would your medical condition scuttle that option?
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Old 05-11-2009, 07:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
- I'm surprised to hear that you perceive that a flight surgeon might put you in a situation that is unsafe. In my experience (USAF), the flight surgeons were spring-loaded to ground an aviator if there was any doubt about flight safety. Usually guys have to fight and claw to stay on flying status if they have issues.
I recall one rated buddy, an excellent pilot, who applied for test pilot school. The physical found a minor issue that not only kept him out of the school, but he lost his flight status completely. If the flight surgeon mentality has changed as much as our poster suggests, that's a real concern.
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:33 AM   #6
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I appreciate all of the information you guys gave me. REWahoo- Thanks for the link it has helped to answer some of my questions and linked me to more websites and forums.

samclem- Thanks for the info. I have just been removed from a DNIF and allowed to fly in cooler temperatures. However, I was more referring to the move associated in and out of theatre " 2 to 3 weeks" either side that I will be worked like a slave and possibly become an heat
casuality or the boredom exercises that the Army likes to play here. Also, Previous to deployment I told my flight doc about my issue and he had little to no concearn. I now have no doubt that after my evac to Germany due to my 1st flyght here in Iraq the flight doc's will listen to me.

Just a little update after following the links given by this board I found another option. Since my condition is getting worse and once I report this the flight doc is most likely going to suggest a P3 profile that will not allow me to deploy to this type of extreme heat environments. Along with that I found out that my MOS is a critical skills MOS and I will most likely be retained on active duty and allowed to retire if seen fit by a MMRB. This is as far as I understand the process. I know there is a risk of me getting MEBed and kicked out but I would rather this than the alternative. If anyone has any other suggestions or guidance it would be appreciated.
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