- What to expect at MEPS for the Recruit:
Joining the Military Requires two (or more) trips to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). At a very minimum, you make a trip to MEPS for initial processing, then a second trip to MEPS for final processing on the day you ship out to basic training. This article will focus on the average "first trip" to MEPS. MEPS is a Department of Defense joint-service organization staffed with military and civilians. Their job is to determine an applicant's physical qualifications, aptitude and moral standards as set by each branch of military service, the Department of Defense, and federal law. There are 65 MEPS facilities located throughout the United States.
Your trip to MEPS begins before you actually leave, with a medical "prescreening" performed by your recruiter. In performing this medical prescreening, your recruiter will help you complete DD (Department of Defense) Form 2807-2, Medical Prescreen of Medical History Report.
The recruiter sends the results of this screening to MEPS, in advance, to be reviewed by MEPS medical personnel. If the prescreening shows a medical condition which is obviously disqualifying, with no chance of a waiver (example, you are blind, or missing a limb), then your processing stops at that point. Some medical conditions require additional medical records. The prescreening is designed to identify those conditions so that your recruiter can help you obtain required medical records BEFORE your trip to MEPS. This saves you from being "temporarily disqualified," requiring that you return later with the necessary records for full qualification. While not all-inclusive, medical conditions which usually require medical reports (documentation from the physician, hospital, etc.) are:
- Almost any surgery other than an uncomplicated appendectomy or hernia repair, or ligation of tubes, male or female. Absolutely any surgery of the brain, back, spinal cord, chest, upper abdomen, pelvis, and joints. A tissue report is required in the case of most biopsies (skin, breast, etc.) of tumors and lumps.
- Any history of hospitalization other than the exceptions listed directly above, even if it was only 1 or 2 days for tests.
- Any History of Asthma after 13th birthday.
- History of counseling (family, marriage, etc.).
- Skin diseases other than mild acne and athletes foot.
- Allergies if more than mild.
- Back sprains.
- Severe joint sprains.
- Heart conditions.
- Hepatitis, mononucleosis.
The most useful medical records are the hospital records. Generally, they are the most easily obtained, of better quality, and are kept available for a longer time. Generally, the information needed is:
- Discharge summary
- Surgeon's report
- Pathologist's report
- History and physical
- X-ray and laboratory reports
Most doctors' letters are inadequate. Recruiters have been instructed to use the standard MEPS request form, as it lists the required information. All too many civilian doctors are unaware of current directives, have no concept of what military training and duty is like, and will be strongly biased in favor of the applicant. MEPS is aware of this, and may require that a consult be performed with one of their own specialists (military or contract).
- Getting Ready for the Trip
Once MEPS has given the recruiter the "okay" on the prescreening, the recruiter will schedule your visit to MEPS. Here are some general rules to remember that apply to your visit:
- Discuss any childhood medical problems with your parents and bring documentation with you.
- Bring your Social Security card, birth certificate and driver's license.
- Remove earrings (they obstruct the headset used for the hearing test).
- Profanity and offensive wording or pictures on clothing is not tolerated.
- Hats are not permitted inside the MEPS.
- If you wear either eyeglasses or contacts, bring them along with your prescription and lens case.
- Bathe or shower the night before your examination.
- Wear underclothes.
- Get a good night's sleep before taking the CAT-ASVAB.
- Wear neat, moderate, comfortable clothing.
- Don't bring stereo headphones, watches, jewelry, excessive cash or any other valuables.
- Processing starts early at the MEPS - You must report on time
- Arrival at MEPS
For most applicants, the initial trip to MEPS is a two-day process. On the afternoon of arrival, the applicant takes the Computerized ASVAB Test. If you've already taken the ASVAB before your MEPS trip, and received qualifying scores, and the ASVAB test is less than 24 months old, you won't be required to retest. If you do test at MEPS, exactly when you'll see your ASVAB scores is dependent upon the MEPS. When my daughters processed at MEPS, they received their scores immediately after the test. I've been told that some MEPS don't give access to the scores until the next day, after medical processing.
- What to expect at MEPS for the Parents, Spouse or Companion:
As the parent or spouse of the recruit the following does vary based on the Air Force Recruiter and the wishes of the recruit. Many parents and spouse are allowed to stay at the same hotel as the recruit if space is available and we can afford it. However, we are NOT allowed to stay in the same room as them. Please contact the hotel to make your own personal arrangements. Some MEPS facilities may be located on military grounds and you may or may not be able to stay on the grounds without having appropriate military ID or access. The recruits are usually paired up with another recruit as an attempt to allow them to make at least some type of friendship, bonding with someone else going to BMT with them. They must arrive on time to MEPS, which is usually 15 minutes early and transportation is usually provided VERY EARLY in the morning. We may be able to follow them to the MEPS processing facility. You MUST have a valid state or federal photo ID such as your drivers license or passport to be admitted into the facility. You will be scanned and purses/bags, etc will be checked.
You will be doing a lot of sitting and waiting and this is no time to be holding conversations since the recruit will be going thru their final process for acceptance into the United States Air Force. This is their job interview per se. There is NO such thing as a pre-determined time for swearing in. Everything is an approximate as in morning, mid morning or afternoon. You MUST gain permission to take photos and or videos and you may often be denied and or approved based on those that are around your recruit. Why? This is for privacy, confidentiality and security reasons. Many times they will reenact the swearing in so that you may have photos for your personal use.
- Sharing Air Force MOMS BMT site. Finding other family members & friends to join is as easy as 1,2,3. We've created this word doc to help you.
1. Print, cut & staple the strips together.
2. Send with or mail to your trainee.
3. Please give your trainee instructions to share a strip with their wingman to share with their loved ones at home.
make sure that you are
in the (Air Force MOMS
BMT) AFM PRE BMT Event if
your recruit has not
left for BMT yet.
You can find it and
others in our closed
Discussion group on
those wishing to see
what will happen this
- Check the link for the Black Book to make sure you have all your information in one place.