Special diets

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Don, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Don

    Don Member

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    I have a son who is VERY interested in the academy(s).

    He is a freshman. He has Celiac. He is NOT anaphylactic; generally Celiac does not present such problems.

    He is expert at avoiding gluten. I can imagine some posts would be out of the question for anyone with a special diet. (Anywhere an MRE is the standard fair).

    However I can imagine many more positions where a special diet would be no big deal, especially in the Navy or Air Force. (This may be a fundamental misunderstanding, but there it is).

    The question is a wavier necessary fro Celiac? If so, can a wavier be granted? Can a young person with Celiac gain an appointment? Do any of the service academies accommodate special diets? The Celiac diet would be much easier than say a Kosher Diet or a Vegan Diet and his symptoms, on the rare chance of contamination, are not severe or life threatening.
     
  2. Jacksmom

    Jacksmom Member

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    Hi Don,

    I don't know the answer to your question, but I'm sure Mr. Mullen would be able to help you. Here is his contact info:

    Larry Mullen
    Deputy Director, DoDMERB
    Larry.Mullen@dodmerb.tma.osd.mil
    Available 24/7/365
    90% of my responses are within the hour
    100% of responses are within 24 hours
     
  3. RetNavyHM

    RetNavyHM USN (RET)

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    From a DoDMERB standpoint he would be found disqualified. The chance of a waiver would be extremely slim, if not next to impossible, for any service.

    From a service academy standpoint, a gluten free diet could be done (but would be very difficult to do), from an active duty officer/enlisted standpoint it would be next to impossible.

    You need to understand that everyone in the military is subject to deployment. For all the services that could mean out away from civilization eating MRE's or from a limited chow hall menu, for Navy/Coast Guard it could also mean being on a ship where your dining offerings can be limited depending on the length of time out, and how often you get resupplied.

    I would never tell someone not to apply, but I think your son needs to realize that unfortunately with his disease a military career is not going to happen.

    If you have any other questions please feel free to ask away.
     
  4. Don

    Don Member

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    Thank you

    Thank you very much.

    I think that will help me realistically manage his expectations. I think he will continue to HOPE, but he should start imagining different choices.

    If there are any other comments or experiences, with food allergies or religious diets, I still would love to hear about it.

    Who knows what advances could be made over the next 3 years!

    Don
     
  5. skierxman

    skierxman Member

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    I don't mean to be negative and dash anyone's hopes but the reality is there is no chance of receiving a waiver for this type of condition, unless it was some really extraordinary situation.

    The DOD Medical Qualifications may seem overly restrictive at times, but there is a reason. I think most people believe that if you have a pulse and a body temperature of 98.5, you can pass a military physical. This really is not the case and DOD physical requirements are quite strict, for both enlisted and officers.

    When considering waivers, the main things the review board will consider are: how will the condition affect the ability of the service member to perform his/her duties? and, what affect does the conditions have on the individual ability to deploy?

    A candidate for the armed forces must, at the time of induction, be able to deploy without restrictions. Special dietary needs necessary to maintain proper health may not only interfere with the ability to deploy but also may pose a danger to other service members if one becomes incapacitated due to the condition i.e. one has an allergic reaction in a war zone and needs to be carried out.

    The one and only reason for the existence of the military is to prepare for, and engage in, armed conflict in defense of the nation. Anything that could possibly interfere with this missions is a DQ.

    I wish your son the best and am not saying don't apply, but I would try to nudge him in other directions. Unfortunately, the armed forces will probably not be a realistic option.
     

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