Medical Exam - Will an honest answer hurt.

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by OCMom, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. OCMom

    OCMom New Member

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    My son had his medical exam today. He just informed me that when he filled out his forms online that he answered "yes" to the questions: "Have you had alcohol" and "have you used marijuana"

    He is allowed a beer with us, during holiday gatherings. This has been allowed the past year. As far as the pot, he tried it at a party freshman year of high school. And that was it. I know about this because he told me.

    He has incredible integrity and doesn't lie. When he began the medical form it said "answer honestly". And because he is who he is, he answered honestly. He stands by the fact that he did the right thing by answering the way he did; however, he is concerned that this will hurt him.

    During his exam today, the nurse asked him follow up questions regarding these two items. He told her the truth, saying that he had a beer on July 4th and that he had tried pot when he was 15. She asked if either of these were habitual and he answered no.

    Will his medical exam now go in the reject pile? Sorry, I don't know all the lingo and acronyms. He has been driving this train because he is extremely motivated about attending and wants to succeed independent of our help.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    He did exactly right. He told the truth, with no parsing of “well, what does ‘ever’ really mean?” and with no prompting or coaching from you. And - he came to tell you. I want to go back on active duty and serve with him!

    There are dozens of threads across the forums here about those who struggle with this, those who essentially lie and then have to walk it back and many other variations.

    There were questions. He was told to answer honestly. He did. He answered follow-up questions honestly. He told you.

    He will be fine. A bit of experimental usage at this age is not unexpected. Honesty from the get-go is the key, as it gets harder and less explainable later on to untangle.

    I am bookmarking this thread to reference when this comes up in future.

    Hallelujah.
     
  3. Humey

    Humey Member

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    From what others have written on the subject, there probably wont be any ramification from it. Saying no and then coming out that he did would hurt him a lot more. They understand that people drink and have tried marijuana. No one expects saints to join up. What they don t want is habitual drug users or people who did lots of underage drinking
     
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  4. OCMom

    OCMom New Member

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    Capt. MJ - thank you for your feedback. Now, I can't say that I would have answered that way at almost 18 years old. His application is quite strong, and while I am well aware that he is running with some very, very exceptional candidates, I just pray that this won't hurt him. That being said, he will make an amazing officer someday, if given the opportunity.

    Humey, thank you for response as well.
     
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  5. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    He’s applying to USNA, where mids live — and die, metaphorically — by the honor code. So he would be off to a terrible start if he gained appointment by lying on the DODMERB. As others have said, it likely won’t hurt his chances. But if he didn’t get in because of this, his integrity and honor will take him further in life than a USNA degree obtained by way of a blatant lie.

    I admire your son. I’m guessing he acted in this way because of how he was raised. As parents, we want the best for our kids. Often, our kids know better than we do what’s best for them.
     
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  6. THParent

    THParent Member

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    Always tell the truth. If for no other reason, it's easier to remember than a lie. ;)
     
  7. OCMom

    OCMom New Member

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    I'm happy to report that my son received an update in his portal today. DODMERB status: Qualified.
     
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  8. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    @OCMom, thank you for coming back to close the loop. Some of us like knowing our perspective was helpful. For aspiring cadets/midshipmen lurking here, this is a great example of the integrity that’s vital in military service. Best wishes to your DS.
     
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  9. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    Many threads on similar issues here.. Bottom line, always tell the truth. The cover up is always worse than the offense.
     
  10. parent

    parent Member

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    A MIDN does not lie cheat or steal!!!!
     
  11. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 10-Year Member

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    If answering in the affirmative doesn't matter - then it makes you wonder why they even ask the question - doesn't it?

    You say "probably won't" which means, "I don't know for sure".

    I don't know, either - but I suspect that it certainly cannot help. There are probably examples of candidates who admitted underage drinking and marijuana use and eventually received an appointment. But I also imagine that there are those who admitted to it and did not get an appointment. That is hardly evidence that it has no "ramification". Let's face it, some candidates have far more impressive credentials than others. Perhaps a candidate who is on-the-bubble for receiving an appointment doesn't get the latitude in this area that another candidate may get. I don't know. But it wouldn't be unreasonable.

    I know of a first class midshipman who went into a sub interview and admitted that he had smoked marijuana when he was on his Youngster Cruise. He was not only not selected for subs - he was separated. He had to reimburse the government for his education - a rather large sum of money. One might say, "Well, he admitted to having used marijuana while he was a midshipman. That's different than when you admit to what you did in high school." Is it? Is the issue only honesty to this question?

    I'm not advocating lying to this question. People have to decide that for themselves. All I'm saying is this: It might make a difference - or they wouldn't ask.
     
  12. Humey

    Humey Member

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    Well of course it matters. Admitting it may hurt some more than others, especially if you are on the bubble. If the goal is to get perfect angels who have never had a beer prior to turning 21 or smoked a joint, then the military is going to miss out on a lot of people. I am not advocating that they do and I am honestly one of those people who never never smoked and never drank. Till this today, I barely even touch alcohol. And lets be honest, if the result of answering honestly to these types of questions is to get DQ, then people are going to lie. I dont care how good everyone thinks the security checks are, lies are going to get through. Maybe not everyone, but enough. As for 'probably not" comment, I find there are very few things in this world where I think something is going to happen 100% of the time.
     
  13. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 10-Year Member

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    What Captain MJ said...

    And I'm an ALO for USAFA...and I'd want this young man as my candidate.

    Bravo Zulu young man!!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
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  14. THParent

    THParent Member

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    Outstanding.
     
  15. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 10-Year Member

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    All I'm saying regarding this issue is this: The academy wouldn't ask these questions if they didn't think it mattered. We can only speculate as to what the impact (if any) of answering "yes" is. If you think you're getting "honesty points" for being honest, you're probably being a bit naive; notwithstanding that everybody seems to want to serve alongside anybody who is honest enough to admit that they engaged in underage drinking and smoked marijuana.

    What if additional questions like this were asked:

    Have you ever taken a drug that requires a doctor's prescription for which you did not have a prescription?

    Have you ever stolen anything?

    Have you ever committed a crime for which you were not caught?

    Have you ever cheated on a test, quiz, homework or a project while in school?

    Do you get "honesty points" for answering in the affirmative for each of those, as well?

    Is there a point where answering "yes" crosses a line from being honest to being, maybe, somebody we don't want at the Naval Academy? I don't know the answer and I wouldn't pretend that I do by telling that honest person that there would be no ramifications.

    People make mistakes when they're young. They can have an awareness that those were mistakes and dedicate themselves to not repeat those mistakes as a more mature individual. They can turn their lives around and start afresh at the Naval Academy. But you can't do that unless you get an appointment.

    It's easy to be sanctimonious from the outside looking in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
  16. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    @Memphis9489, with all due respect, I’m a reasonably smart person, but I’m struggling to understand the post and this quote in particular. Don’t know what being sanctimonious has to do with anything — again, I don’t understand the post — but I do know that how one chooses to answer questions such as these while in pursuit of an academy appointment reveals a lot about one’s character. Now, how others choose to judge said character is up to them.

    Anyhoo....
     
  17. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    I get your point-- you are probably right that the response that "it doesn't matter" is probably inaccurate. Depending upon the facts and circumstances, Admissions may submit the candidate to a character review to evaluate whether he/she should be admitted. Thus, self reported drug and alcohol use could in fact be disqualifying. I wouldn't expect alcohol use in a social setting with family (which is actually legal in many states), or a one time use of marijuana would have any material affect on admissions. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if more candidates than not have experimented with drugs or alcohol (I'm not saying I approve, but I'm not naive). (As an aside, OP refers to the DODMERB paperwork; I don't know for certain, but because of Medical privacy laws, wouldn't be surprised if USNA merely gets a pass/fail , or at most a summary , of the medical screen unless waiver is needed from USNA .)

    I also agree there are no "honesty points." Honesty is an expectation, and I would presume that Admissions takes everything submitted by a candidate as truthful, unless there is reason to question and investigate. The point made on this issue in the past is that it is far better to be truthful and deal with the impact of your actions up front, than have it discovered later.

    Again, I get your argument, but I find it very easy to distinguish youthful experimentation in High School than drug use while enrolled at USNA. The Navy's position on drug use is pretty clear - ZERO TOLERANCE . This policy was instituted in the early 1980's following a aircraft crash where a number of sailors were killed, and I'm confident that Midshipmen are aware of the consequences of drug use.
     
  18. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    @Memphis9489, I read your post a few more times and I think I now understand. For a candidate who’s committed certain transgressions that fall under the category of “we’ve probably all done it at some point,” as long as the candidate is remorseful and promises to never do it again, that candidate can lie about it on an SA application because if that helps them receive appointment, it will be easier for them to transgress no more since they will turn their life around at the SA. Got it!
     
  19. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I am sure the answers matter but I have to imagine the scope of the action makes a difference. Have you had alcohol? If the answer is I had a glass at my cousin's wedding or I drank a sip of wine at a religious ceremony, it is going to be different if you answer yes, I used to get drunk every weekend with my buddies and we smoked weed along with it. I agree that no one should get honesty points for telling the truth, but if telling the truth is going to lose you a position, then many people will lie. Everyone uses the story of saying no to drinking or smoking and then having a picture showed up contradicting it. However, if you know that the only time you have ever had a beer is with your father or at a family gathering where people dont normally take pics of everything, why would you tell the truth when you know doing so would get you DQ, especially when you know there is nothing to contradict it. As for why they dont ask the other questions like "have you ever stolen something" it is because they dont want to know. Even if they wanted to know, who is going to admit to stealing gum or whatever when they were 15 and were never caught.
     
  20. THParent

    THParent Member

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    I don't know. I could answer "yes" to all of those, and I grew up in the 60's. :)