Meet the new moderator

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10-Year Member
Jun 15, 2006
Meet the DoDMERB forum moderator

I have decided to place my bio in a sticky for any and all to view, and also to keep it at the top of the DoDMERB forum so new folks don't have to wade through 8 pages of previous posts.

I joined the Navy in ’86, went to Hospital Corpsman “A” school (for those who don’t know, that’s what a medic is called in the Navy), from there went to Aviation Medicine Technician “C” school. First real command was the USS Midway (CV-41) stationed out of Yokosuka, Japan (now a museum in San Diego) for 2 years. Spent the next 9 years with the Marines in fun exotic locations like Yuma, AZ; Kaneohoe, HI (OK, so that wasn’t so bad) and New River, NC. I then spent 3 years at the Branch Medical Clinic, Annapolis, MD where I did the commissioning physicals for graduating Midshipmen, and then on to DoDMERB reviewing physicals for applicants to the service academies, ROTC programs and USUHS, which I did for the past 5 years. I recently retired after 20 years of service, and have started a new career in the IT world.

Now about DoDMERB, contrary to popular belief it is not staffed with mean, evil people, but people who care and are compassionate, and who have also been at sea or in the field and know what kinds of problems can arise with different medical conditions. All the enlisted staff are E-6 and above, and all the officer staff are O-6’s. It is broken down into sections (Air Force, Army and Sea Services) with 3 Air Force reviewers, 4 Army reviewers, 3 Navy reviewers, and 1 Coast Guard reviewer. There is a physician from the Air Force, Army and Navy (total of 3)and one Air Force optometrist. Each section has one civilian secretary (who answers the majority of the phone calls for that section), and there are about 20 other civilians in other supporting roles (scheduling, correspondence, scanning and data entry). DoDMERB processes an average of about 38,000 - 40,000 individual applicants (that is separate individuals and not applications, some applicants will apply to all SA’s and all ROTC programs for a total of 8 applications for one individual) per year. Everyone works together in the same office, and one applicants file may be touched by multiple reviewers.

If you step back and take a look at the numbers of applicants applying, and the number of reviewers and physicians, the fact that the majority of the cases are worked in less than 2 weeks is pretty amazing. I know that when you have submitted information to DoDMERB and are waiting on that answer it seems like forever, but the process does work, and IMHO it works well.

DoDMERB is a basically a large medical clearing house where any possible medical issues are brought up. DoDMERB works in black and white, you have a disqualification that’s listed in the DoD instructions, DoDMERB has to disqualify. If you have a medical condition that is questionable, but isn’t really covered by the instruction that DoDMERB uses, you may be medically disqualified. DoDMERB does not provide any medical care to the applicants after they show up for I-day or R-day, or after an applicant shows up for ROTC, that is provided by either the SA’s or the ROTC headquarters, and DoDMERB does not do the commissioning physicals, so as such the waiver authorities have the ultimate say on what disqualifications can be waivered.

So there’s the brief overview of DoDMERB. I have lurked on a few boards for the past year or so, always wanting to help, or to set people straight, but haven’t so as not to seem like I was giving anyone preferential treatment. But now that I am not reviewing cases anymore I feel free to help people through what can seem like a bad dream. Here is what I will do, I will give the best advice on what path to take, and how to follow through based on my experience. I will not ask for medical information, but what is given to me freely I will use. I will give you my best guess on waiver issues, but I never worked at the waiver authorities and they surprised me everyday with waivers they granted that I never thought would be, and waivers they denied that I felt were a rubber stamp approval. I will help you to understand the reasoning behind the disqualifications (the asthma one is the biggest), and also help to decipher the DoD instructions. I will not advise you to be dishonest, nor will I be dishonest with you, as I feel integrity is the highest value that you can have. I am sure that there will be questions that I can’t answer, and I will tell you so and refer you to DoDMERB. But for the most part I’m sure I’ll be able to help you through and make this not such a harrowing experience. If you have an issue that you would rather not bring up in a public forum, please feel free to PM me.

Again, any questions and I’ll be happy to help you out.
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