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My son is in the process of joining the Navy. I am very proud of him. He wants to be a Navy seal. He knows it will be hard work. Question: His current eyesight does not meet the requirements...if he gets it corrected after his physical but before boot camp...would he be able to still go for the Seals? Also...he completed his paperwork recently..how long does it typically take to get the background checks done, etc and be scheduled for the physical?
We looked into Lasik/PRK when our son was interested in SWCC. The answer is "ask your recruiter" and then ask again at MEPs because recruiters don't always know the most up-to-date answer. The surgery is waiverable but whether or not any given recruit will get the waiver depends on his or her qualifications and The Needs of the Navy.
That said, Special Warfare and Nuclear Community are about the only undermanned fields in the Navy, so highly qualified candidates (i.e. high ASVAB/Line scores, nothing obviously disqualifying, and physically ready to go) do seem to get waivers pretty easily. Our son crushed the ASVAB, ended up going for nuke and sailed through the process - basically about 3 weeks including the holiday break. (Note: he's not scheduled for Boot Camp until September - I suspect the SEAL pipeline may have similar DEP delays.)
I think it took about 2 weeks from completing the giant application form until he went to MEPS. Be sure he carefully reviews the "official" transcribed version of his handwritten forms - our son's was screwed up in a number of ways and any inaccuracies can jump up and bite you later, possibly even leading to discharge for fradulent enlistment. The secret level background check isn't too big a deal - it includes national and local law enforcement searches and a credit check so it is basically acomplished "online" in a matter of minutes.
Be sure to check in with the Pre-BUD/S and SEAL Moms groups.
MEPS = Military Entrance Processing Station - it's the place where our kids take the ASVAB, physical, etc. after the recruiter has all the basic paperwork in place.
Your recruiter will explain the details, but typically the recruiting office will gather up a small group, drop them off and then pick them up the next day (they are fed and housed overnight in a nearby hotel).
Thanks for your responses. I took him to the Lasik Surgeon today and was very impressed. He was totally familiar with what the Navy and military require as far as Lasik..he just got the newest laser available two weeks ago...said this particular one is what the head of the Navy himself approves. So...he is headed to get it done this Friday! The doctor was extremely confidant, especially with this new machine, that his eyesight will be fantastic...he has had only a few have to come back for corrections. Since he has not had his physical yet, or even had it scheduled, we are going for it. The poor kid's eyesight is 20/800. There are no restrictions other than resting for a few days, and he can do any exercise, etc. Keep us in your prayers!
Also, my son has done all the paperwork himself so far. He wants to do this entirely on his own...although I have talked to the recruiter to find out some details...my son said the recruiters office has been packed.
Double and triple check with a SEAL recruiter/SEAL motivator. There are some tricky rules regarding corrective eye surgeries and special operations forces (SOF). LASIK is a-okay for regular sailors and soldiers but when it comes to some of the more extreme physical activities of SOF each service branch has very specific rules and regulations. If you read around the internet, PRK is often preferred by current SEALs as well as other branches SOF.
The "head of the Navy" I was referring to ...the doctor gave his name I believe, and I think he was referring whomever gives his "stamp of approval" that this latest laser machine they have IS what the military and NASA use, and to be sure to mention that he did have the "intra laser" (or something like that...) surgery...it would be the one that IS approved now..it used to be the PRK. But I appreciate all the comments...I have been trying to call the recruiter for the last two days and he does not answer...I may try the link above.
Thanks to you all for your responses. What a great group!
I know it's late to ask this...but did you talk with someone affiliated with the SEALs yet to verify that he will qualify if he has lasik instead of PRK? And it seems from reading the SEAL challenge link here that you need a form filled out before he has the surgery. Were you able to get that done?
Special Ops often has a different set of rules from the regular Navy so I would not go by someone's word who does not represent the SEALs that lasik will be approved. Better safe than sorry and it would just take a phone call to confirm.
Thought I would let everyone know that my son had a very successful Lasik surgery on Friday. He went in with 20/800 and the next morning tested at 20/15!!! Doctor said he would not be surprised if he ends up at 20/10. He is SO happy he did it.
We did contact the Navy recruiter ahead of time and he said we just needed to send a copy of what he had done. We feel pretty comfortable at this point that since this eye surgeon was extemely confidant this eye surgery, the intra-lase, was what the military prefers now. Also, a soldier who is headed to Iraq next week was just ahead of our son getting his eyes done. The doctor had a flag in his office that was flown over one of the bases in Iraq for recognition of his service for the lasik surgeries done. Thanks so much for all your comments!