Kicked Out of the Military for Asthma?

Definition of asthma

Asthma is a chronic disorder of the airways that cause inflammation and narrowing, which makes respiration difficult. It is a condition in which the lungs react strongly to certain triggers, such as pollen, pet dander, molds, dust, and certain viruses. The symptoms of asthma vary from person to person, but can include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. In some cases, the symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities. Asthma is also a leading cause of missed work and school days in the United States. Treatment for asthma typically focuses on avoiding triggers and relieving symptoms, which can be done with a combination of medications and lifestyle changes.

Enlistment requirements for the military

Enlistment requirements for the military vary from branch to branch, but all branches of the armed services impose certain restrictions on who can be recruited. Asthma is one of the medical conditions that can disqualify a person from service. Depending on the severity of the case, asthma may be disqualifying for the duration of a person’s military career. The Department of Defense considers applicants with a history of asthma to be medically unqualified, except in the event that the candidate has been managed successfully with medication and the condition has been mild or stable for three or more years. In these cases, the military still may require the applicant to take a medical examination to ensure they meet enlistment standards.

Examples of individuals with asthma discharged from the military

Individuals with asthma face a difficult challenge when attempting to join the military. Despite advances in medicine that can improve the quality of life with asthma, many individuals have found themselves discharged from the military due to the regulations surrounding the condition. For example, Micheal L. was set to join the army in 2015, only to be discharged just before his training due to his asthma. The same fate befell Carter L, who had to leave his prospective position as a nuclear submarine officer merely weeks before graduation. Things didn’t improve for Joshua B., either. He was bounced from navy flight school only days before completion, and could only watch as his siblings became respected military officials. These individuals’ stories are not uncommon; the military simply cannot accept individuals who pose a risk to their mission due to their medical history. While advancements in modern medicine offer new hope for the future, for now many individuals with asthma remain unable to pursue their military aspirations.

Reasons why those individuals were discharged

For individuals discharged from the military as a result of asthma, the underlying reason is likely related to their medical condition. Asthma can be an unpredictable, severe health issue which can cause difficulty in a physically demanding environment like the military. Those individuals may face difficulty in performing necessary duties and if the condition becomes too severe, it could end up endangering the safety of the individual and the rest of the unit. The military must take this into consideration when making such difficult decisions. Ultimately, if their asthma is deemed too severe, they will be discharged from the military.

Debate surrounding the issue

The debate over the appropriateness of kicking a person out of the military for asthma has been a contentious one. Those against the practice point to the advances in medicine that have enabled people with asthma to live and work normally. They argue that it is unfair to bar people with asthma from serving in the military simply because of their condition. On the other side of the debate, those in favor of the practice cite the risks posed by asthma during military operations. They argue that the military cannot afford to take the risk of someone with asthma having an attack while in the field. Ultimately, it comes down to a judgement call by the military, who must weigh the risks against the benefits of allowing someone with asthma to serve.

Impact of discharging individuals with asthma

Asthma is a medical condition that can have an impact on the lives of people who suffer from it. Discharging individuals with asthma from the military is a serious decision and can greatly affect their lives, as military life is a highly structured environment. The decision to discharge individuals with asthma is largely due to the fact that their medical condition can put them at risk during military operations.

  1. Medication: Individuals with asthma may need to take medication to manage their symptoms and keep them under control.
  2. Lack of exercise: Asthma symptoms can worsen due to lack of exercise, so a restricted lifestyle in the military may be difficult for individuals with asthma.
  3. Heightened risk: Those with asthma may be more vulnerable to environmental factors such as smoke, dust or extreme temperatures, placing them at greater risk during military operations.

Therefore it is important to consider the individual’s circumstances, as well as the impact of discharging them from the military, when making such a decision.


Asthma is a condition that can make it difficult to breathe, and if serious enough, can be a risk to one’s health and safety. In the military, having asthma can be a disqualifying factor, depending on the severity of the condition and the individual’s ability to manage it. It is therefore important that individuals with asthma understand the regulations and their own abilities before they join the military. With appropriate medication and management, those with asthma can remain in the military and fulfill their duties. It is important, however, that they discuss their condition with their doctor and be aware of the risks and regulations to ensure a safe and successful military career.

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