My son wants to fly for the military. He has vision that is correctable to 20/20. The Navy said they would treat him with PRK surgery if accepted. Does anyone know if the Coast Guard does this for thier students seeking Flight Training?
The short answer to this is yes, the Coast Guard will pay to have your son undergo PRK surgery. I have several friends and co-workers, some of whom are pilots, who were treated while at the Academy and others who were treated at their first unit. To my knowledge, the Coast Guard doesn't prioritize those interested in flight school over other applicants....those other applicants include both officers and enlisted personnel. The process is not lengthy but does require some legwork from your son. If he's accepted and attends the Academy, he'll have the discussion with his assigned Primary Care Manager (aka doctor) and move forward that way. Your name goes on a list and then you wait.
When you say Navy, are you referring to the Naval Academy or a different commissioning source? I think the academy does treat midshipmen that wish to attend flight training, but if you go through OCS or ROTC, I'm pretty sure that if you need the surgery that you have to get it done on your own time and dime before you take a flight physical.
I would think the CG academy would also pay for PRK, but keep in mind that the majority of each CG academy class goes afloat on their first assignment. I think only around 10% of each class goes directly to flight school. I'm sure you would find more Naval Academy grads headed to flight school as their first assignment than you would Coast Guard Academy cadets. Not saying its necessarily harder to get into flight school through the CG, but with your son's situation, he may want to look at both.
Tex is right when he says that most CGA graduates are assigned to a ship upon graduation, the percentage is around 10%. Obviously, USNA is about four times larger than USCGA so yes, there are more midshipmen reporting to flight school after graduation, but I couldn't give you the percentage breakdown on that. That being said, understand that just because your son wants flight school, doesn't mean he will get it right away, no matter what SA he chooses to attend. In my opinion, that's not a bad thing. A lot of aviators I've worked with on my ship during deployments believe that its worth it for a pilot to have some shipboard experience because it makes them a better pilot with respect to operating environment, understanding of the work that goes into flight ops on a ship, etc. Once your commissioned, the CG solicits for Flight School approximately every six months. Every classmate I know of who wanted flight school at the Academy has now entered flight school at this point, just three years after graduation. Those who went out to the fleet and realized they wanted to fly have also been accepted. Bottom line...if you want flight school, its almost a guarantee that you'll get it at some point barring any medical or conduct issues. It just might not be at the exact moment you want it.