Humor in Military Medicine – Part 6 – Medical Category

During my long lifetime service in the Navy – I “enhanced” a lot of things. 

I enhanced my academic qualifications.

I enhanced my knowledge.

I enhanced my expertise.

I enhanced my world-view.

I enhanced my personality

I enhanced my physical attributes – especially my weight.

But – the one thing I could not enhance – was my “MEDICAL CATEGORY” 

Let me tell you about it…


Continued from Part 1 “Doc Daneekas” in Uniform  url:

and Part 2 “Dentists” in Uniform  url:

and Part 3 “Second Opinion” or “Cut Practice”

and Part 4: THE “SIQ” SPECIALIST  url:

and Part 5: “PONGO” DOCTOR AT SEA url:

Humor in Uniform 


A Spoof by Vikram Karve 

During my long service in the Navy – I “enhanced” a lot of things.

I enhanced my academic qualifications.

I enhanced my knowledge.

I enhanced my expertise.

I enhanced my world-view.

I enhanced my personality

I even enhanced my physical attributes – especially my weight.

But – the one thing I could not enhance was my “MEDICAL CATEGORY”.

When I joined the Navy as an Officer – my Medical Category was S1 A1

And – when I retired from the Navy – more than 34 years later – my Medical Category was still S1 A1

I could not achieve even a small “incremental enhancement” in my Medical Category – even temporarily.

Not even for one moment could I achieve a slightly “higher” Medical Category like “S2 A1” or “S2 A2” – of course I never dreamt of achieving greater heights like “S3 A3” “S4 A4” or “S5 A5”

Throughout my entire Naval career – my Medical Category remained consistently constant at S1 A1” – the “lowest” Medical Category.

By strange military logic – if you achieved a “higher” Medical Category like S2 A2 S3 A3 S4 A4” etc – the Doctors said that you were in Low Medical Category (LMC).

How can S1 A1” be High Medical Category – and – S3 A3” be Low Medical Category…?

Is the number 3 lower than the number 1…? 

But then – Mathematics has never been a strong point of Doctors – even at 10+2 level – Mathematics is not required if you intend studying Medicine.

The only time I was hospitalized – towards the end of my career – was for Malaria – and I thought they would “enhance” my Medical Category – to S2 A2 – maybe to S3 A2 – or even to S3 A3 – or even higher.

But nothing happened.

After a couple of days – when my Malaria began to abate – and just I was beginning to enjoy my stay in hospital – they suddenly discharged me – and threw me out of the hospital – straight back to work – as they were short of beds due the sudden arrival of a few “serious” cases.

And – while discharging me unceremoniously from hospital – the Navy Doctors did not even have the courtesy or decency to enhance my Medical Category.

So – I remained in my lifelong “lowly” and unimpressive Medical Category of S1 A1

Yes – I remained a lowly S1 A1 from “womb to tomb” (to put it metaphorically).

Well – if there is a Navy Doctor reading this – maybe he will be able to explain the significance of medical categories ranging from S1 A1 to S5 A5 – with all permutations and combinations like S2 A1 S2 A2 S3 A2 etc etc


The Army likes to do things differently from the Navy

So – the Army have named their medical categories from SHAPE 1 onwards to SHAPE 5 :–


And – there are even more possibilities for permutations and combinations in Medical Category like S1 H2 A3 P4 E5 etc etc – to make it all the more confusing for Army Officers – who are most confused anyway.

Now – this Army Medical Category called SHAPE has nothing to do with the “shape” of your body.

This is evident from the fact that you will see many “Out of Shape” Army Pongos in Medical Category SHAPE1.

Will some “Fauji” Doctor be good enough to tell us all about the Army Medical Category “SHAPE” 

And also – please enlighten us on why some SHAPE 1 “Faujis” look so much “out of shape” 


In the Air Force they call their medical categories A1 G1 A2 G2 …. A5 G5” etc.

Yes – the “fittest” Medical Category in the Air Force is A1 G1” 

Is A1 G1” the same as “S1 A1” or “SHAPE1…?

Are Aviators in the Army and Navy required to be A1 G1…?

Or – is it okay if they are “S1 A1” or “SHAPE1…?

It is all very confusing – isn’t it…?


It is all very confusing and puzzling to me.

“Fauji” Military Doctors keep changing the colour of their uniforms.

Like chameleons – they “flit and frolic” about – between the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Basically – all “Fauji” doctors are the same – and – all of them belong to the Army Medical Corps (AMC).

I have not understood one thing.

The 3 Defence Services – Army Navy and Air Force – all have the same AMC Doctors.

Then – why does each Service have its own style of Medical Categories…?

“SHAPE” – for the Army

“S1 A1 S2 A2… etc – for the Navy

“A1 G1 A2 G2… etc – for the Air Force…?

The three Defence Services have the same Doctors.

But – the three Defence Services have different Medical Categories.

Is this one more “feather in the cap” of “jointmanship”…?


(The Story of the Officer with a Perpetual “Medical Category”)

“Enhancing” your medical category gives you a lot of advantages – like it did to my friend “D”.

“D” was a master at “malingering”

An ex-NDA officer – on the very first day of our training – “D” was missing from morning Physical Training (PT).

When questioned about his absence from PT by the Senior-Under-Training-Officer (SUTO) – “D” answered triumphantly:

“Sir – I am a “Medical Category”…”

(In colloquial Naval Parlance – this meant that “D” had an “enhanced” Medical Category)

During his entire training period – his “medical category” was his all powerful universal “trump card” – which he effectively used – to be excused from any painful activity that “D” wanted to avoid – like PT, Games, Divisions, Drill, Parades, Cross Country Runs, Route Marches, Outward Bound Camps etc.

Even Senior Officers were wary of “D” – because of his “enhanced” medical category.

Senior Officers avoided bullshitting “D” – lest he drop dead – or have a fit – or something serious happen him – and they be blamed for it.

The biggest mystery was none of us knew what was wrong with him.

No one knew for what “disease” “D” had got the medical category – from where he had got his medical category – and – what exactly was his medical category.

Maybe – “D” had managed to “enhance” his medical category at the previous training ship or unit – or maybe – in National Defence Academy (NDA) – or maybe – even before that at the Services Selection Board (SSB) – or maybe – “D” was born with a medical category.

“D” looked perfectly healthy – and – Bwhenever we asked him about his medical category – he told us not to be too inquisitive.

In fact – I once suspected whether he had an “enhanced” medical category at all – but then – the way he flaunted it around – I thought that there must be some truth in it.

Of course – his “enhanced” medical category did not prevent “D” from drinking copious amounts of booze and eating all types of food to his heart’s content every afternoon and evening – or generally enjoying himself to the hilt – and having a jolly good ball of a time.

His medical category did not prevent him from getting promoted – and “D” got nominated for all the good training courses.

And – of course – he got the best of ships – and avoided all the hardship appointments – thanks to his “enhanced” medical category.

Whenever “D” wanted to avoid anything inconvenient – “D” used his “Trump Card” – his “Medical Category”.

Inspired by “D” – I tried my best to “enhance” my medical category.

But – I could not succeed.

And – throughout my long Navy career – I remained at the “rock-bottom” medical category – S1 A1

Once – during my Annual Medical Examination (AME) – a Navy Doctor said that I was overweight – and –  I thought he was going to “enhance” my Medical Category for “obesity”

But – the Navy Doctor did not “enhance” my Medical Category.

Instead – the Navy Doctor sent me in a “spin” – and – he made me do all sorts of medical examinations and tests.

The Navy Doctor got me examined by all sorts of “specialists“.

And then – the wise Navy Doctor delivered his final verdict on me:

“The Officer is Asymptomatic.

He has been advised to reduce weight.

Officer is fit in Medical Category “S1 A1”…”

I was declared fully “Fit in Medical Category S1 A1” 

Forget about S3 A3” S4 A4” S5 A5 etc – I had failed to “enhance” my Medical Category even to a measly S2 A2

I was back to “Square One”

I have not understood the Mystery of the “Military Medical Category”

Have you…?


I heard a story – maybe apocryphal – about a “smart” officer who took full advantage of the medical category system.

He was an expert at using the medical category system for malingering or shamming (in military parlance)

With the help of his doctor friends – he would keep manipulating his medical category to his advantage – to avoid hardship postings.

However – the “smart” officer ensured that his medical category was suitably upgraded just before promotion boards/criteria appointments/training courses – to ensure that he got all his promotions.

This ensured that he reached high rank without enduring too much hardship.

Thanks to his expertise in deftly manipulating his medical category – he managed to avoid tough appointments.

He spent most of his career enjoying the best of lucrative/comfortable appointments – he got nominated to all the prestigious courses – he ensured that he got promoted on time – so that he could reach high rank.

The “smart” officer delivered his “coup de grace” – when he got his medical category suitably manipulated just before retirement – in order to claim “disability pension”.

It may not be true – but like the “smart” officer above – I have heard apocryphal stories about senior officers who suddenly develop ailments “attributable to service” just before retirement – which helps them “enhance” their medical category just before retirement – in order to claim “disability pension”.

But for most officers – like it happened to me – it is a lacklustre run-of-the-mill “medical category journey”:

Joined in S1 A1 (SHAPE1)

Served in S1 A1 (SHAPE1) throughout his entire Military Career

Retired in S1 A1 (SHAPE1) 

A flat journey – without ups and downs – with absolutely no “enhancement” of Medical Category.

Hey – I have digressed from the Moot Question:

Dear Reader:

Can You Solve the Mystery of the “Military Medical Category”…?

(Disclaimer: I am totally clueless on the subject of “military medical categories” – so if you have any specific queries on the military medical category system – please contact your nearest “Fauji” Doctor)


Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

This Fictional Spoof was written by me Vikram Karve more than 4 years ago on 16 June 2014 and earlier Posted Online by me Vikram Karve in myAcademic and Creative Writing Journal blog at url link:  and and and and

1 Comment »

  1. […] Continued from Part 6 – Medical Category url: […]


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