Feb 13, 2020
Hi everyone, glad to be joining the community.

TLDR; I was medically disqualified from an 18X contract so am currently applying to medical school with the hopes of joining SOST one day.

Long version is pretty long, so strap in:

I immigrated to the US when I was 6 from China and grew up in the Boston area. I moved around a lot as a kid so for a while my only group of consistent friends was a veteran's gaming community with whom I played Battlefield 2 and Project Reality. I developed an interest in the military from them. In high school, I met an alum who was a Ranger with 3rd battalion at the time, and that's when I became determined to join SOF. I was convinced 68W Option 40 was the path for me all through high school but when I tried to enlist my senior year, I was told that I had to be a citizen to get an Option 40 contract. I also had college acceptances at the time so I decided to go to college and enlist afterwards, because by then I would be a citizen.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was interning at a research lab. One of my coworkers was a first year medical student who had gone to West Point and served as an artillery officer. I told him I was interested in SOF so he put me in touch with his old classmate who was an 18A. From him I learned about Army SF, and decided that was a better fit for me.

I spent the next 3 years waiting for my citizenship, finishing college then working, and training for SFAS. In September of 2018, I became a naturalized citizen and was in the shape of my life; I was lifting 450/380/485, scoring 300+ on the APFT, and rucking 50lbs 10+ miles every weekend well under pace. I finished up at my job in April 2019, moved back home and began the enlistment process. I took the ASVAB and had scheduled a MEPS date with my recruiter for an 18X contract. I had a doctor's appointment a couple days before that and during the visit, my doctor found a tumor in my nasopharynx. A couple days later, I was officially diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. I spent May through November of 2019 getting treatment.

I have since fully recovered and am well on my way to reaching my old levels of fitness. My cancer has a high cure rate, and I received additional treatment as part of a clinical trial so the odds of recurrence are extremely low. When I went back to my recruiter, he told me that I am medically disqualified, and I can apply for a medical waiver in 5 years assuming no recurrence or additional treatment. I spoke with 5 other recruiters, including a SORB recruiter, and they all told me the same thing.

Having weighed my options, I decided that it is most logical to attend medical school and commission as a physician through the FAP program (I am also ineligible for HPSP and USUHS), rather than attempt to enlist in 5 years (at the age of 29) as an 11B and hope to pick up a SFAS packet. I was resigned to my fate of being a POG until I stumbled upon Air Force SOST from a random Instagram post. I didn't even know they existed, but having looked into them a little bit, it seems like it would be a perfect end goal my desires to join SOF and be a physician. I am now planning on going to medical school and pursuing military medicine, hoping I am interested in and do well enough to match into general surgery, and praying that the stars align for the possibility of SOST.

I look forward to meeting the community here and learning more about SOST!


SOF Medical
SOF Support
Dec 27, 2012
Welcome. Answered your pm before I read your intro so ignore the part about USU.