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Yet Another Back question

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  • Yet Another Back question

    First let me apologize for the long post. Second, I'd like to apologize for once again beating this dead horse. However, I am hoping to get a little more directed information.

    My questions - has anyone ever successfully joined, or truly heard of someone joining, after having back surgery? If so, how was it accomplished?

    Now for the boring (yet somewhat important) details. I am a 38 yo male in Alabama. When I was 18, I joined the USMC and while in basic I had a family tragedy at home that required me leaving basic in my 9th week. Because it was going to be an extended leave, my SDI had me sent to BMC for "tendonitis in both knees" and I was given an ELS so I could return home, with the understanding that if I came back I would start back at day 1. I went home and my intent was to return, but I never did. At 21, I became a father. At 25, my wife and I divorced and I gained custody of my 2 sons. now I had a dilemma - to join now meant that I would have to give custody over to the crackhead mother, which was NOT going to happen. So I decided to bide my time.

    Now, The oldest is 17 and the youngest 15 and I am remarried. However 5 years ago I was in an accident that caused one of my discs to slightly tear. I feel this is important because most disc problems are from degenerative disc disease, which weakens your discs over time. This was not my case. Secondly - I had a hobby of medieval sword fighting and wearing 14th century armour for a full day, every other weekend, strengthens your back a LOT. So after my surgery, my recovery was quick and complete.

    So now, I still have this yearning to serve in our military, to repay a debt, to be part of a brotherhood that most civilians can't understand. To give back. I have a bachelors degree, I have a good job. I have retirement. I have health insurance. I do not want to join for ANY of these things. I've even offered to complete basic with no rank and pay, under a hold-harmless agreement so that the US Army would not be liable should I happen to hurt myself. I am comfortable doing this because I know what I am capable of.

    But army reg 40-501 is still blocking me. I know what a lot of people will say - the stress on your back is intense. I know this, remember - I spent 9 weeks in there. I am well aware of the strains on your back. For kicks, I rock climb. I hike. I hunt. I'll thow 120 pounds of armour into a parachute bag, throw over my shoulder, and carry it for long distances to get to areas where I fight in tournaments. My back is strong.

    I can meet all of the PFT requirements, and then some. I have 2 miles in just over 14 minutes. I can turn out about 25 pullups without kipping, and I can do 60 situps in 2 minutes. I can do about 50 pushups. And this is without training or working out daily. I'm 5'6" and 155 lbs with very little body fat. I am only pointing this out to say that I *am* physically able and capable.

    So has anyone ever been successful in getting a waiver for 40-501 CH.2 p 29-g?

    Thank you for your time.

    Last edited by SFC_Wilson; July 21st, 2011, 11:30 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Yet Another Back question

    Although I don't have an answer for you, if you do come across someone that DID get that waiver...take note of when they got it. Given the current strength of the military, someone claiming they got one 2 weeks ago versus 2 years ago is very important. It is not getting any easier for those with medical or legal issues to enlist. Good luck.
    Last edited by SteveLord; April 19th, 2011, 11:15 AM.


    • #3
      Re: Yet Another Back question

      Thanks. I probably should also mention that I've already gone through the steps of working in person with a recruiter and taking the ASVAB (which I scored 96 on) and looking at available jobs in the guard. That was about 6 months ago, and at that time there were several openings that they were struggling to fill. The ASVAB score helped because they tend to get a lot of low scores, which disqualifies the young guys for positions like chemtech at Anniston. I've written a letter to our AG to ask for his help, although with having a state guard to run, he probably won't have time or inclination to read or respond.


      • #4
        Re: Yet Another Back question

        Are you aware that the age limit for the Army, including the National Guard, has been lowered to 35 years old? (you stated you are 38?)

        Active Duty None-Prior Service

        Army - 35 (must ship to basic training prior to 35th birthday. The Army experimented with raising the age limit to age 42 for a brief period of time, but effective April 1st, 2011, the Army has reverted to the lower age limit.

        Prior Service Enlistments

        The age limit for prior service enlistment for most of the branches is the same as above, except that an individual's total previous military time can be subtracted from their current age. (You said you left BCT only 9 weeks in?)


        • #5
          Re: Yet Another Back question

          I was not aware of that.
          Last edited by SFC_Wilson; July 21st, 2011, 11:21 AM.


          • #6
            Re: Yet Another Back question

            Dale, it's possible the age limit will go back up with the new fiscal year (October). I'd keep checking as recruitment guidelines are always changing. Have you looked into the Reserves (also a 35 age limit?), Air Force, Navy, etc.? I'm not very well versed in knowledge about the other branches, but I'm fairly certain there's a reserve component for each. You sound like you'd be a great addition to any service, so keep searching for what'll get you back in.


            • #7
              Re: Yet Another Back question

              Thank you. I am actually looking at National Guard at this time. I knew I didn't meet the age limit for all other branches but the Army, so I was looking at Army Reserves and NG. I am going to continue to push the envelope as far as I can because I just don't have it in me to give up. When I decided that it was time to do this, I knew I'd face hurdles but I told myself that I would keep trying until I either reach social security age or the commander in chief personally tells me to bug off.


              • #8
                Re: Yet Another Back question

                Depending on what type of surgery you went through (invasive versus non-invasive) you may not have an issue getting in with your back. If you received a fusion or disk replacement, then your chances of getting through MEPS are slim. If you went through a non-invasive surgery (such as a diskectomy or similar) then your odds improve. Either way you will have to provide a recruiter (and I am discounting the current age restrictions that are in place at this time, which you can get verified by a local ARNG recruiter) a complete medical packet to be reviewed by MEPS and or NGB to see if they will give you a medical qualification rating. This process is not a quick one either...

                I am not current on age issues with the recruiting side of the house, and although the Army National Guard is part of the Army (Big Army = Active, USAR and ARNG) sometimes the recruiting rulles and regs are slightly differerent. Either way your best bet at this time is to talk to an actual ARNG recruiter and get the current info on age and medical qualification - a full-time recruiter will have knowledge and access to all of the current information regarding age or medical issues - and what can and cannot be submitted for consideration of a waiver.
                Last edited by LRSU_Dog; April 19th, 2011, 10:56 PM.