Rejected by Uncle Sam

Quite awhile ago, I asked for advice in this thread about joining the Air Force. Well, here’s what happened.

I flew down to Lackland, and things start off reasonably well. The TI is mean, of course, but I pick up things pretty quick so I’m only in trouble when everyone is in trouble. Problem is, I can’t eat. Queasy, no appetite, can’t keep anything down but the three glasses of water each meal and maybe one or two bites. At the physical five days after arriving, they weigh me at 16 pounds less than the day I left home. Still, foolishly, I don’t speak up but try to just push through. Uh uh. Around day ten or so, I throw up all over the mess hall and they take me over to WHMC (the hospital). Turns out I have a muscle disease (plus dehydration) I never knew I had. I’m transferred over to the 319th until they discharge me.

I was so upset. For the ten weeks I was there (lord, but they drag on the paperwork at that squadron) I had a PC waiver. As long as I wasn’t physically being pushed so hard, I was fine. I had it all down; cadence, drill, the routine. By the last few weeks, I was dorm chief. Heck, I even earned a three-day base lib. I had it all worked out but the physical part, but I still got discharged. I’m not good enough for the USAF.

I’ve been home for a few months now. I would have asked this sooner, but I was still so pissed, this would probably be in the Pit. But, what do I do now? I can’t reenlist. I guess I’ll go back to college, but damn it would have been nice to have had that paid for by the Air Force. :slight_smile: Is there anything special I’m forgetting to do? Like some crucial paperwork I should look into or anything? Or is it just, “thanks for the three months of your life; don’t call us, we’ll call you”?

(Note: I don’t mean to sound bitter to the Air Force. It’s just tough to have had a real plan and then have it taken away for reasons beyond my control.)

(Second note: I hope this post isn’t messed up. My computer is acting funny and this is the third time I’ve summitted this thread.)

Are you sure you can’t enlist again? Is this muscle disease a chronic condition, or did it go away?
How about the Reserves?

Yes, they quite clearly said I cannot reenlist. My problem is a genetic disease (i.e., it ain’t going away any time soon) called rhabdomyolysis. Actually, I don’t know about the reserves, but since I’d still have to go through boot camp, I’m betting they wouldn’t allow it.

I’m sorry to hear about this happening to you.
I’m not a lawyer, but I’m assuming the military reserves the right to discharge people it deems to have some condition that would hinder their service – the classic flat-feet syndrome, for instance.

If you feel you’ve been wronged, you might consult a lawyer, but I don’t know what one could do. If you argued discrimination, the service would probably say it’s within its rights to discharge people with chronic conditions.

I hope things work out for you either way. I’d say chalk it up to experience and move on.


Screw the military and its BS. Go back to college and take care of yourself. You have a disease that needs your attention.


You definitely want to ask a medical professional, but it appears what you are describing is not necessarily genetic, but can also be caused simply by being in bad shape or not drinking enough water. If that is the case possibly getting in better shape or hydrating yourself better might cure it. I can understand the military’s precaution though, having a recruit die because they have a pre-disposition toward heatstroke is not something anyone wants.


I’m sorry that happened to you. I have a couple of ideas on that, though.

First of all, get a second opinion. For something like this it’s good to get one anyway and in your case it could be crucial.

Second, you made it through MEPS, right? If they didn’t diagnose it there and let you go, you are their responsibility and at the minimum you should be able to get some form of disability.

Third, e-mail me and we’ll talk, because I have another thought that I shouldn’t air out publicly just yet.

It sounds like they did a thorough work-up on you at Wilford Hall, which is something they don’t do at MEPS. At MEPS, as long as you’re walking, talking, and breathing, they’re happy.

I would get (or make) a copy of your medical records. All of them. Then, when I got back to Chicago, I’d take the records to a doctor for a second opinion. This isn’t to get back into the Air Force, this is for your own health.

Rhabdomyolysis may not be genetic in and of itself (according to this site, lists any number of things as being a precipitating factor, including sporadic bursts of exercise, blunt-force trauma, and ingestion of certain drugs), but it does say that in the young, there may be an underlying genetic cause, so it’s important to be checked out further and take care of that cause.

Another thing I would do is consult an attorney familiar with military disability. Bring the aforementioned records. If nothing else, you can put in a claim of some sort.


Well, so far, I only have the diagnosis from the Lackland doctors. They’re the one’s who told me it was likely genetic. (Thanks all for the links however. I did some poking around myself, but these sites will be informative.) I definitely want to get checked out as soon as I can, however that’ll have to wait until I can get health coverage. Still, it’s very high on my to-do list.

As far as legal action, the Air Force told me it had an 180 Day Rule, where because I got sick before my first six months, they could legally assume it was a preexisting condition and didn’t leave me with anything (except the pay I earned in three months). Is the true, am I being shafted, or as you said should I seek an attorney?