Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard/Tree Nut Allergy


Hello John,

Today my son got word he was disqualified by the SG (Surgeon General) of the Air Force due to his tree nut allergy (no peanut allergy).  :( He disclosed his tree nut allergy from the beginning, went to an allergist for an updated test and submitted the many forms necessary for enlistment as well as taking the ASVAB.  Concerning his allergy, he has NEVER, in his 19 years, had a reaction that Benadryl did not take care of. As a matter of fact, he has only had to take Benadryl twice and never used an epi pen.  His history was not asked of us prior to submitting the medical forms to the SG, which now, upon reflection, seems odd.  

I contacted his recruiter to see if there was any way he possibly could get a waiver due to these facts.  I looked up the standards on this issue of allergies/reactions and this is the wording regarding disqualifications: "a. Allergic manifestations. A reliable history of anaphylaxis to stinging insects. Reliable history of a moderate to severe reaction to common foods, spices, or food additives".

His recruiter encouraged us to submit the info I gave her on my son's history as well as anything else that may cause the SG to reconsider.  My question:  if a tree nut allergy is something which causes an automatic rejection, why would a prospective applicant not be told this upfront, instead of going through with all the paperwork for enlistment and taking the ASVAB?  If there are exceptions, or one's history with the allergy may determine enlistment, why not submit this information in combination with doctor reports PRIOR to submission to the SG?

Final question:  do you think it a lost cause to try for a waiver in our case?  Thanks!

Ps.  My husband and I both are AF vets (we met in the AF in the 80's).  Needless to say, we had no such trouble getting in.

These days they disqualify people for heartburn, but this case does seem extreme.  Nut allergies are common and as long as it can be handled with NO medication, it should not be an issue, such as a simple rash from eating them.  If any medication is required to prevent serios illness or death, then that is grounds denial of the waiver.

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

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John L


I am a National Guard Recruiting NCOIC, been doing recruiting jobs for the military for over 12 years and am a subject matter expert on qualifications for National Guard and Army ( as we use the same regulation) and I keep up to date on other services regulations as well. In my job, I process questionable applicants and determine eligibility, I process waivers of all types and know the regulations inside and out. I will not sugar coat my answers to you. They are usually short and to the point. If you need more in depth, ask me. Because each situation is different, alot of times you need to actually talk to a recruiter and let them evaluate your situation in person, by looking at your documents, issues etc. If I suggest this, it would be in your best interest to do so. Finally...thank you for your interest in serving this great nation of ours. Very few people can actually make the cut to serve let alone choose to do so. So thank you for wanting to and hopefully you will get a chance. Whatever branch you choose, thank you and good luck.


18 years Guard experience, combat missions and homeland missions. 12 years recruiting. I have been a platoon sergeant and squad leader. Mentor to new recruiters and recruits.

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