Medical Turnback


Oct 29, 2016
Hopping onto an older conversation in hopes that we can get some guidance. Our DD is a Basic Cadet in the class of 2021. However she has fractures a bone and now requires surgery. She was given several options (quit and go home, stay--tho not recommended because she needs surgery, or be a medical turnback). She still wants to be at AFA, so she selected the medical turnback. All of us initially understood that this was a guaranteed a lot in the next class, pending medical clearance. However, on a brief call home tonight my DD tells me she was counseled that, while she is a "shoe-in," she would have to reapply. She said she got a whole spiel about how important it is that she keep up her college grades because it's a slot that other kids would want.

I am finding the different things she is hearing confusing. Of course, we do plan to to get her into some classes as best we can while she is recovering. But we don't even know what to expect right now.

Is this really correct? Medical turn backs must fully reapply?

I posted this on an old feed, but it may be too outdated. Anyone have some recent guidance or advice?
Of course, a "medical turnback" must receive the medical attention to correct the problem - broken bones requiring surgery would be an excellent example. You are permitted only so many HOURS away from BCT - It used to be 38 or so, before this "turnback" kicks in. I believe there were exceptions made in 2009 when the H1N1 flu made its rounds through the basics, though Doolie Day Out became Doolie Day In that year.

So your DD may not be able to handle the physical pressures with a broken bone and impending surgery, making the medical turnback an equitable and good solution. AFA says "yes, we still want you" and your DD can receive medical help she needs. It's why Plan B is so useful, and one to keep in the back pocket. Contact her Plan B school, and let them know the situation. If you live in a place with a GOOD, RIGOROUS Community College, that may be an option. (If it is essentially a development program for extended high school, look elsewhere) Find one with an AFROTC program. Many are regionalized so that shouldn't be too hard.

Quit & go home? Why? In every class, there are med turns who go onto successful AF careers.

My DD ABSOLUTELY wants to stay at AFA.she doesn't want to quit. That was just one of the "options" they gave her.

I think really our confusion has to do with whether medical turnbacks must reapply. That wasn't the impression I had based on the early direction she got when she was making her decisions how to proceed, but last night my DD relayed that she was told by her officer that turnbacks DO need to reapply.
At USNA they used to (not sure how it is now) had reapply. It is was a streamlined process and pretty much an automatic.
Good to know.

We did place a deposit at our state college and it is a terrific university. However we are now concerned that she will have a lot a difficulty traversing the campus on foot due to her injury., especially with our Wisconsin winters. Additionally the stated recovery time is 4-6 months. We are sort of spinning our wheels now looking for a different rigorous option. We may have to compromise a little, but we had some dread thinking about re-applying and making such compromises.
However we are now concerned that she will have a lot a difficulty traversing the campus on foot due to her injury., especially with our Wisconsin winters.

My AROTC cadet DS spent last spring semester with a broken pelvis and broken arm and dislocated shoulder while dealing with the heaviest regional snow in over ten years!

Most campuses have a special resource department who can assist your DD with priority registration and special handicapped parking. You can find either volunteers, or hire someone to help your DD get from class to class. There are also some classes she can take online, but my DS preferred not to go that route.

My DS ended up completely independent and not requiring assistance within 90 days of his injury. Your DD, given her age and athletic ability, will likely recover FAST.
I posted this on an old feed, but it may be too outdated. Anyone have some recent guidance or advice?

I had hoped that someone with some experience from last year might have responded by this time. I must prefix the remainder of my post by saying I am relatively new to these forums. I have no first hand knowledge with medical turn backs, and my only experience is that my DS is a USAFA 2020 cadet.

In the thread in the DoDMERB where you originally posted, I'm assuming you saw the post by MullenLE where he stated that the medical turn backs on I-Day, meaning pre-existing condition, would be streamlined but still require the individual to obtain a new nomination for the following year. While medical turn backs due to injuries during BCT would be treated as leave without pay and allow one to simply join the following year's class.

Given what you are saying you are hearing it seems that USAFA is thinking your DD had a pre-existing condition on I-Day. If not, you should certainly have your DD push on them to categorize her situation correctly.

My suggestions, are to:
(1) Reach out to Admissions immediately. If your daughter is contactable, she should do this. If she is still participating in BCT and not readily reachable, then you might contact Admissions yourself to explain your DD's situation and inquire as to whether Admissions would be willing to arrange a conference call with your DD and parents where Admissions could clarify the process which would be applicable to your DD's situation. Including things like what she would need to pursue if she is off of her feet for four to six months. Of course only do this if your DD would be comfortable with your taking such actions on her behalf.

(2) In the DoDMERB forum their is a sticky by MullenLE which provides his contact details in 2015. It seems he has been silent in these forums since then. You could consider reaching out to him directly to see if he could direct you to the appropriate authorities.

I am sorry your DD had to experience this and wish her luck in navigating through this.
So I'm not advocating in any direction but there were people last year who pushed through pretty serious injuries to finish up BCT so they didn't have to get set back a year. One girl tore her ACL and her classmates literally wheeled her around the hallway in her office chair and did everything to help her get through. I know there were several similar instances of this. Again, not necessarily advocating this direction, but be aware that it can and has been done.
Maybe @Insider can help clarify when a medical turn-back requires a complete re-application versus automatic admission to next year's class.