Drug 'History' and applying to the Army

adlzman

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Hi, I just had a quick question pertaining to previous drug use and the chance of joining the Air Force (becoming a pilot, specifically).

Long story short: I do in fact have some prior drug use (in high school I never did anything harder than MerryJane, but I did frequent it). In fact, I had been given a small demeanor for possessing a very small quantity, once.

So would this prevent me from flying? How about in other branches such as the Coast Guard and the Navy?
 

AROTC-dad

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I believe it depends on how recent the use was. If it was a while ago, and you are up front about it, you are likely okay.

Here is a recent article on the topic from the Military Times that may be relevant:
http://www.military.com/daily-news/...cal-waivers-no-questions-prior-marijuana.html

There are also many SAF threads on the topic.
Here are a few:
https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/prior-marijuana-use-in-another-country.51753/
https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/marijuana-use-in-high-school.51031/
https://www.serviceacademyforums.co...na-experimentation-is-4-times-too-many.37476/
 

Cerberi

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You can overcome the drug use in high school. The misdemeanor is something you will have to discuss with a recruiter but if done as a minor can likely be overcome.

You need a 4 year college degree and a commissioning source: SA, ROTC, OCS and you need to be lucky as well as pass the physical to get to pilot training. It's a long road.
 

adlzman

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Jun 10, 2017
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I believe it depends on how recent the use was. If it was a while ago, and you are up front about it, you are likely okay.

Here is a recent article on the topic from the Military Times that may be relevant:
http://www.military.com/daily-news/...cal-waivers-no-questions-prior-marijuana.html

There are also many SAF threads on the topic.
Here are a few:
https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/prior-marijuana-use-in-another-country.51753/
https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/marijuana-use-in-high-school.51031/
https://www.serviceacademyforums.co...na-experimentation-is-4-times-too-many.37476/

Well it was a while ago, infrequent, and with only one misdemanor. I will be upfront and honest, thank you!

You can overcome the drug use in high school. The misdemeanor is something you will have to discuss with a recruiter but if done as a minor can likely be overcome.

You need a 4 year college degree and a commissioning source: SA, ROTC, OCS and you need to be lucky as well as pass the physical to get to pilot training. It's a long road.

I had received the misdemeanor as a minor 'thankfully.'
And what exactly do you mean as lucky? In theory, shouldn't a studious (>3.5 GPA), physically fit, and commissioned-approved guarantee a spot?
 

Cerberi

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Well it was a while ago, infrequent, and with only one misdemanor. I will be upfront and honest, thank you!



I had received the misdemeanor as a minor 'thankfully.'
And what exactly do you mean as lucky? In theory, shouldn't a studious (>3.5 GPA), physically fit, and commissioned-approved guarantee a spot?

No - pilot slots are very hard to come by even from service academy graduates nowadays. (There was a time if you were physically qualified USAFA grads were guaranteed a pilot slot - that is no longer true).

Just curious is your GPA your college GPA or your high school GPA?
 

Dadof2

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adlzman

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No - pilot slots are very hard to come by even from service academy graduates nowadays. (There was a time if you were physically qualified USAFA grads were guaranteed a pilot slot - that is no longer true).

Just curious is your GPA your college GPA or your high school GPA?

that sounds disappointing. so one could go through all the hoops and still find themselves doing something other than flying?
High school had a 3.5, after a rough freshman year, have a 2.9 (scary low, i'm aware, but i am retaking classes to boost it back up)

So, which was it - frequent or infrequent?


Not trying to be rough on you, but your statements don't match up. Better add being consistent to to being up front and honest.
Haha, very true. What I meant is that there was a small period of time where I did use 5 or 6 times. So for a span of about 2 weeks it was 'frequent'.
 

USAFA10s

USAFA Class of 2012 Kirtland, AFB
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that sounds disappointing. so one could go through all the hoops and still find themselves doing something other than flying?
High school had a 3.5, after a rough freshman year, have a 2.9 (scary low, i'm aware, but i am retaking classes to boost it back up)

Yes, when you join the Air Force, it's fine to have a dream to fly, but realistically that is a very long road with a heck of a lot of obstacles. You had better be in it for more than just flying. I had friends who made it all the way to pilot training only to discover they couldn't overcome airsickness, or have a medical condition crop up. You never know, make sure you'll be happy in the Air Force even if they give you your plan E choice...because it happens.
 

Day-Tripper

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[Haha, very true. What I meant is that there was a small period of time where I did use 5 or 6 times. So for a span of about 2 weeks it was 'frequent'.]

That's it? 5-6 times for a 2 week period?

Jeeze.

I thought we were talking Tommy Chong circa 1973 for a while there.

If you were charged with a misdemeanor and there is a police record, then of course fess up to it & promise never to touch the Devil's Weed again.

If there is no police/public record of you having anything to do with marijuana then deny you ever smoked it and move on. It's not like you were in a cartel or something.

Just don't use anymore.

And get those grades up!
 

billyb

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Day-Tripper..... I am sure you aren't being serious. FYI... when I was a 2LT I had a TSSCI and they literally sent people to talk with my high school friends in person and asked questions about me. They asked my friends all sorts of questions about my parents, me in high school, who else I hung around with etc....
 

AROTC-dad

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Agree with FMHS and billyb.

The bottom line is answer this question.

Do you want to sweat bullets when you complete your 120+ page SF-86 Security clearance ?
 
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Day-Tripper

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Day-Tripper..... I am sure you aren't being serious. FYI... when I was a 2LT I had a TSSCI and they literally sent people to talk with my high school friends in person and asked questions about me. They asked my friends all sorts of questions about my parents, me in high school, who else I hung around with etc....

You're probably right about the background investigation being far more stringent for Service Academy appointments, but I don't think it's quite as thorough for ROTC selection. My son (whom eventually did not follow through with ROTC, due to injuries suffered in an auto wreck - relax, he's fine now) had what I would a rather perfunctory background check, at best.

Of course, none of his neighbors or teachers or employers ever knew if he'd smoked pot or not, but he didn't have a reputation as a stoner. He was just a clean cut, polite young man who got good grades, performed well at sports, was on time for work & was seen mowing the lawn & shoveling snow from time -to-time. And his friends were straight up guys, who'd never rat him out as trying anything not legal, as most real friends are.

Given the sheer size of ROTC, which I believe is 10,000 - 15,000 at any given time nationwide, the ability to determine if someone has ever used pot or not seems a difficult task. Of course, once you're in the system, never use again as you will be under the spotlight. But the same goes for underage (under 21) drinking, which I'm almost certain is subject to as widespread disregard as it is within the general college student population (if not to the same extreme).

And from second hand sources I believe that recruiters for enlisted ranks are more than willing to overlook a potential recruit's juvenile indiscretions. Sometimes outright lying (not saying this is the norm, though). But tell me it's not typical for a recruiter to say something along the lines of "You've never used illegal drugs at all, have you?"

I'm shouldn't make recommendations and I'm not trying to encourage lying. Sometimes I guess I write off the cuff without more forethought.
 

Cerberi

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To serve as an officer or enlisted - the military is often willing to overlook certain transgressions prior to coming onboard including using marijuana.

What you advocated was lying about it. That is something they can't overlook.

The background check to get a Secret clearance is not all that detailed. The background check for Top Secret/SCI is very thorough and the typical ROTC or Service Academy Mid/Cadet won't have one prior to commissioning. This level of screening requires a polygraph. You can beat a polygraph but best not to try

And frankly the real issue is not whether you qualify for sainthood but whether or not you would lie about it.

Advising a young man/woman to lie on this federal document in particular is telling them it's not only ok to lie but that it is ok to commit a felony.

And what you describe as friends that wouldn't 'rat him out' sound like folks that would lie to FBI agents which is also a crime in this circumstance.
 
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