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WOFT and claustrophobia

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#1 flyer1189



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Posted 23 May 2018 - 18:54

Hello all


I've been lurking on this forum for months.  Lots of great advice that's been extremely helpful throughout my WOFT application process.  Officially submitted my packet last Friday.


I've got a question that I've been searching for, and can't seem to come up with any answers (maybe for good reason).  Let me preface this by saying that I know a lot of what goes on during SERE training is confidential.  However, this is something that's been a cause of anxiety for me so I thought I'd give it a shot.  I've got a relatively moderate case of claustrophobia.  I've heard a lot of horror stories (a lot of which probably are untrue or exaggerated) about SERE school.  I have absolutely no issues in small areas like elevators, small closets - even something coffin sized doesn't bother me. My anxiety stems from being in a situation where i'm enclosed in something much smaller where my body needs to be contorted to be inside (I'm 6'3).  Is this something that will completely prevent me from completing SERE?  Would I be dropped from the program?


I realize that this fear is totally irrational, especially in a regulated training environment, but nonetheless it's something that I get to near panic attack level just imagining while sitting in my own living room.  It's essentially consumed all of my thoughts for the past several weeks.  I've gone as far as "constructing" a box to practice putting myself into to produce an uncomfortable, panic educing mental state to try to incrementally quell my fears and get myself comfortable being uncomfortable.


I really want to be an aviator for the Army.  I've worked really hard to put together a packet that I'm proud of.  I've researched endlessly about the program and want nothing more than to have my shot...which is why this problem is so disconcerting for me.  I know a lot of you are probably thinking, "If you really wanted it, you wouldn't let something so minor get in your way."  I agree whole heatedly, but this anxiety is something I'm really stumped over.  Any opinions, positive or negative, are welcome.

#2 rbussma


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Posted 24 May 2018 - 07:50

I'm 6'8". Height won't be a problem.


EDIT: Also, for what it's worth, a bunch of people I went through flight school with shared your hesitation. However, the only people in my class who were dropped were dropped for either getting injured or violating clearly laid out rules.

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#3 MuffinMan


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Posted 24 May 2018 - 07:57

I'm 6'2, like rbussma said, you're height shouldn't be an issue. Don't let any anxiety over what "could" happen in one short part of flight school deter you from submitting your packet. I'll tell you this much, the Army doesn't want to see you fail or get kicked from the program. You'll find more help in than you may expect in extraordinary situations.

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#4 XIIGage


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Posted 24 May 2018 - 10:59

I am still going through the application process so take anything I say with a grain of salt. But I think you might be thinking too much into it (which is usually what SERE wants, to get into your head).


Just remember that it is controlled and no matter what happens it is just a short thing to go through for the larger payoff. Plus they want to help you get past your fears and be able to remain calm while under stress.

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#5 Dmurray


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Posted 24 May 2018 - 23:03

It's no secret that SERE is not fun. However, it is a short course and you start flying very soon after completion (usually anyway).

Just keep that in your mind while you're going through and you won't have any issues.

#6 Spartan13


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Posted 25 May 2018 - 12:18

I had a guy in my SERE class that was claustrophobic and he made it through just fine. There were times where he was more uncomfortable than the rest of us but the only thing that matters is that you dont say the words I quit. As others have said, it is just a short part of flight school and just accept that you will be miserable there, claustrophobia or not, haha.

#7 mike0331


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Posted 25 May 2018 - 14:43

Favorite motivational quotes RE the military: 1. This too shall pass, 2. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Fortunately as to the ladder quote, it seems there isn't too much of that in the aviation world. 



#8 ElJay


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Posted 25 May 2018 - 16:27

I had a guy who called flight surgeon at one point, because of claustrophobia, with no negative consequences.

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