Posted on Feb 22, 2018
Sgt Jt McLaughlin
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So here's my situation... I spent five years on active duty with the Marine Corps and several years thereafter in the reserves. Twice I extended my IRR enlistment but it lapsed in 2011 and I received my honorable discharge. I had an exemplary career with two meritorious promotions and a number of Certificate of Commendations. I never got in trouble even once. At the end of my active duty enlistment, I was potentially offered my dream MOS of linguist and I nearly re-enlisted. There was one major reason, however, why I didn't: I was struggling with my own sexuality and terrified that I would get kicked out if I mentioned it. About three years in to my active enlistment, I was sent to counseling and prescribed anti-anxiety meds, but never once did I reveal the actual reason for my anxiety. Despite my prognosis, I was cleared for re-enlistment and, when ultimately I dropped to the reserves instead, I received a RE1A code. I suffered a few bouts of pancreatitis, presumably due to the meds, and was encouraged to seek a VA rating to continue care. I got a 40% rating but even this did not impede me from re-enlisting in the IRR or going to drill. Finally, a year ago I decided to deal with my issues and stop giving a crap what anyone thought. I went back to the VA and got treatment, this time explaining clearly why I had "anxiety" and "depression" in the first place. I got counseling and a prescription of a mild anti-depressant. The military, of course, has changed in recent years but I never saw it coming. I saw people get kicked out for being gay and I did not want to be one of them, so I subjected myself to all sorts of religious and mental programs to change. Now I'm 36... I spoke to a Marine Corps recruiter and despite nine years of creditable service, they say there's no way back active or reserve due to age alone. The National Guard recruiter says my VA rating is too high, else he would take me. The Army Reserve seemed interested in me but uncertain if MEPS would clear me. I never wanted to leave the military in the first place. I never would have under other circumstances and now I want to know if all doors are eternally shut. I have a decent job in the civilian world, no financial issues, I'm in outstanding physical shape for my age. All I have is this history of "anxiety" caused by years of self-repression. Is it even worth trying?
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Responses: 11
1LT Manager Of Customer Care
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MEPS may be an "issue" if you are currently on meds. However, waivers do exist for conditions. The best you can do is try and the worst they can do is disqualify you at MEPS...Then you go for the waiver. The only way to know for sure is to have your recruiter send up your med read to MEPS and get any necessary consults scheduled. Best of luck!
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Sgt Jt McLaughlin
Sgt Jt McLaughlin
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2Lt Kyle, thanks for your response. I will give it a try and see what happens... I got good vibes from an Army recruiter. The National Guard, on the other hand, doesn't seem to think it's possible or worth my time. I will give it a shot and have nothing to lose.
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MAJ Javier Rivera
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Don’t disqualify yourself... try and see what happens!
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GySgt Charles O'Connell
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Here's my question, do you want to be an active duty Marine, with all that it entails, or do you want to deal with your issues? If it's the deal with issues, I'd say maybe that's the wrong reason to go back on active duty. But if its a true desire to serve again, perhaps in a different branch, then go after it with the same tenacity you showed in your earlier service. Fair winds, and following seas.
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Sgt Jt McLaughlin
Sgt Jt McLaughlin
>1 y
GySgt O'Connell, I appreciate the response. I left active duty because I thought a guaranteed honorable discharge would be better than an administrative separation. No one was threatening me with separation but I was afraid that I couldn't hide my sexuality forever, especially since I was in counseling over my "anxiety disorder". In this era, I would never have gotten out. The issue is pretty much dealt with... I've come clean with who I am and have years of maturity behind me. I would love to rejoin the Marine Corps but a recruiter told me that 36 is too old, even with my prior service. He said that there is a hard ceiling at 35 which no waiver can be issued for. Given that I'll be 37 before I think I can sort through the other waiver needs, I seriously doubt the Corps will have me. At this juncture, I would join any branch for the chance to serve again.
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GySgt Charles O'Connell
GySgt Charles O'Connell
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Your commitment is noted. Keep pushing, to the end. But do understand the realities. 36 is not too old, I enlisted a 31 year old, took a lot of waivers, and he had to pass a PFT, but he stayed in the game and saw it through. Promotion. You will not be in the zone for a while, even given an adjusted DOR. A promotion board will note your break in service, this will require explanation. For example, after my first enlistment I got out, but after just over a year my mistake was obvious, and back to the Corps I went. Years later I was advised, given the highly competitive nature of promotion to SNCO, that I should submit a letter to the selection board addressing my albeit short separation from service. Should time come to for yourself, I would advise seeking guidance from your 1stSgt/SgtMaj. It will be tough, but being a Marine, as you know, is tough. Stay your course.
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