Medical Discharge

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by MarcoPolo!, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. MarcoPolo!

    MarcoPolo! New Member

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    We enjoyed r-day and the ceremony as our swab was sworn in. This morning we packed up and began the journey home but received a phone call from the medical office before we were barely out of town. Our swab discovered a medical issue during his DoDMERB exam which he then took the remedial and passed that. When he took the test this morning he failed it.

    It looks like he is going to have to be medically discharged. The few times we were able to talk to him he seemed like he was doing ok. I feel horrible for him because he was so excited about being a cadet at USCGA. Whatever ends up happening he will be fine and we are just as proud of him today as we were yesterday.

    I'm sure that there is nothing to be done at this point, but we are open to any suggestions!

    Congrats to all the swabs!

    And PS, does the exchange take returns? We bought the store out!!!!
     
  2. longrun12

    longrun12 Member

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    Sorry to hear about this issue....From previous years I can recall that depending on the type of problem your son maybe offer a chance to clear up issue and return for next years class.
    exchange does take return
     
  3. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    May we ask what kind of issue? Is it something correctable or is he stuck with it?
     
  4. MarcoPolo!

    MarcoPolo! New Member

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    He has a color vision deficiency. It must be slight because he passed the remedial test before but failed the test yesterday. I talked to his Co Chief and she felt that he was a good swab and would definitely be a successful cadet however there isn't a waiver for this problem. It is heartbreaking because this has always been his dream and the road to the Academy was a hard one, as we all know.
     
  5. officer

    officer Member

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    MarcoPolo,

    I'm so sorry to hear of this news. I know if you search trackandfield's posts, that she went through swab summer and injured herself before finishing. She then re-applied and is in the class of 2014. Just make sure you exhaust every possible way (contact Sup. Burhoe, CG medical staff, DoDMERB, etc.) to see why he would have passed earlier but not while at the academy.

    Be so bold as to ask for a re-test and to chase down the first exam/examiner who gave the initial exam to find out what happened?

    I really hope this works out for you. -officer
     
  6. BruceRTalbot

    BruceRTalbot Member

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    USCGA and Naval Academy have very tight color vision standards. About 15% of males have some degree of color deficiency (usually red/green). He will need to pass the Farnsworth Lantern Test to be medically accepted. If he can not do that, may I suggest the Air Force Academy or West Point for next year? They do not have as strict a color standard as USCGA. Enroll in your local community college, take all the math classes you can and apply to Westpoint or Colorado Springs. (p.s. I am red/green color deficient too). :frown:
     
  7. MarcoPolo!

    MarcoPolo! New Member

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    Thank you everyone for all your recommendations. I feel VERY strongly that every possible effort is being done on my son's part to keep him at the USCGA. EVERYONE I talk to is very kind and is handling the situation with such compassion. No matter how this turns out, we are USCGA fans for life (and we'll keep all the attire to prove it!). Our son will face this challenge and come out stronger and with a clearer idea of where he wants to go in life. And yes, the PLAN B is community college, job, triathlons and applying to the Air Force Academy class of 2015.
     
  8. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

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    Unfortunately this seems to happen every year. In my son's class, I believe 9 kids were discharged on a account of being unable to pass the red/green test. Not sure why this isn't picked up earlier in the process. A damn shame if you pardon my french. Best of luck whatever he decides to do.
     
  9. sandhills

    sandhills Member

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    Was your son given only the "dots" (Ishihara Test or whatever it's called) test or both the "dots" and Farnsworth Lantern Test to determine medical discharge?
     
  10. hopeful1

    hopeful1 Member

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    MarcoPolo- I will be praying for you guys! I hope that everything works out for your son. Is he still being allowed to participate until the final determination is made?
     
  11. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    MarcoPolo!
    I hope your son considers West Point. There is a cadet there I know who could not get a waiver from Navy but was not DQ's by West Point. He is a fantastic cadet and loving his West Point experience.
    He did what your son will do - went to community college and applied to West Point for the next year.

    Whatever happens, I wish him the best of luck. These are difficult days but he will get it figured out - it's important for him to know he can still have a military career if he so chooses.
     
  12. BruceRTalbot

    BruceRTalbot Member

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    As an Admissions Partner (and a person who IS red/green color deficient) when I conduct an interview with male applicants (the deficiency is carried by the female and expressed only in her male offspring) I always warn about the strict color vision requirements for USCGA. People have a tendency to minimize the degree of their color impairment. I have had moms say "Oh, boys just don't care about color like girls do" as if it were a fashion thing. I have had one applicant tell me "I can see red and green, I'm just a little weak with greens, so I'm not color blind." To be honest I made the same excuses about myself for many years as a young man.

    I don't want to blame the applicant or their parents. I think the fault lies with the Dept. of Defense Medical Examination. These color deficiencies should be caught during the initial medical screening. Every time we loose a cadet on R-Day for color deficiency, we have wasted an admissions spot, and caused a great deal of hurt and anguish for the applicant and their family. I would hope USCGA follows-up with the medical examiner that did the initial color screening test to discover the break down in the system and correct the failure point.
     
  13. db10

    db10 Prospective

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    I would also suggest looking at Kings Point. If your son's goal is to become an officer in the Coast Guard, USMMA can help him get that
     
  14. MarcoPolo!

    MarcoPolo! New Member

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    Thank you everyone for all your encouragement. We still have not heard anything definitive. Our son did call last night and said that he was put back with his company yesterday. I'm not sure what that means but I'm trying not to analyze it too much. Maybe they just needed another swab to yell at : )
     
  15. longrun12

    longrun12 Member

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    MarcoPolo


    any update?
     
  16. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    USMMA requires color vision as well. Color vision is not an Academy requirement it is a Service requirement. With this if you are found to be color blind you will not be commissioned in any of the sea services (granted there are always a few very, very rare exceptions)
     
  17. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    No fault, no failure, and no breakdown in the system.

    There are two different tests at issue here, the Farnsworth Lantern Test (Falant) and the Ishihara pseudoisochromatic plate test (PIP). The Falant is the definitive test for the sea going services and Army aviation. It is an expensive test which must be administered correctly and is not common in the civilian world. Since DoDMERB has commenced using contract medical for physicals, it is therefore generally not available. However, not sure if it is true in every case, but if a candidate cannot pass the DoDMERB PIP test, they are referred to a DOD facility to receive the Falant test, which is again the definitive benchmark. However, there is a certain percentage of the population which will pass the PIP but fail the Falant. Until the sea services change their requirements, since they feel the Falant represents the reds, whites, and greens common at sea and in the air, better than the PIP, unless we send all 50,000 or so candidates each year to a military facility, we will have to live with the issue. USNA allows them to remain but requires them to pursue a restricted line career (CEC, Intell, Supply, etc). USCGA probably knows the percentages down to one or two individuals and plan for them. Admittedly though, not a great way to treat a candidate.

    Just to cloud the issue, the AF considers the PIP test the standard and the FAA only requires the Farnsworth if one fails the PIP test.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010
  18. BruceRTalbot

    BruceRTalbot Member

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    I agree that Farnsworth is the definitive test, however FAA does not require it for pilots.

    I fail the PIP every time (mostly on the green side) and also the Farnsworth, however the FAA gave me a demonstrated waver by shooting a colored light signal gun at me from the control tower as I sat in my plane at the end of the runway, so there are a number of color deficient pilots (like me) out there who can not pass either test.

    That said, I still think USCGA should look at the initial screening testing procedure to determine how candidates are getting to the academy before being detected as color deficient. I suspect (with nothing to back the opinion up) that a few medical technicians are skimping on the Ishihara book by only flipping to one page in the middle of the book and asking "what number do you see"? I've had that done to me for police entry medical exams. The problem with "low bid" civilian privatization of government medical screening. When they color tested me at Randolph AFB for my college ROTC flight physical they did an excellent job and caught the color loss at the very beginning of the testing.

    If we keep track of the failed screening testing we might be able to discover a pattern and improve our screening rates.
     
  19. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    From RetNavyHM, an old moderator, from a few years back:
    I'm totally with RetNavyHM on this. No one who flunks a properly administered FALANT test has any business driving a ship or piloting an aircraft in the Navy or Coast Guard at-sea environment.

    I know Naval Aviators who for their entire career every year during their annual flight physical who flunked the PIP and passed the FALANT. I actually know one who has been doing it for 30 years whose son is at USNA today with exactly the same issue so his was passed male-to-male.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010

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