Firstie Medically Separated & Class Ring Inquiry

Capt MJ

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I had some of those same thoughts, if you want to fight, fight for graduation. The policy changes while you were there, and after you had taken on your AD service commitment and signed. No grandfathering? I suspect this is all under Superintendent’s discretionary authority. I vote for the graduation hill.
 

justdoit19

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That’s what I was thinking, the “grandfathering” piece. Maybe policy changed, with new leadership, but you signed up under different rules. Can’t their be a grandfather type clause?

Kind of shameful imo to not graduate you. In 4 short months. Absent honor or academic issues. Someone in good standing with a medical thing come up at the last hour. Wow. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
 

VelveteenR

Just gathering dust in the nursery...
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Just when I was coming to terms with the Army...

You would think that if such a policy decision were to be made, it would go into effect after the current class graduates to avoid the harsh consequences to this first group.

In addition to petitioning this Firstie's Congressional reps, his story sounds like perfect media fodder although I would hold off until ALL other options are exhausted.

Hang in there kid; it ain't over 'til it's over.

ETA: While you're waiting, perhaps a "Dear Harvard College..." letter might help while away the time... ;)
 
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A6E Dad

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I am not academy and don't know the first thing about it but... Assuming everything you reported was accurate I would ask: Which hill do you want to fight on? The ring or graduation?
totally agree with this. if it's what you want, you should continue to fight it in any way possible.

this is a policy change made by one person, who is in the billet only for a couple years. this new policy is counter to longstanding policy and custom not just at USMA but at all the SAs, and it's very possible that the next guy or gal will change it back. even if the 'dant says his answer is final, he ultimately reports to others, and they report to Congress.

who knows, maybe word gets to POTUS and he says "this is crazy, change the policy back" - stranger things have happened, just look at his intervention in the SEAL case, and others.

i don't know if you are expected to monitor and respond to emails while on Administrative Leave of Absense, but if you must reply, maybe something like "at this point I don't believe it would be appropriate for me to take any action on this request until I have exhausted all possible appeals of my case"
 

cptenca

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While the circumstances are tough and hard to swallow. Trust me when I say that the Generals at USMA didn’t just throw some stuff against a wall to see what sticks. They are on solid footing with legal and policy reviews and have anticipated the responses mentioned above.
 

A6E Dad

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While the circumstances are tough and hard to swallow. Trust me when I say that the Generals at USMA didn’t just throw some stuff against a wall to see what sticks. They are on solid footing with legal and policy reviews and have anticipated the responses mentioned above.
i'm sure that's true, and i'm sure they anticipated the responses. that doesn't change the fact that whatever they decided can be overridden by others
 

cb7893

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his story sounds like perfect media fodder
who knows, maybe word gets to POTUS and he says "this is crazy, change the policy back" - stranger things have happened, just look at his intervention in the SEAL case, and others.
I understand we are all expressing our frustration, but this world doesn't need anymore media fodder. POTUS intervening on behalf of of Gallagher is probably what's hurting Maj. Goldsteyn's chances for getting back his Green Beret.

Trust me when I say that the Generals at USMA didn’t just throw some stuff against a wall to see what sticks. They are on solid footing with legal and policy reviews and have anticipated the responses mentioned above.
That resignation is exactly what the Generals at USMA are counting on.

You're right. This policy change was the result of exhaustive discussion, powerpoint presentations, multi levels of review among a tightly knit community of folks who will all cover for one another and would stiffen their spines if provoked the wrong way.

Still no reason to give up the fight.
 

medsepfirstie

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I feel for you, that really sucks. I've always understood that those with medical issues that arise late, especially spring semester of first class year were allowed to graduate but not commission. If the new policy specifically disallows that, then I think that the new policy is terrible - not a good use of a 3.5 year investment of our tax dollars, not a good reflection on the Army who is supposed to "take care of our own", and certainly not a fair outcome for you, who through no fault of your own can't commission. there are plenty of places that you could put that degree to good use in service of your country, maybe directly for the Army, but the current policy, short sighted as it is, won't allow that.

all that and a dollar might get you a cup of coffee.

my humble opinion, and this is coming from a Navy guy who doesn't know the Army culture, is that you've been a member of 2020 for 7+ semesters and have earned the right to be considered part of that class - i'm sure you're classmates would agree. you paid for that ring with your sweat and blood (AND your own money) and nobody should be able to take it away. I don't know the legal argument, but I would definitely talk to a JAG and see what the real deal is under the UCMJ.

if there really is some sort of legal risk, and your Honorable Discharge is at stake, then it's not worth it. but if the only risk is that the institution that is kicking you to the curb might have a lesser opinion of you, then I know what i'd do...

i think keeping it as a treasured reminder of your time there and your buddies is totally justified , wearing it as a statement to the world (as Cap MJ says) is probably a different story.

this isn't the first time and won't be the last that someone gets screwed by the military. there is a reason that the saying is "they only deserve as much loyalty from you as they are willing to show to you" = "they" meaning the brass who make these decisions, or as you say "the holy trinity"

best of luck and god bless
Thank you for your response, I really agree with your thought process and you've tapped into mine. I find it strange that I would be removed with such little time left - I have offered the response of paying my own way through the remaining semester too, but it isn't permissible. At this point, being through the ringer and the *quite frankly* inadequate medical care I received, I am ready to continue on and pursue employment at a "3 letter agency" which I am fortune to already be in communication with several. In light of recent events, especially how USMA's command team has responded to several incidents lately (not going to specify, but I'm sure you can guess), I believe I am ready to move on. While you might then ask "why do you still want to graduate/the ring?" it is simply because I want to see this 47-month experience through.
 

medsepfirstie

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His ring has gold melted down from Old Grads whose rings were donated to the Class of 2020’s ring melt.
You may not like my advice but for that fact Alone, if you do not graduate and once your appeals are exhausted, you should return the ring for a future remelt so those Old Grads’ rings continue.
Thank you for your opinion, that is a very important point I need to consider. It isn't just my ring, but contains the legacy of the many who came before me.
 

Heatherg21

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Jun 26, 2019
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My heart is sad reading this, and my hackles are up and I am peeved. Makes me rethink supporting our son's existing application and nom to USMA.
I am not naive enough to think that his service in any branch would be smooth sailing and without bumps or changes in policy. But considering you signed up under different rules and are midway through an academic year I think it shameful for you to not be allowed to finish what you and they started. I wish you the best in your future endeavors, whatever they may be.
 

medsepfirstie

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I was thinking the same thing. I drafted this response but you beat me to it:

I am not academy and don't know the first thing about it but... Assuming everything you reported was accurate I would ask: Which hill do you want to fight on? The ring or graduation?

To me, the ring - while symbolic - isn't worth going nuclear over. Get some other symbol of your time there or buy a ring on E-Bay. Perhaps a Flag, Pennant, coffee cup, etc. Watches make nice keepsakes. I know the ring is important, just wonder if it will be down the road as the years go by.

Graduation from the academy is a whole lot more important. I would fight tooth and nail on this. When you exhaust all other means, call your elected representatives. NOTHING moves faster in the military than a Congressional Inquiry. In my day, a command had 24 hours to report back. It was all hands on deck and often moved mountains when nothing else would. It could be career ending but in your case, why not?
I am very lucky to have a father who served until O-6, and I begrudgingly had to utilize the "dad card" this past semester to initiate a move in progress from the command team via a family friend who is about to be promoted to LTG. At the same point, I don't want to "destroy" USMA if pursuing legal action is the only way I can graduate. I am far from satisfied with the command decision right now, but still stand in the belief of USMA as an honorable place with my best interests in mind (even if I do not agree). Additionally, having all my classmates graduate, being back in an environment that my entire command team has blatantly sought to remove me from, and knowing I cannot commission makes me question if this fight is worth it. I, more than most, truly recognize the honor of being a USMA graduate - but at what cost? Again, this calls into question "why do you want the ring then?" This is a confusing time, so I know my responses sound erratic and very controversial.
 

medsepfirstie

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I had some of those same thoughts, if you want to fight, fight for graduation. The policy changes while you were there, and after you had taken on your AD service commitment and signed. No grandfathering? I suspect this is all under Superintendent’s discretionary authority. I vote for the graduation hill.
You are correct, it is a command decision. The problem is I was originally recommended to be retained for graduation because my medical condition would not interfere with completion of studies, especially as all my military training had been accomplished. The BDE Surgeon told me on 08JAN he would recommend I be retained, but a time-stamped recommendation memo two hours later states "not safe in the USMA environment to complete studies." I have been unable to contact the BDE Surgeon since, but am still trying.
 

medsepfirstie

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Just when I was coming to terms with the Army...

You would think that if such a policy decision were to be made, it would go into effect after the current class graduates to avoid the harsh consequences to this first group.

In addition to petitioning this Firstie's Congressional reps, his story sounds like perfect media fodder although I would hold off until ALL other options are exhausted.

Hang in there kid; it ain't over 'til it's over.

ETA: While you're waiting, perhaps a "Dear Harvard College..." letter might help while away the time... ;)
I really don't want to start the media bomb... because, despite my current displeasure, I have no desire to ruin USMA's reputation. And yes haha, I have been fortune to form bonds with my academic department the past 3 years - so will be pursuing a 2-year accelerated program to receive my undergraduate and master's degrees simultaneously (and avoid retaking simple courses for required credits at a new university) - the alumni network is VERY real and extremely helpful to me right now!!
 

medsepfirstie

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My heart is sad reading this, and my hackles are up and I am peeved. Makes me rethink supporting our son's existing application and nom to USMA.
I am not naive enough to think that his service in any branch would be smooth sailing and without bumps or changes in policy. But considering you signed up under different rules and are midway through an academic year I think it shameful for you to not be allowed to finish what you and they started. I wish you the best in your future endeavors, whatever they may be.
Please do not stop supporting (I know you won't) your son's dream to attend USMA. There are horror stories no matter the school and USMA is still an amazing institution. The Army is a very rough, "chew you up and spit you out" place though - if you cannot meet the needs, you will be gone. I understood at the start of plebe year roughly ~1-2% of each class isn't medically commissionable and either graduate or are separated. Although, it was such a statistical improbability that it would be me, the news still came as a shock.

Thank you for the well wishes, and please do not hesitate if your son would like to speak to me about USMA (can send you my contact information) - I seem to have an abundant amount of time on my hand after leaving the busy cadet schedule hahaha. I wish you and your son the best during the application process!
 

medsepfirstie

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I wanted to thank everyone for your responses and the support/thoughts! Several people mentioned the "grandfathering" process and I thought it best to address it in a singular post. This is a very smart avenue of thinking, especially with the class of 2021 being "warned" before affirmation that their female population would not be exempt from combat arms branching.

Unfortunately, there are greater consequences here because USMA is funded by tax dollars and I do believe (although detrimental to my case) I shouldn't be an additional payment if I cannot meet the intended purpose of commissioning. Although, as a firstie, the argument can and likely should be made that I have come far enough to deserve to graduation (withholding any egregious violations). Also, the example I have on combat arms and my individual case of medical separation are vastly different. I will make note I attempted to sell USMA by agreeing to work "under contract for my service commitment" (not really contract, moreso my personal honor) for a national governmental agency that conditionally offered me a position. This, quite obviously, was not bought by them.
 

ArmyMom11

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Nothing to add. My son is a Firstie and I really hate that you are going through this. I hope it gets resolved satisfactorily and best of luck to you where life's road takes you.
 

medsepfirstie

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Nothing to add. My son is a Firstie and I really hate that you are going through this. I hope it gets resolved satisfactorily and best of luck to you where life's road takes you.
Thank you ma'am. I wish your son all the best, especially with Post Night in the next two weeks!
 

SkepticalDoc

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Nov 25, 2019
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I know this might sound silly, but I think you may have some unconventional options. 1. Has your Meniere's disease been treated with maximal medical treatment? Specifically, have any surgical options (such as cochlear implant or bone auditory hearing aid (BAHA) been offered to you? If not, request an evaluation down at Walter Reed. MEBs can only be started after maximal treatment. This process could theoretically delay the process long enough to allow you to graduate. 2. Believe it or not, even the Supe has a boss, and that boss should have an open door policy. Request an opportunity to meet with the Army Chief of Staff and plead your case. Specifically, go into that meeting with a plan of action which will allow you to repay your ADSO (like becoming a GS employee, etc) and remain a valuable asset to the DoD. 3. Finally, President Trump has shown tremendous heart towards members of the military. Get on whitehouse.gov and plead your case to graduate. As far as the ring is concerned, it's only a material possession. I'm West Point class of 1993, and I can count on 2 hands how many times I've worn it.
 
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Holden100

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Feb 12, 2019
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I wanted to thank everyone for your responses and the support/thoughts! Several people mentioned the "grandfathering" process and I thought it best to address it in a singular post. This is a very smart avenue of thinking, especially with the class of 2021 being "warned" before affirmation that their female population would not be exempt from combat arms branching.

Unfortunately, there are greater consequences here because USMA is funded by tax dollars and I do believe (although detrimental to my case) I shouldn't be an additional payment if I cannot meet the intended purpose of commissioning. Although, as a firstie, the argument can and likely should be made that I have come far enough to deserve to graduation (withholding any egregious violations). Also, the example I have on combat arms and my individual case of medical separation are vastly different. I will make note I attempted to sell USMA by agreeing to work "under contract for my service commitment" (not really contract, moreso my personal honor) for a national governmental agency that conditionally offered me a position. This, quite obviously, was not bought by them.
I kinda feel like my tax dollars would be better spent by allowing you to graduate, go out and get a job, and then start paying taxes. Good luck to you; I wish you the best.
 
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