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Injuries, hazing, medical disability claims and Disability Evaluation System at Service Academies


Whether Naval Academy, Air Force Academy or United States Military Academy or any or the preparation schools, the branch regulations and instructions and manuals and Department of Defense Instructions (DoDI) still apply? 

One DoDI stipulates that a Medical Evaluation Board will evaluate the medical status and duty limitations of “[s]ervice members…when the Secretary of the Military Department concerned determines that a U.S. cadet or midshipman is medically disqualified for appointment as a commissioned officer due to injury, illness, or disease aggravated or incurred in the line of duty while entitled to cadet or midshipman pay, the Secretary may retire the cadet or midshipman with retired pay in accordance with chapter 61 of Reference (f).”

Even Service Academies must consider Disability Evaluation System, DES.  Profiles, recorded in the Army on a DA 3349, as required by AR 40-400 and AR 635-40, are critical.

Relying on a DoDI “Medically disqualified cadets,” the following options are available :

Whenever the Surgeon, USMA, determines that a USMA cadet does not meet the fitness requirements to perform all duties as a member of the Corps of Cadets during the current academic term or summer training period, or will not meet the medical fitness standards for appointment on active duty at the expected time of commissioning, the Superintendent will review the case and, at his discretion, take one of the following actions:

(1) Afford the cadet an opportunity to resign.

(2) Recommend that, in the case of the medical disqualification under cadet retention standards as provided in AR 40–501, the cadet be separated (see AR 612–205).

(3) For cadets of the first class, recommend they be retained and graduated, either as provided in paragraph 5–3b of this regulation, or, if otherwise qualified, by being granted a waiver and commissioned.

(4) Recommend that the cadet, if physically disqualified for any military service, be discharged (paragraph 5–3b of this regulation and AR 612–205).

(5) Permit the cadet, upon the cadet’s written request, to complete the academic year in which the defect is noted, and in those cases in which it appears that the disqualifying defect is clearly remediable, to continue for an additional period of time beyond the current academic year for the purpose of further observation and/or treatment. This additional period will not go beyond the end of the academic year following that in which the defect is noted unless the physical disqualification is removed.

(6) Grant leave without pay to the cadet, upon the cadet’s written request, or direct leave from the Military Academy for an appropriate period of time, not to exceed one year. At a time designated by the Surgeon, USMA, the cadet will be reexamined to determine if the medical disqualification has been remedied. If so, and otherwise qualified, the cadet will be permitted to return to the Military Academy. In the event that the medical disqualification continues to exist, the case will be reevaluated

The medical separation requires are further explained in another Army Regulation regarding appointment and commissioning.

When separating for physical disability, the Academy will be required to protect the medical status of the injured student.

Army Regulations offer additional guidance in United States Military Academy

A cadet will be afforded a hearing as if it were misconduct.

Many presumptions apply to protect Midshipmen and cadets of the service academies.

Hazing is also a concern in situations where there are claimed disabilities and medical conditions.

Of course, the practice of hazing is prohibited by Department policy and law (see sections 4352, 6964, and 9352 of Reference (f)).  Specifically,

  1. HAZING, HARASSMENT, OR VIOLENCE NOT TOLERATED. The practice of hazing is prohibited by law (sections 4352, 6964, and 9352 of Reference (f)). A cadet or midshipman dismissed from an academy for hazing may not be reappointed as a cadet or midshipman at an academy. The Military Services do not tolerate harassment or violence against any Service member for any reason. Cadets and midshipmen must treat all Service members, at all times, with dignity and respect. Failure to do so may result in the individual being disciplined or involuntarily separated before his or her term of service ends.
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