Bill calls for program to allow deaf to serve in Air Force
By Brian Everstine, Staff writer
March 31, 2015
A group of lawmakers want to allow deaf people and others who are hard of hearing serve in the Air Force through a demonstration program.
The Keith Nolan Air Force Demonstration Act, introduced March 26 by Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., would create a program for 15 to 20 deaf or other hard of hearing people to serve in the Air Force. The Defense Department’s medical standards for enlistment exclude potential airmen who are deaf or who use hearing aids or other devices, such as a cochlear implants.
“Over the past few decades, our military has given groups who were previously excluded the opportunity to serve,” Takano said in a statement. “It is time for the armed forces to do the same for individuals with auditory impairments, as many are fully qualified model cadets.”
This is the second time Takano has pushed for this legislation. It failed in 2014.
The bill is named for Keith Nolan, an Army ROTC cadet in California who could not advance into the service because he did not pass the hearing test.