TV Show contestant on Survivor

i watch the CBS show Survivor and this season there is a contestant whose job title is "Air Force Veteran". this is what they show as her job onscreen. she is only 24 and says she was a recruited athlete at the USAFA, but she ended up leaving the Academy after her sophomore year due to an injury or something. does 2 years at a military academy qualify you for Veteran status? even if just to call yourself that? maybe im being too picky; just doesnt seem fair to actual veterans?
 

Devil Doc

Teufel Doc
Two seasons per calendar year. I’ve never missed an episode. I’m grieving the passing of Rudy who I met not long before he retired from the USN. He’s a Navy icon and founding Survivor contestant.
 

Tex232

Member
Cadets are considered members of Active Duty, so technically yes. There is more to the story apparently, and this article suggests she continued in the Air Force after departing USAFA:
Regardless of what this girl’s situation was, it’s one thing to be technically considered a veteran by law, totally another to claim being at a service academy for however many years truly makes you one. It’s like someone in the DEP claiming veteran status, or someone who got injured in boot.
 

A1Janitor

Member
Regardless of what this girl’s situation was, it’s one thing to be technically considered a veteran by law, totally another to claim being at a service academy for however many years truly makes you one. It’s like someone in the DEP claiming veteran status, or someone who got injured in boot.
She enlisted in to the Air Force at 18. She then went to the academy.

She was active duty before AFA.
 

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
Here’s an interview from Parade magazine. She went to USAFA but was disenrolled, looks like medical. She then moved to enlisted service. I couldn’t find anything saying she was prior enlisted, so I’m thinking she was a basketball recruit direct from HS.


Her USAFA team bio:


I read it she played two seasons, was in Class of 2016. Add two years enlisted status/medical hold, and that seems to jive with the timeline.

Articles that were written as derivatives of the Parade interview may have conflated the use of “joined the military” with “enlisted,” a common error.
 
Here’s an interview from Parade magazine. She went to USAFA but was disenrolled, looks like medical. She then moved to enlisted service. I couldn’t find anything saying she was prior enlisted, so I’m thinking she was a basketball recruit direct from HS.


Her USAFA team bio:


I read it she played two seasons, was in Class of 2016. Add two years enlisted status/medical hold, and that seems to jive with the timeline.

Articles that were written as derivatives of the Parade interview may have conflated the use of “joined the military” with “enlisted,” a common error.
right she never enlisted, im not sure she would even be allowed to serve as en;isted if she had been medically discharged from the AFA
 

A1Janitor

Member
Here’s an interview from Parade magazine. She went to USAFA but was disenrolled, looks like medical. She then moved to enlisted service. I couldn’t find anything saying she was prior enlisted, so I’m thinking she was a basketball recruit direct from HS.


Her USAFA team bio:


I read it she played two seasons, was in Class of 2016. Add two years enlisted status/medical hold, and that seems to jive with the timeline.

Articles that were written as derivatives of the Parade interview may have conflated the use of “joined the military” with “enlisted,” a common error.
Yeah ... I read a derivative article.

Sad story.

Be cool if someone could search and see if she posted here.
 

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
I did wonder if she came in via the USAFA prep school, where civilians are given some type of enlisted reserve status, or whether she applied direct from enlisted ranks. She would have had to come into USAFA the summer of 2012, because her first year on the USAFA hoops team was 2012-2013, per link above.

She graduated from HS (Wesleyan in Norcross, GA) in 2012. That’s why I think she went straight from high school to her induction at USAFA as a recruited athlete.

It would be unusual but not unheard of to put her in some kind of paid enlisted status while they were sorting out her medical, after she was disenrolled from USAFA.

It’s been interesting trying to piece together her military service, length and type.
 
I did wonder if she came in via the USAFA prep school, where civilians are given some type of enlisted reserve status, or whether she applied direct from enlisted ranks. She would have had to come into USAFA the summer of 2012, because her first year on the USAFA hoops team was 2012-2013, per link above.

She graduated from HS (Wesleyan in Norcross, GA) in 2012. That’s why I think she went straight from high school to her induction at USAFA as a recruited athlete.

It would be unusual but not unheard of to put her in some kind of paid enlisted status while they were sorting out her medical, after she was disenrolled from USAFA.

It’s been interesting trying to piece together her military service, length and type.
capt: in your opinion given the stories and timeline, is she a veteran? sounds like she may be if they had her finnish out her academy commitment as an enlisted.
 
Last edited:

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
There is “veteran” as defined by the VA for the purpose of eligibility for benefits. Each state also can determine what makes a “veteran” for the state’s veterans’ benefits; these definitions can vary among states and from the Fed VA.

She most likely has a DD-214 covering her time as a cadet, and a DD-214 covering her time as an enlisted. Officer, cadet/midshipman, enlisted service are not typically mixed on the same DD-214. I would predict both DD-214s show at least a General Under Honorable conditions type of discharge. It might even be Honorable. She probably has some medical benefits from the VA for her cancer history, which was discovered during a time she carried an active ID card. All kinds of folks can be called veterans. If she was open and honest about how she spent her years in uniform, if we take her words in Parade as truth, she served as a cadet and served as an enlisted person.

Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.” That is the basis. As I noted above, additional requirements as to length and type of service may be used to define eligibility for Fed and state benefits.

Most people, to ensure clarity, will qualify their service in some way, such as “I’m a vet, but was discharged from my training pipeline after a year.” “I’m a vet, did my 5 years and got out.” “I’m a 26 year career vet.”
 
Top