Quick discussion for the Air Force guys here.
A few years back, shortly before I commissioned in the AF, I was selected for UPT but shortly thereafter medically disqualified at Wright Patterson AFB for all flying duty (Pilot, nav, RPA, ABM) based on a very rare but also extremely minor corneal imperfection, Thygeson's Keratitis (small spots on the surface of my eye). I still met the vision minimums but unfortunately the flight surgeons would not consider me for a waiver, and their justification was that this condition was "debilitating","extremely painful", and "progressive". I remember the day I was disqualified, they were adamant that I would never be able to get any kind of flight physical above an FC3, military or civilian. Later on, I saw a few private ophthalmology specialists (one of them an AF reserves flight doc) that concurred with the diagnosis but did not agree with the Air Force's claim that it could cause extreme pain and told me that it was in no way a progressive condition. These doctors both provided written statements for me to send to the docs at Wright Patterson, but predictably the Air Force still wouldn't budge and I was out of luck. Not surprisingly, I never did experience any of the symptoms that were used as justification to disqualify me.
Fast forward to today. I'm getting ready to take a biannual check-ride this week, so I go to an FAA flight doc to renew my third class medical. I do the standard tests (vision, urine, etc) with the nurses and then go into the exam room to wait for the doc. He comes in, goes over my test results, examines me, and then says that I qualify for not only an FC3 but also an FC1 and that he'd be happy to issue one to me if I'm interested in flying for a career. Long story short, I walked out of his office today with the medical certificate the Air Force told me I would never be eligible for. On top of that, I didn't require a single waiver.
So, I'm curious as to what you gents think about the situation. Does an FAA FC1 translate to military flying duty whatsoever? I'm not sure if and how the standards differ, but I don't understand how in the eyes of the FAA I'm medically qualified to captain a 737 for Southwest airlines, but according to the Air Force I'm apparently too disabled to fly even remote control aircraft, let alone C-130's. It almost as if the Air Force can't see the forest through the trees, because they keep complaining about a pilot shortage but keep turning away perfectly qualified applicants.