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14 Responses

  1. Tim
    Tim May 25, 2012 at 9:02 am | | Reply

    A lot of this sounds like what started to happen with Emergency and EMT technicians/ drivers in the last few years. I can see their point about the danger of an extended intensive combat role, but there are definitely roles we can play in support. I would also be surprised if a soldier a military branch has invested in for twenty years or more (like a general) would so quickly discharge a valuable asset if they’re well-controlled and proactive with their care.

  2. Rachel
    Rachel June 5, 2012 at 1:12 am | | Reply

    Thank you so much for this post! I have a friend with Celiac’s that is joining the Navy after school. I’m not sure how much she has disclosed to her officers, but there are definitely additional and, perhaps unreasonable, barriers to serving for her and other people with other conditions like diabetes.

  3. Mawi
    Mawi January 25, 2013 at 8:27 pm | | Reply

    I definitely, an issue arising in certain scenarios where I (type 2) would feel uncomfortable to serve, if I was out weeks if not months without resupply and I have to be a 100% or people die. I personally think about using my degree (civil engineering) in the military where I’m not in full combat scenarios (i’m not the biggest and toughest guy either lol). However, I have diabetes in control enough to serve in these situations and would be upset if an opportunity came up but I was turned away because of my diabetes.

  4. charlie mitchell
    charlie mitchell February 3, 2013 at 8:11 am | | Reply

    I had to hide the fact that I had diabetes (type 2). The big concern was that we (diabetics) were not fit for world wide duty. Many of us do control diabetes with diet and exercise. On the outside chance there was a concern about deployment, there are a multitude of jobs that we can perform stateside. It seems to be an ongoing unreasonable fear of diabetics.

    I have seen several people discharged because of diabetes. The military is just so uncaring and matter of fact the way they do it, many members just opt not to say anything. I managed to retire after 28 years of service. It is one thing to be anxious about being deployed, it’s another to be fearful of the job that many have dedicated their lives to.

  5. Matt
    Matt February 22, 2013 at 8:57 pm | | Reply

    I can understand why the military is cautious about diabetics…I mean, the POGs already do a POS job on a lot of things, without throwing in a sugar imbalance into the mix. Nonetheless, diabetics can still serve in support posts stateside, where logistics isn’t nearly as much an issue. If you can work a dead-end desk job in the civilian world, then why not as a “terminal E-3″, if you guys read any military humor.

  6. donna carpenter
    donna carpenter March 28, 2013 at 8:07 am | | Reply

    My husband was “dumped” out there…was wondering what is the disability rate for a type 1 ?

  7. John
    John July 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm | | Reply

    I was an infantry officer in the Marine Corps and was diagnosed T1 while on my second deployment and later medically retired. I do not believe T1′s should be allowed to enter the military or remain in the military for that matter. It is challenging enough to control this disease in a controlled enviroment(ie: being a civilian). The stress of any type of deployment for any MOS exposes service members to uncontrolled environments that potentially put the diabetic in a situation of “sugar vulnerability” thus putting his/her fellow service members at risk while changing a mission from the task at hand to the diabetic and their sugar issue. Also to be “in” the military but not deploy as a diabetic means you take a slot of non deployability permenatly away from healthy service members who may end up deploying twice because the diabetic can not deploy, that means time away from their family and inherant risks all because the T1 with their known condition stays in. The military is about evaluating and mitigating risks and ultimately us T1′s are a risk that can be avoided. I would not want my Marines to be at potential risk and have to be taken away from a mission to attend to me on a low BGL and potentially get killed when it could have been avoided by me not participating. We are a risk and should not be in an occupation which requires that a it’s amount of detail to ensure the safety of other service members. The comparison of professional athletes is not even compatible, a pro athlete with T1 has a dedicated medical staffer solely to monitor that athlete and is always in a controlled environment under constant supervision. On the battlefield or on a long convoy in the middle of Northern Africa…. That is not the case. That’s my perspective as a former military officer and T1 and to me it is selfish to remain in the military with T1 as you put others at risk and/or take away time if you are in a non-deployable from others who have to deploy twice in your place.

  8. Michael
    Michael August 21, 2013 at 3:23 am | | Reply

    While I certainly understand what John is saying, and I don’t necessarily disagree…I can’t help but point out that it is awfully easy to put forward that position when you already got your chance.

    1. Timothy Elderkin
      Timothy Elderkin June 26, 2014 at 7:08 am | | Reply

      I agree that putting diabetics in a combat situation doesn’t make sense and puts others at risk. This doesn’t mean that diabetics shouldn’t be considered for other roles and aren’t available for deployment. I tried to join the Navy Reserve a few years back and have many things to offer as an experienced college graduate and my recruiter was putting me through the delayed entry program. As soon as I got to MEPS I was dq’d and tossed aside like a piece of trash. I would have done well in a supply and logistics role if just given the opportunity.

  9. Kenny
    Kenny October 15, 2013 at 1:54 am | | Reply

    I ain’t giving hope I’m fighting them on being able to serve in the National Guard. I ain’t gonna let anything or anyone get in my way of enlisting in the National Guard !

  10. Andrew Bell
    Andrew Bell February 26, 2014 at 6:56 am | | Reply

    Thanks for the article, Mike. I look forward to seeing this improve for people with T1D. Is anyone aware of some advocacy groups for this issue? I’d like to help them.

  11. Clifton W. Matthews, Jr.
    Clifton W. Matthews, Jr. May 22, 2014 at 3:48 pm | | Reply

    I am a type 2 diabetic. I was diagnosed with diabetes while in the Army National Guard in 2008. I got out to join the Air Force but was disqualified because of my diabetes. I am trying to re-enlist. I have wrote the President, my Congressman, my Senator, The National Guard Bureau just to name a few. If I had stayed in they wouldn’t have discharged me so why is it a problem now. I am a 9 year veteran and I just want to finish serving my country proudly. I have friends who are diabetic who are serving abd friends who were diabetic that retired. Can anyone help me?

  12. kpadilla
    kpadilla September 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm | | Reply

    Sure, diabetics can potentially be a higher risk, that doesn’t mean that they will be or that they are indeed a higher risk. T1s and T2s are completely different and should definitely start being understood and evaluated as different. T1s are capable of utilizing current technologies and therapies that allow them to control their condition perfectly and are in general healthier than some non-diabetics. The common misconception I still see is that T1s are at fault for their condition or were capable of avoiding it. There are other conditions that are genetic and disqualify people and there are many that are not genetic that disqualify someone. It should be considered on a case by case basis in ever instance.

    As for the idea that one should simply work for the government as a civilian, I would argue this: those positions are not easy to attain nor are they necessarily available. Getting those positions require many qualifications and education and often even internships. These aren’t easy to do and when pursuing these qualifications as a civilian can be costly with little to no guarantee of payoff.

    Example: a 25 year old, fit, Type 1 diabetic, who speaks multiple languages, including but in no way limited to Chinese, Korean, Arabic, French and Swahili. A complete degree in Psychology, and several years of experience in bilingual customer service. (S)he is unable to join the military because of her/his diabetes despite the incessant attempt to join and be a service member and potentially an interpreter/translator. In order to do this as a civilian, the person must obtain a degree, a license in interpretation for each language (s)he wishes to use. These aren’t cheap. The schooling is expensive, the licensing is expensive and difficult to get to, and an internship is often unpaid and doesn’t include travel or even housing to the place of the program, which is mostly in Washington D.C.

    Alternatively, if we eliminate the T1DM diagnosis, this person is able to pass the AF or APT without issue and is able to work and receive the training and education necessary to be an interpreter/translator. Eventually, the person discharges and is able to use her/his experience and education to hold a civilian job similar or identical to the one held in the military and may even receive benefits allowing for an advanced degree in linguistics or psychology.

    I would like to point out that this is a very real possibility and though there are points to be made, undermining the issue and difficulty of the “just be a civilian doing the same thing” argument.

  13. adam
    adam November 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm | | Reply

    Let’s change this! If we get enough people the White House will respond.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/end-discrimination-against-type-1-diabetics-united-states-military/wXpVzVZf

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