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Diabetes - Type 1 Community
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Avatar universal

Military Discrimination

I am 22 years old and currently attending the University of
Georgia.  My entire life I have wanted to serve in the
military and protect my country.  Unfortunately, I am an
insulin dependent diabetic.  I am in perfect health and
physically fit.  I have no complications after having this
disease for over 17 years.  No branch of the military will
allow me to enlist due to the fact that I am a diabetic.  
Considering I am perfectly able to do anything that the
military requires, I think this is extremely unfair and
unjust.  I certainly understand why they would not want a
diabetic to fill a combat position, but there are numerous
non-combat positions that a diabetic could fill.  I feel that
this is a very blatent example of discrimination.  I would
very much appreciate anyone who could give me some advice on
some options I might have to fight this.  I could certainly
use a helping hand in this situation.
73 Responses
Avatar universal
Dear TShelton,
My son also wanted to join the military.  He was diagnosed at 8 years and is now 27. As a mother and volunteer of JDRF, I cannot give you legal advice as part of our organization.

From our own experience, we talked to many organizations regarding this matter. Unfortunately, back in 1992 at least, the military won't budge in this matter.  Even thogh we know of all of the forward technology that is available for people with diabetes, it seems to me the military is a bit behind the times.  While I agree in someways with active combat, I never felt one should be disallowed with serving in a non-combat position.  

I hate to be negative on this very important question but the only solution you might have is to retain councel, but in our case, my son didn't get far.

If he couldn't go into the military, he wanted to join the police force or become a firefighter.  Again he was turned down for the same reasons. Times are changing so please don't give up.  Jesse fought forestfires in Montana and Idaho this past summer which can consist of 18 hour days and is skiing on a local pass for propatrol during the winter. He will also be attending college to further medical training to help in hospital trauma.

I guess my point is there are many ways to serve your country.  It sounds like your passion is with the military, but please, if the military cannot be realized, look at other options.  My son did and realized as long as he was protecting homes from fire or helping the injured on ski slopes, he was helping others.

I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but my hope is that things will change.  Look for other comments that maybe posted with different answer's.
Best of Luck,
dm
Avatar universal
Dear TShelton,
I don't know if this helps, but I was looking into this issue a little more.  I was told to have you look at the website, www.firstgov.gov. I haven't checked it out but it can't hurt.  Please stay in touch, I would personally love to hear how you are doing.
Best Wish's,
dm
Avatar universal
Thank you very much for your advice and support.  I am trying to get in touch with people I think can help me, and who have the connections needed.  Hopefully I will be successful in my venture.  I am very glad to hear that your son found something that he has a passion for doing.  I will keep you informed of the information I obtain.  Thanks again
Avatar universal
I am a type 1 diabetic who is married to a military colonel. The problem is that the military cannot accept a diabetic and then give him or her "preference" by not sending that diabetic person into an area that does not have medical care. It would be terribly unfair to the other military people to "prefer" the diabetic by not sending him or her into a position that might threaten his or her life. When it comes to life or death matters, all absolutely MUST be able to carry the same load, and must be able to survive if supplies are not able to be delivered. If a person cannot survive under those conditions, they cannot be accepted into military service. It is only fair to the other military people to only accept those that can fully serve without any preference. Like you, I am fully healthy. But you must be realistic and accept the fact that we absolutely must have that insulin. There is no way the military will ever be able to bend those rules. One alternative would be to take a civil service job on a military base, for frankly, there are many civilian positions open now that used to be filled by active duty military as the military downsized budgets have forced many jobs to become civilian now. I have worked as a civilian doing pilot training courseware, and there is no discrimination at all as far as the diabetes is concerned in civilian jobs. There are civilian jobs in almost every area of military life now. I would check these out carefully upon graduation from college. Pay and benefits are good and you are a full part of the military mission as a civilian.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the advice.  Could you inform me on some of those civilian jobs and how I might obtain some information on them?  Thanks again?
Avatar universal
And I want to ask you honestly, not being sarcastic in the least.  Do you think that I would be cutt off for a long enough period of time without supplies where I could not bring that much insulin with me?  One bottle of Humalog lasts me over a month.  If I had more than one and syringes I really believe I could survive for quite a while.  Thanks for any input.
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