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AFROTC to Navy OCS for Color Vision DQ

So this story, like most other DQ stories, is going to be long. But after reading bmather9's post about his efforts with color vision and transferring out to try to fly once already on active duty, I wanted to make a post detailing how to do it if you are in AFROTC and are DQ'd and are trying to switch to the Navy.

I'm 5 months away from a commission in the USAF and back in November, I was DQ'd for a "mild color deficiency" during my FC1 physical at WPAFB. 60/55 right/left eyes for green on the CCT test. Blue and red was 95+ both eyes. Unfortunately, the USAF requires a score of 75 as passing. The flight doc told me there was no hope in the USAF as there are no waivers given for qualifying physical applicants (if you are on active duty as a pilot already and have a deficiency, there is more flexibility with waivers). Flying in the military was everything I've ever wanted to do - everything I've worked towards in college, the reason I got my pilot's license, etc. It was quite disappointing to have it all come crashing down, especially when I have never had a problem with color vision and can pass all the FAA and DoDMERB tests without issue. If you fail, the AF tests you using multiple other tests and will pinpoint down your exact deficiency. The flight doc mentioned that the Navy has different color vision standards and t0 give them a look, so I did.

I heard there was a chance of getting an exception to policy (ETP) granted for color vision. My advice up front if you are AFROTC and get DQ'd - don't bother with an ETP. The hurdles required to make it work are so high that on a cadet level, it seems impossible to get it accepted. I had letters from multiple senators, representatives, general officers, and retired flight doctors supporting my ETP request. I had outstanding test scores on the AFOQT/PCSM, etc, and it was denied at the Regional level with no explanation given. I am not sure what more they could want, but the ETP route is exceptionally difficult. I am now reclassified as a 17D Cyberspace Operations Officer, which seems to be where they are putting all the DQ'd pilots.

The Navy color standards are easier but the distant vision requirement is stricter. The USAF requires 20/70 uncorrected vision and a score of 75+ on each color on the CCT. The Navy requires 20/40 uncorrected vision and a score of 55+ on each color. I was 20/70, so I got PRK in late December, which triggers a six-month recovery period before you can take a flight physical.

With flying in the AF not an option anymore, I looked into transferring into NROTC. This is not really an option for AFROTC seniors - you would have to take all 8 Naval Science classes as well as a year of Calculus and Calc-based physics. The NROTC cadre are still trying to make it work for me, but the big hurdle there is convincing the Navy that they should add another officer to that FY for commissioning. They recommended applying to OCS so I began to look into that.

I went to the officer recruiting station today and talked with them. I can begin putting my package together for a pilot board but only if I can secure a conditional release from the Air Force. So I've begun the process of submitting my conditional release with support from my AFROTC cadre. With any luck, that will come back as approved. I can be pro-rec'd for Navy OCS before the 6-month PRK recovery time is up, but can't be finally accepted into OCS until my last eye exam.

I'll keep this post updated with developments. With any luck, I can get an acceptance into OCS and a pilot slot. If not, I hope this helps other AFROTC cadets in the same situation I'm in. Below are some links with the most recent information. The one thing that I've learned from digging through all these options is that nobody will do a better job researching your options than you - you have to look hard and find your own information. Recruiters and cadre can be wrong.

Military Aeromedical Standards: https://www.aviationmedicine.com/information-resources/aeromedical-references/aeromedical-standards-and-regulations/

Navy Flight Physical Standards: https://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmotc/nami/arwg/Documents/WaiverGuide/01_Physical_Standards.pdf

Navy Waiver guide: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmotc/nami/arwg/Documents/WaiverGuide/12_Ophthalmology.pdf

Air Force Waiver guide: http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_sg/publication/afi48-123/afi48-123.pdf

Bmather9's original post: https://www.airwarriors.com/communi...ervice-transfer-for-color-vision.34429/page-7


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I just read that part about the PRK/eye surgery, you need to be fully physically qualified by the Navy in order to submit your application. At times you might be able to get away with 4-5 months after surgery, but do not go under the assumption that you can be PQ and submit an aviation package fresh from eye surgery.