Firstie Medically Separated & Class Ring Inquiry

Heatherg21

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Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
691
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!
Thank you for the offer. His heart is likely with USNA, where I am sure similar things occur. I am sorry to hear about the 1-2% and hearing a personal account of it just makes it more real. I can only imagine the shock it must have been. If he has any questions I will have him message you, he is on the forum, but would need to post 4 more times to send messages. I am the lurker, not he. I will keep following this, I agree with @Holden100 I would be happy if our tax dollars helped you finish your time there and receive your diploma, then pay if forward working hard in the civilian world.
 

gjayp

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2019
Messages
42
What a heart-breaking situation and you have my best wishes for a favorable outcome

A thought that I haven’t seen expressed

What is the stance/official policy for a Firstie at the other Service Academies with the same EXACT situation? AND would your condition preclude you from commissioning in those branches. This is a twofold consideration, namely -

1) If the other SA’s have a different policy and as you previously stated, this is a new policy, you’re recourse into pursuing an exception is tremendously strengthened and 100% worth pursuing. If, however, USMA was the outlier and this policy change brought them in line with the others, then the change in policy is understandable and regrettably just and proper.

2) If the other SA’s have a different policy, would it be possible to seek cross-commissioning into that branch to fulfill your ADSC? Same thought process as above

Hopefully that gives you an outside the box thought process and can help you

PS - my DS and I were there for an overnight in early Nov and he and I met a number of Firstie’s due to a family friend, if you were one of them, it was an honor to meet you and if not, we missed out I believe - Good Luck!
 

txfwindian

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2019
Messages
350
Definitely feel for you as a concerned dad, have a DD who is preparing every single day for USMA class of 2025.

Assuming it does not works in your favor, you still came out well.

- top class education for 3.5 years
- an experience that will be unmatched anywhere else ( even the bad one)
- fully funded education, at no cost to you and you are out of ADSO ( loss to Army)
- you already have a job offer at hand with some 3 letter gov agency.
- an extra 6-12 months at another university, you will have you undergrad degree.

World is yours to conquer, grab it by the horn.

Good luck and appreciate your commitment and dedication.
 

medsepfirstie

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Messages
25
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.
Those haven't been offered to me, but I am about to be seen by the VA - will be sure to bring that up and see if that's a possibility to be permitted for readmission into USMA.

I will utilize your advice for both Chief of Staff and whitehouse.gov - might not work out/help but definitely won't hurt. Thank you for the out-of-the-box thinking!
 

medsepfirstie

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Messages
25
What a heart-breaking situation and you have my best wishes for a favorable outcome

A thought that I haven’t seen expressed

What is the stance/official policy for a Firstie at the other Service Academies with the same EXACT situation? AND would your condition preclude you from commissioning in those branches. This is a twofold consideration, namely -

1) If the other SA’s have a different policy and as you previously stated, this is a new policy, you’re recourse into pursuing an exception is tremendously strengthened and 100% worth pursuing. If, however, USMA was the outlier and this policy change brought them in line with the others, then the change in policy is understandable and regrettably just and proper.

2) If the other SA’s have a different policy, would it be possible to seek cross-commissioning into that branch to fulfill your ADSC? Same thought process as above

Hopefully that gives you an outside the box thought process and can help you

PS - my DS and I were there for an overnight in early Nov and he and I met a number of Firstie’s due to a family friend, if you were one of them, it was an honor to meet you and if not, we missed out I believe - Good Luck!
^ this is the best advice so far. Find out if you can cross commission into any other service.
Funny enough, I pursued a cross-commission packet for the Air Force in 13S (Space Operations) because it (1) aligns with my major and (2) my goal was to become a FA-40 for the Army. I ultimately could not submit my packet for branching purposes (removes me from the USMA branching population and places me within USAF) because I was not medically approved for either AF or Army. A waiver was not permissible due to the strange requirement of me needing to be medically approved and/or waivered for Army before I could be waivered for AF. This is another option I plan to re-pursue after completion of my degree from another institution, only this time with a successful waiver.

I wasn't one of those firsties, but I am thrilled some firsties took the time to speak to you and your son! I fondly remember my visit as a cadet candidate, and my conversation with the upperclassmen left me so motivated to be in their place after a few years. Best of luck to your son if he decides USMA is for him!
 

medsepfirstie

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Messages
25
Definitely feel for you as a concerned dad, have a DD who is preparing every single day for USMA class of 2025.

Assuming it does not works in your favor, you still came out well.

- top class education for 3.5 years
- an experience that will be unmatched anywhere else ( even the bad one)
- fully funded education, at no cost to you and you are out of ADSO ( loss to Army)
- you already have a job offer at hand with some 3 letter gov agency.
- an extra 6-12 months at another university, you will have you undergrad degree.

World is yours to conquer, grab it by the horn.

Good luck and appreciate your commitment and dedication.
Yes sir, right on the money - the experiences I had, friends I made, and connections I have will serve me well even if there isn't a diploma... Best of luck to your son/daughter, I wish them the best. The application process to USMA is the biggest gut-check for the entire "47-month experience" (or 42 months in my case) - please let me know if I can be of any help!
 

DDmom

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
259
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.
I agree here...please keep fighting for the best possible treatment followed by graduation!
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
135
Turn it in. Only those who have walked the stage get the ring. Sorry, but thats the deal. You may not explicitly say you didnt graduate but having a West Point ring tells others you did. Surprised a firstie is considering lying by omission.
 

medsepfirstie

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Messages
25
Turn it in. Only those who have walked the stage get the ring. Sorry, but thats the deal. You may not explicitly say you didnt graduate but having a West Point ring tells others you did. Surprised a firstie is considering lying by omission.
Not quite sure that meets criteria for lying by omission... that’s a large assumption to state I would blatantly say “Yeah this is my USMA ring” and leave it at that. Plus, I have mentioned that I would not wear the ring - strictly keep as a token of the memories. My father, for a time (no longer because I am separated), wore my battle ring because he helped me with my time at USMA And that was my gift to him - never did he once pretend to be a graduate. Even if I were to wear it, I hope you would give the benefit of the doubt that I’d (as you state, a firstie) have the honorability to not lie about my status as a non-graduate.

Regardless, thank you for sharing your thoughts - I appreciate the perspective.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
135
The mere fact of having a ring indicates you graduated. Every graduate knows that. Is it fair you are being medically separated before graduation- no. But thats life in the Army.
 

medsepfirstie

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Messages
25
The mere fact of having a ring indicates you graduated. Every graduate knows that. Is it fair you are being medically separated before graduation- no. But thats life in the Army.
Interested in your thoughts of this then - requesting to keep the stone and then placing it into another memorable token? Or are you of the belief that anything in an USMA ring is exclusive for graduates? My stone is not USMA granite and was from a third party seller
 

Impulsive

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2019
Messages
529
Just so you go into this process with knowledge, if you do get MEB'd and end up with a Medical Discharge for Meniere's Syndrome, you will end up with a VA disability rating somewhere between 30 and 100%. That is for life, and fight for everything.
 

dddad

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
112
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 your posts. I believe this community should be grateful to you for them, and the honor and devotion you demonstrate! I hope you get the best outcome possible.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
2,185
What happens if a West Point cadet accidentally loses their ring while at their house in a leave of absence status?
I have jokingly thought about this, but hold the honor code too high to attempt such an act!
> Right Answer ! Whatever happens, protect your honor and walk out with your head held high.

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 agree...We've had this discussion on my Class Facebook page, ie. what counts as being a "Classmate" , for Reunion and other purposes, and we it usually boils down to whether you went through Plebe Summer, or Plebe Year with the Class. Keep in touch with your Classmates, they understand what you have been through better than any one else will ever. It may be tough for you at time....particularly when your Classmates are serving and creating additional memories, but everyone leaves the Service at some point, and at Reunions most of the memories fall back to those 4 years by the Bay...or whatever you guys call it !

I really don't have much to add to the discussion about the Army's policy, the Ring, etc. The situation sucks, but I suspect that new Holy Trinity is trying to set a new hard line. I am kind of an old school hardliner myself, and don't disagree with the underlying rationale, but all "policies" have to be flexible enough to do the right thing, and in this case I don't think there is anything to gained by separating someone who is disenrolled this close to graduation due to no fault of their own.

I'm not a big fan of the inquiry to Congressman approach...USMCGrunt is right, it stirs things up, but my experience is it really doesn't get much done-- the Brass will circle the wagons, spend a lot of time crafting a very political, CYA response (and I suspect that once you get to the level of a Service Academy administration, they are really good at that !). Perhaps it depends upon the Congressman, but I suspect the Congressman won't spend a lot of political capital trying to second guess the policies of the Holy Trinity.
 

Heatherg21

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
691
Needs of the Army trumps all. Guys got extended in Iraq for 15months after they had returned home. They got on the plane and went back to fight. If this ring thing causes you issues supporting your DS is going to be very hard in the future.
It doesn't make me not support his choice to serve. I have no doubts about the needs of any branch trumping all. It made me hesitate, not about a ring, but about WP not allowing him to finish and graduate, especially considering he made offer to pay for it. We are 100% aware that his desire to serve whether via SA or NROTC means he is no longer 'ours' or available to us when we would like to see him. His sister is aware he may not make her wedding. We have had those conversations. I am still hopeful that the OP can reach a path to graduation. I know 'rules are rules' but when there may be no harm, I believe they should evaluate and make case by case decisions. But, that's just my HO.
 

medsepfirstie

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Messages
25
Just so you go into this process with knowledge, if you do get MEB'd and end up with a Medical Discharge for Meniere's Syndrome, you will end up with a VA disability rating somewhere between 30 and 100%. That is for life, and fight for everything.
I’m fortunate to have a family friend that is a long time VA employee - she’s been such a blessing during this to ensure I have everything in order so I receive maximum benefits
 

medsepfirstie

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2020
Messages
25
> Right Answer ! Whatever happens, protect your honor and walk out with your head held high.


> I agree...We've had this discussion on my Class Facebook page, ie. what counts as being a "Classmate" , for Reunion and other purposes, and we it usually boils down to whether you went through Plebe Summer, or Plebe Year with the Class. Keep in touch with your Classmates, they understand what you have been through better than any one else will ever. It may be tough for you at time....particularly when your Classmates are serving and creating additional memories, but everyone leaves the Service at some point, and at Reunions most of the memories fall back to those 4 years by the Bay...or whatever you guys call it !

I really don't have much to add to the discussion about the Army's policy, the Ring, etc. The situation sucks, but I suspect that new Holy Trinity is trying to set a new hard line. I am kind of an old school hardliner myself, and don't disagree with the underlying rationale, but all "policies" have to be flexible enough to do the right thing, and in this case I don't think there is anything to gained by separating someone who is disenrolled this close to graduation due to no fault of their own.

I'm not a big fan of the inquiry to Congressman approach...USMCGrunt is right, it stirs things up, but my experience is it really doesn't get much done-- the Brass will circle the wagons, spend a lot of time crafting a very political, CYA response (and I suspect that once you get to the level of a Service Academy administration, they are really good at that !). Perhaps it depends upon the Congressman, but I suspect the Congressman won't spend a lot of political capital trying to second guess the policies of the Holy Trinity.
Couldn’t agree more with your “classmate” discussion, and Im thankfully my 2020 classmates see it the same way. Looking forward to being at graduation for support, and the events in the future.

Policies change with leadership and I accept that. While I do wish the “grandfathering“ could be applied, medical separation affects such a small population that I understand why it won’t (plus if people attempted to take advantage of the situation....)

Exactly, I don’t want to create bad press and I really doubt they have much power in this matter regardless.
 

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
7,005
I’m fortunate to have a family friend that is a long time VA employee - she’s been such a blessing during this to ensure I have everything in order so I receive maximum benefits
If she hasn’t told you to research your state veterans’ benefits, please do so. Separate from your Fed VA benefits, each state has its own department, agency or bureau for veterans’ affairs - names differ. They may also define “veteran” differently than the Fed, especially for educational benefits. These state benefits can range from educational, to breaks on auto license fees, to property tax breaks - all kinds of stuff.

One of our USNA sponsor alumni med DQ’ed after 10 months commissioned service. His home state veterans’ benefits covered his MBA at a state university.
 
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