Obviously I was not the top of my class, but reasonably competitive. I was applying to orthopedics. B+ type board scores and grades, research awards, prior work experience as an orthopedic surgical tech, letters of recommendation from multiple colonel physicians, and was currently licensed and credentialled at one of the hospitals I was applying to. The programs are geared to accept the most competitive applicants to keep their numbers up, even if that means screwing over veterans.
If I could do it over again, I would have not done ortho rotations through military facilities and concentrated on civilian residencies. Your forced to apply to military, so if they take you, great. However, don't burn your civilian opportunities. After having done all my available rotations through the military, I had no chance at a civilian residency as I had not rotated through. If you really want a military residency, rotate there in another similar specialty and actively expose yourself to the program, without using up your rotations.