Military Academy

My son is a type 1. He was interested in the Military Academies but found out there is a restriction on diabetics. We just discovered the US Maritime Academy and I'm wondering if anyone knows if they have a similar restriction. One desk at the pentagon said it was waiverable. I'm trying to figure out where to go to get confirmation. Any information would be appreciated.

I don't know of a branch of any U.S. military that allows people with diabetes to enlist. It's pretty much an automatic disqualification for anybody trying to volunteer for military service for the first time.

That being said, it doesn't look like the U.S. Maritime Academy has any particular ties to any branch of U.S. military service. From what I can tell, it focuses on licensing for commercial shipping opportunities.

PerhapsSam could answer you. He is a master mariner, and licensed to pilot any ship of any size. and he's type1.

I’m a maritime academy graduate and current unlimited master mariner, with a health waiver for diabetes .The maritime academy is not military. There is a federal academy, and several state academies. The federal is generally considered in the industry to produce the least desirable graduates… But they don’t pay tuition there either. Instead they join the merchant marine reserve upon graduation which means that if there was a world war 3 type situation, they would be the first ones called to transport the military’s goods and equipment all over the place, thus they are required to train with the navy on occasion in order to be able to coordinate together in an emergency. Upon graduation from any of the maritime academies, graduates will have an entry level ships officers licenses to work aboard commercial ships as a third mate or third assistant engineer— these positions are licensed by the US coast guard who do require that you pass their physical standards. Diabetes is a “waiverable condition”. To get my waiver I had to do an exercise stress test, submit 90 days of blood glucose logs with no episodes of hypoglycemia, two a1cs separated by 90 days and both under 8 and an ophthalmology exam. I have to each year repeat the eye exam. 90 days of logs, and the a1c.

90 days with no episodes of hypoglycemia?


What do they define as hypoglycemia and how do they verify 90 days worth of fingersticks?

They don’t say what criteria they use. My own doctor verifies no hypoglycemia. It is a very dysfunctional system. I can’t honestly say I’d recommend it to be a good career to start pursuing at this point in time.

But for the most direct information closest to the source I would reccomend you contact several of the maritime academies directly and speak to their health directors.

Thanks for your help guys. I talked to the medical line at the Pentagon this morning and they said they could provide a waiver. I called back just a few minutes ago and was told point blank that it is a disqualifier. I also found an article where they kicked out a candidate who was in the school, but came down with TYPE 1. It is a shame. Sam and FHS I appreciate your input.

If he is truly interested in a career working on ships I’d look into the state academies-- in my opinion they are better programs. There is the California maritime academy, Massachusetts maritime academy. SUNY maritime. Great Lakes Maritime academy, Maine maritime, and Texas A&M all offer programs that get the students to the same goal with less headaches and quite likely less restrictions. Make sure he knows that’s what he’s interested in though— I’ve made what some people would consider a very good living in this line of work but it never turned out to be anything like I thought would be appealing about it. Having a health issue that’s under constant scrutiny in this line of work is also the source of a tremendous amount of stress, which I wouldn’t recommend that a young person with countless other options sign themselves up for a lifelong battle over— but if its his dream, go for it— but look into it thoroughly and discuss situation with the health director of any of the above programs.

This seems reasonable to be. How does one manage diabetes during combat? Think about what our soldiers have to do?

As the wife of a 25 yr veteran and mother of an Army son, FHS is correct. If you are already enlisted and contract D AND your MOS or one they could put you into, keeps you out of combat, you can stay...

My son has psoriasis. He did ROTC in college and I warned him that it might keep him off enlistment. The hoops he had to jump through were incredible: documentation, high level interviews, recommendations, etc. My Captain :>) made it (so proud) but psoriasis will not diminish the capacity to help the unit like D.

I am so sorry to tell you that admission into a military academy(I assume it is college level?) will be next to and probably totally impossible.

No problem and I'm really sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Most of my family served in one branch or another and I was heading in that direction as well until the big D. Best of luck to you and your son.