10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Oct 1, 2007

This is my first posting, and so far I have seen much encouragement from everyone on the site.

My son is applying to the Air Force Academy (class of 2012). His application is complete, but according to Dodmerb, he may be disqualified because of a recently diagnosed case of Vitiligo. We understand there will be a waiver process to see if the disqualification can be reversed.

He is receiving treatment, but a more aggressive treatment may be necessary for improvement. Is there anyone out there who has had a similar experience with this skin disorder?
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I'm not the doc, Navy will let you know about the DODMERB side of things soon but I can offer you this advice:

A DQ is not the end of the line for your son...Make sure he knows this. I run a 13 minute 2 mile, and max the PFT and was DQed for Asthma when I was younger. The road is long and perilous once a DQ is dropped on you, but trust me...In the words of Woody Hayes: "Anything easy ain't worth a damn"

In my 5 years at DoDMERB I never came across an applicant with vitiligo, so I can't speak to specifics on this disease.

I have a couple of concerns based on your post, as well as some quick research I've had to do. My first concern is when you state your son may require more aggressive treatment. That is a red flag for the waiver authorities. The military does not want to bring in applicants who are going to require prolonged medical care. The are able to break enough active duty personnel on their own to provide more than enough work for the physicians, nurses and medics/corpsman. So they are leery of bringing in others who may require prolonged medical care. It also takes them away from the school routine, and once on active duty, away from the personnel they are supposed to be leading.

I'm sure you are aware of some of the possible causes of vitiligo. From my research everyone of the possible causes could pose additional issues later in a career. That may be to much risk for the waiver authorities to accept.

None of the above information is meant to dissuade you or your son from continuing on with his application or the waiver process. I am just laying out all the cards, so you will have as much information as possible.

If your son's dream is to go to USAFA and become an Air Force officer, then by all means continue the process. I would be honest with him and let him know that it is not going to be easy. I would definitely have your son write a letter to the waiver authorities detailing, in his words, what issues he has with the vitiligo, and how it affects him, if at all.

If you have any other questions, please let me know!


Thanks for your reply and information.

The treatment used now is simply a cream applied to the spots that have no pigment. They are located on his back, maybe 15 nickel-sized spots. (That's probably more than you wanted to know). :D

The more "aggressive" treatment would be some type of light therapy to encourage the pigment to return. My son has been tested for any possible thyroid problems that can be associated with Vitiligo, and those tests are negative.

We have not lost hope by any means. He truly wants to serve and will exhaust all avenues to seek an appointment. We will update as the waiver process begins.

Thanks again!