Latest Articles

A Year After Doctors Declared He Had Hours To Live, Air Force Academy Graduate Joins The Space Force

Weekly Updates

"(Required)" indicates required fields

Status

Date:

In 2020, Tanner Johnson was due to graduate from the US Air Force Academy in Colorado in a year. However, he fell into a critical state, and doctors told his family members he had two hours to live.

Johnson’s organs were shutting down due to the effects caused by Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the cells that make insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is most common in young children and can be genetically passed down. However, none of Johnson’s family members have diabetes. At 22 years old, he was diagnosed and bedridden in 2020. Two months after most cadets were sent home from the academy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A New Reality

Despite the doctors giving him hours to live, Johnson survived the ordeal. However, he faced a new reality.

“The doctors said I would have to take insulin shots every day for the rest of my life; I would not be able to fly. I would not be allowed in the military. And wouldn’t be allowed to return to the academy and graduate,” Johnson said.

He refused to accept the doctor’s information and set out to prove them wrong. He strived to become the first person commissioned into the US military with a medical condition that is automatically disqualifying.

Assistant professor of biology at the academy and a certified diabetes counselor, Lt. Col. Amy Carpenter, says, “if you have Type 1, you become not deployable because you are taking insulin shots.”

Throughout her career, Lt. Col. Carpenter advised newly diagnosed military personnel about living with diabetes and prepared them for the end of their military service.

Academy officials allowed Johnson to return, but he was referred to Carpenter to ease his way out of the military. That was not what he was looking for.

“He came to me and said, ‘Ma’am, I know this is a long shot, but what if we could demonstrate that being a Type 1 diabetic does not have to be an automatic disqualifier?'” said Carpenter.

“I thought, ‘oh man, I’ve never had an example where you have Type 1 diabetes, and the military retains you.’ So I told him, ‘Tanner, I know you’re in great control, you’re very knowledgeable about your condition, but get ready to get kicked out.'”

Motivated and Determined

Instead, Johnson did “what everyone else did, and then some, to show that even with this condition, I could do everything that was required of me, and do it well,” he said.

With the day coming in close when Johnson would have to leave the Air Force Academy, he continued to plead his case to be allowed to commission. He approached Air Force Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, “we spoke for nearly an hour,” Johnson recalled.

“He said if I could wrestle and do everything required of me at the academy. There was no reason we couldn’t find a job for me in the military. And he went to bat for me.”

A Chance At Space

Weeks before the Class of 2021 became a graduating class on May 26, Johnson learned he would march into the football stadium with his squadron, wearing a grey sash to indicate he was joining the Space Force.

Johnson and his wife, Brynn, arrived last week at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The newly minted second lieutenant hopes to become an orbital warfare officer and help the US use satellites to get an advantage in space.

“I was devastated to learn I had diabetes, and then I had to deal with the fact that everything I’d worked for might be taken away because the military might not accept me,” he said.

“I want to be an example so that, when someone is diagnosed in the future, they won’t have that hanging over them. I want people to say, ‘Look at this guy, look at what he’s doing.’ I may never be an astronaut like my mom seems to think I will, but I can manage my condition and serve my country… And if the astronaut door ever opens to diabetics, I’ll walk through it.”

Advice For Veterans is a FREE informational hub for all things VA-related.

Get The VA Benefits You Deserve

This article is sponsored by Veteran Adviser.

Veteran Adviser, a disabled veteran-owned business dedicated to helping veterans obtain the VA benefits they deserve. The VA system can be difficult for veterans to navigate which leaves many veterans (8/10 to be exact) with disability ratings that do not mirror their conditions. They assist thousands of veterans all over the nation and take pride in their work.

Interested in seeing what other veterans have said about Veteran Adviser? You can check out their Google reviews!

Get The Benefits You Deserve

contact one of our consultants today for a free evaluation of your VA claim

learn more
James Cooper
James Cooper
James Cooper comes from a long line of Veterans and decided to enlist for the Marine Corps at the ripe age of 18-years-old following in his father's footsteps. Shortly after being medically discharged from the service, James decided to pursue a career in journalism. Having battled with the VA for years himself, he began to study the system and commit his career to help fellow disabled veterans.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

How to help veterans for free

13 Ways To Support Veterans For Free

When you think of ways to support, the first thing that may come to mind is paying money into an organization. However, there is...
military instagram influencers

Top Military Instagram Influencers to Follow in 2021

Military Instagram Influencers to follow With over one billion monthly active users on Instagram (and growing), it has become a social media giant over the...
Veteran YouTube Channels Worth Subscribing To

Veteran YouTube Channels Worth Subscribing To

Veteran YouTube Channels There are over 31 million YouTube channels in the world. It can be challenging to discover the channels you'll resonate with the...

Must Reads

How To File A VA Claim

How To File A VA Claim

Keep Scrolling For More!

Latest Articles

36,500FansLike
600FollowersFollow
100FollowersFollow

Must Reads

A Year After Doctors Declared He Had Hours To Live, Air Force Academy Graduate Joins The Space Force

In 2020, Tanner Johnson was due to graduate from the US Air Force Academy in Colorado in a year. However, he fell into a critical state, and doctors told his family members he had two hours to live.

Johnson’s organs were shutting down due to the effects caused by Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the cells that make insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is most common in young children and can be genetically passed down. However, none of Johnson’s family members have diabetes. At 22 years old, he was diagnosed and bedridden in 2020. Two months after most cadets were sent home from the academy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A New Reality

Despite the doctors giving him hours to live, Johnson survived the ordeal. However, he faced a new reality.

“The doctors said I would have to take insulin shots every day for the rest of my life; I would not be able to fly. I would not be allowed in the military. And wouldn’t be allowed to return to the academy and graduate,” Johnson said.

He refused to accept the doctor’s information and set out to prove them wrong. He strived to become the first person commissioned into the US military with a medical condition that is automatically disqualifying.

Assistant professor of biology at the academy and a certified diabetes counselor, Lt. Col. Amy Carpenter, says, “if you have Type 1, you become not deployable because you are taking insulin shots.”

Throughout her career, Lt. Col. Carpenter advised newly diagnosed military personnel about living with diabetes and prepared them for the end of their military service.

Academy officials allowed Johnson to return, but he was referred to Carpenter to ease his way out of the military. That was not what he was looking for.

“He came to me and said, ‘Ma’am, I know this is a long shot, but what if we could demonstrate that being a Type 1 diabetic does not have to be an automatic disqualifier?'” said Carpenter.

“I thought, ‘oh man, I’ve never had an example where you have Type 1 diabetes, and the military retains you.’ So I told him, ‘Tanner, I know you’re in great control, you’re very knowledgeable about your condition, but get ready to get kicked out.'”

Motivated and Determined

Instead, Johnson did “what everyone else did, and then some, to show that even with this condition, I could do everything that was required of me, and do it well,” he said.

With the day coming in close when Johnson would have to leave the Air Force Academy, he continued to plead his case to be allowed to commission. He approached Air Force Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, “we spoke for nearly an hour,” Johnson recalled.

“He said if I could wrestle and do everything required of me at the academy. There was no reason we couldn’t find a job for me in the military. And he went to bat for me.”

A Chance At Space

Weeks before the Class of 2021 became a graduating class on May 26, Johnson learned he would march into the football stadium with his squadron, wearing a grey sash to indicate he was joining the Space Force.

Johnson and his wife, Brynn, arrived last week at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The newly minted second lieutenant hopes to become an orbital warfare officer and help the US use satellites to get an advantage in space.

“I was devastated to learn I had diabetes, and then I had to deal with the fact that everything I’d worked for might be taken away because the military might not accept me,” he said.

“I want to be an example so that, when someone is diagnosed in the future, they won’t have that hanging over them. I want people to say, ‘Look at this guy, look at what he’s doing.’ I may never be an astronaut like my mom seems to think I will, but I can manage my condition and serve my country… And if the astronaut door ever opens to diabetics, I’ll walk through it.”

Advice For Veterans is a FREE informational hub for all things VA-related.

Get The VA Benefits You Deserve

This article is sponsored by Veteran Adviser.

Veteran Adviser, a disabled veteran-owned business dedicated to helping veterans obtain the VA benefits they deserve. The VA system can be difficult for veterans to navigate which leaves many veterans (8/10 to be exact) with disability ratings that do not mirror their conditions. They assist thousands of veterans all over the nation and take pride in their work.

Interested in seeing what other veterans have said about Veteran Adviser? You can check out their Google reviews!

Get The Benefits You Deserve

contact one of our consultants today for a free evaluation of your VA claim

learn more
James Cooper
James Cooper
James Cooper comes from a long line of Veterans and decided to enlist for the Marine Corps at the ripe age of 18-years-old following in his father's footsteps. Shortly after being medically discharged from the service, James decided to pursue a career in journalism. Having battled with the VA for years himself, he began to study the system and commit his career to help fellow disabled veterans.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Keep Scrolling For More!