Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard/Self Injury, DQ, Not a coping mechanism


Hello Mr.Fiorentine,

It is my goal to join the Marines. I have just one problem that I've been told will keep me from joining. Self Mutilation. A friend told me I would be able to get a waiver. I went online yesterday to get more information about joining. Most websites state a waiver can be issued but most aren't accepted. My scars are small but noticeable. I thought about waiting a few years till they fade. But even if they aren't noticed at MEPS I'm sure it will still show up on my record that I have been hospitalized for it or being "suicidal". My question to you is: If I tell them why I did this will I get waiver. The complete truth behind the SI:

I was in a home where my siblings and I were daily abused. My parents were turned in. There wasn't much of a case because there wasn't much proof. I ran away from home to get away from the problem. I ended up in a shelter for teens. The shelter send each kid home after 21 if they don't have a good reason to keep them. I told them about the issue at home and begged them to let me stay. I did the only thing I could think of to prove I couldn't go home. I cut my left arm. They are now small and very thin scars. Most of which are very noticeable. After DCFS got involved I moved to a group home they tried to send me home and I didn't want to go so I continued cutting until I was given a permanent social worker. The group home made me go to the hospital twice. I'm not sure if they were related to the was so many years ago. Is there any hope...


I am glad that you are in a better situation now.  I think you have to be candid with the recruiter and be honest to the fullest extent POSSIBLE.  I would be negligent in my duty if I told you to flat out lie.  That said what you choose to tell the recruiter is entirely up to you.  I will say this given the current state of the economy and record retentions across all services getting into any branch of the military on a waiver is becoming increasingly difficult.  Many more individuals are attempting to enlist than in previous years permitting the services to be much more selective than they previously were.

If you truly desire to enlist in the marines I would start a dialog with the recruiter.  Start thinking now about what you would say so if the conversation arises you already have your answer ready.


LCDR John Fiorentine USCG

Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


John Fiorentine


Active Duty Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander. My specialties are opertations afloat and operations ashore; three afloat tours and three ashore tour under my belt including command afloat and navy exchange. My staff assignments have been with Officer Personnel Management as a Career Counselor, White House Military Office as a Social Aide, and at the Office of Law Enforcement within CG Headquarters as a program analyst. I can answer questions related to the Coast Guard, the assignment process, officer specialties, OCONUS duty, afloat and ashore operations. I can also answer questions related to the White House Social Aide Program.


WMEC Deck Watch Officer Portsmouth VA; DD Combat Info Center Officer Yokosuka Japan (Navy Exchange); WPB Commanding Officer San Juan PR; Enforcement Div Sector San Juan PR; Career Counselor (OPM-4); Law Enforcement Program Analyst (CG-MLE); Command Center Chief Sector San Juan PR

USCGA Alumni Association, OutServe, Society of White House Military Aides.

B.S. in Government from the US Coast Guard Academy; M.S.A in Leadership from Central Michigan University

Awards and Honors
CG Commendation Medal, USN Achievement Medal, CG Achievement Medal, CG Commandant Letter of Commendation

©2016 All rights reserved.