Medical Discharge from the Air Force

Hello everyone,

Let me start by saying thanks for reading into my questions. So about my question. I was diagnosed last month with SCA3 in the Air Force, and now they've sent up a package to see if the USAF wants to discharge me for several factors. First thing they consider is what's best for the USAF, so financially is it good for them to retain me or not before things go awry etc. Big issue is my job currently is 2A6X4, Aircraft Fuel Systems Journeyman. It's on Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe; climbing through aircraft fuel tanks, removing replacing or repairing things relevant to the fuel system on aircraft.

With that being said, Jet fuel aka JP-8 contains many hazardous chemicals, specifically Tetraethyl lead which the NAF has responded to me with the following "exposure to neurotoxic solvents/fuels will reduce the reserve in nerve cells especially the cerebellum. Use of alcohol and exposure to neurotoxic solvents/fuels could cause earlier onset of symptoms in SCA3 (I have also seen it in SCA2)." I've been thoroughly exposed and laid in fuel for hours performing maintenance.

Unfortunately in the military, any disability deemed genetic or hereditary is not a claimable disability, however I think that it has caused damage already. Here's my lightweight argument that I do not know whether or not could fly: With what we do know about SCA3 is that the CAG repeats can translate to symptoms and age of onset. Now my sister and I both have 68 CAG repeats. With that being known, we should share similar timelines for this disease. However I am 23 YO, she's 32 YO. I have the same symptoms as her already, to add memory loss and if my doc gets his way, back problems included...

Lastly, as I said my doc wants to blame my back problems on this disease. Before I was diagnosed with SCA3, he diagnosed me with Scoliosis in my thoracic and lumbar. Arthritis and Disk space narrowing as well. Now that I have SCA3, he is trying to say it's relevant due to muscle spasms but I don't feel that's accurate.

In closing, my questions are does anyone have any input for anything I've brought up here? like my argument of damage already being done by the JP-8? Is arthritis or Disk space narrowing(cushions between vertebrae disappearing) correlated to SCA3? Is there any source that could help me produce a case? Thanks for your attention given & God bless.


this is really a bummer for you. Are there any lawyers dealing purely with disabled folk in the US? We have them here. It's worth looking into.

Re your scoliosis, I have it as do several of my ataxian friends. It seems that this can be a contributory factor to back pain

I find comfort in heat pads and a hottie! But then I am 75!

love and light


Is there a possibility of a second opinion, I would get one even if I had to pay for it myself.

downside to those is I'm stationed outside the U.S. I'm in Japan so all sources available to me are DoD or otherwise closely affiliated. I could talk to base legal maybe, but I'm not sure how far they would get me.

Can you use your physical that you went thru when joining show that you had no problems then. You are not old enough to make a big change so fast maybe.

Just a little 'uninformed'* commenting that may not help at all! Based on; 'Unfortunately in the military, any disability deemed genetic or hereditary is not a claimable disability'.

1, In your service record, I would image, there would be an account of your ongoing health status and wonder if this could be used in a defensive manner to show you where not previously in bad health. Alas, I know from experience that one can journey through life with everything seeming good then be 'hit' by illness.

2, Talking with a neurologist some years ago, it was explained to me that the term 'hereditary' has two different meanings (at least). The word 'hereditary' in 'common use' is different to 'hereditary' used in the medical professions! Alas, my memory is not what it used to be nor do I have a link to guide to an explanation of this but you could maybe look in to it.

3, As far as experience goes, I have some! In my teens, I joined the Royal Navy and went into basic training. Sadly, I had to leave the Navy on a honorary medical discharge. At the time, I was experiencing severe migraines and other problems where I had not been previously. I continue to get the problems to this day. It would be a long story to tell here but my profile has some details if anyone wants to check it out for reference.

Sorry I have no real help or advice.

Kindest regards,


*'uninformed': I'm not a doctor or medically trained so cannot give an informed opinion!

Titan I had a cousin had bad growths out the bottom of his feet and he got drafted. After he told them he had bad feet the doctor OKs him for service. He had bad problems and they would not give him a discharge unless he signed a waiver. He refused to sign a waiver and ended up on marching duties until he did. He did have to have his feet operated on to shave the growths down. So don't sign any waivers to get out. like he did. Jerry

Thanks for the input everyone. Most of it will be useful for my case!