Soldier arrested for choosing her son over deployment

Hutchinson with her son. AP.A soldier and single mother, Army Spc. Alexis Hutchinson missed her deployment flight to Afghanistan because no one could care for her ten-month-old son while she was away. She was arrested and taken to Hunter Airfield in Savannah, GA, while the child was taken into custody for 24 hours. AP and the Oakland Tribune have more:

“Her civilian attorney, Rai Sue Sussman, said Monday that one of Hutchinson’s superiors told her she would have to deploy anyway and place the child in foster care. [...]
The Army requires all single-parent soldiers to submit a care plan for dependent children before they can deploy to a combat zone.”

Hutchinson submitted a plan for her mother to care for the infant, but her mother’s responsibilities to care for three additional sick family members made this impossible after two weeks. The underlying lesson below this egregious oversight is that the military, like all bureaucratic institutions, operates by standard operating procedures that cannot accommodate for the unexpected. There’s no question that the insistence that a soldier put their child in foster care is egregious. Still unsettling is the Army’s initial treatment of this single mother like a deserter.

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145 Comments

  1. Ariel
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    “Subpar personal planning skills” puts a lot of blame on Hutchinson for an unexpected turn wherein Hutchinson’s mother could no longer care for her son– her planning skills were up to par; if anything, her crystal ball-reading skills were not.

  2. Marc
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    So, where is the taking care of Soldiers in this case? If anything, the sorry excuse of an NCO who was in charge of her failed on both counts – by improperly planning or brushing aside her concerns, this NCO not only fail to take care of a Soldier in his charge, but also distracted from the Army’s mission by making this a media circus, thereby taking away focus from the deployment.
    This could have been solved at the lowest level.

  3. Marc
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Are you telling the story to imply that all women who get pregnant before a deployment do so to get out of it? If so, you’re dead wrong.
    If not, then why the hell are you even telling this story, in its relevance to this case?
    Either way, utter failure.

  4. Marc
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Erm – I meant to have not to do – unless, of course, you’re doing all those things.

  5. Marc
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a lot of black and white without any outside the box thinking that the Army sorely needs.
    You go where you’re sent to, but I’ll be damned if I put other Soldiers’ lives at risk to send a Soldier into a combat zone, who is clearly distracted and won’t be able to do her job.
    “Suck it up and drive on” is something we tell trainees at basic training. In the real world, real Soldiers have real problems, and they need real leaders to help them those problems.
    Most people wearing NCO ranks are pathetic when it comes to this.

  6. Marc
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    One last note for those who think the mission will all come to a screetching halt if she doesn’t deploy: military cooks aren’t really doing much on these deployments, at least not in the OIF Theater, anyhow.
    They’re mostly sitting there clicking the clicker for headcounts as we walk into the DFAC. So, you people who are talking about mission first ought to probably look into what these cooks are doing over here. With contractors cooking and serving the meals, these Soldiers aren’t doing much.
    How hard is it to get a broken Soldier, one on profile, or better yet, a Soldier who fucked up and is doing 15 & 15, to sit there and click the damn clicker instead?
    Point is, this Soldier is expendable to the Army. Let her do the more critical of her two jobs: take care of the little boy.

  7. Honeybee
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Why not? I absolutely think you should leave the military if you are about to become a single parent. It seems like the only logical decision to me.

  8. allegra
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Yeah, the whole nation has “known a guy” in the past few weeks who shot about 40 people and killed 13 of them in order to avoid being deployed. Don’t see any inkling of an outcry against men being in the military in spite of the fact that it inspires random violence and studies show that they bring the violence home with them to their *families*.

  9. Lucy Gillam
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    And just as pointedly, when a guy does something stupid to get out of deployment, no one makes judgments of all military men for it.

  10. Monica Shores
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe nobody’s pointed out what first jumped out to me in the original post, which is that this entire situation is illustrative of the disproportionate amount of care American women are expected to give 1) family members’ children and 2) sick family members. I don’t mean caring for one’s own immediate family; I mean having to take on aunts or nephews or cousins because they are ill or parentless.
    The soldier’s mom couldn’t take care of her son because she was already taking care of *three* (!) sick relatives. And my understanding is that this situation (the over-burdening of one woman as a source of care and shelter) is often exacerbated in black communities because of the high incarceration rate that leaves children temporarily in need of homes. (Not saying that was part of the situation here, just speaking generally about what else plays a role in a single woman caring for 3, 4, 5 extended family members at a time.)
    It seems obvious to me that we on a community/state/nation level need to do a better job of helping families stay together while not breaking the back of one woman. Telling the one woman who is still healthy and has the best chance of feeding X mouths, “you take care of it” is not socially responsible. If we fail people in terms of ensuring them jobs with adequate pay, affordable health care, a just and sensible criminal system, and then leave family members to clean up that mess, we’re just ensuring a cycle of poverty. And while I recognize the benefit and importance of foster care, it should not be the only option.

  11. Crumpet
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    He didn’t, but common sense managed to anyway. Go figure.

  12. stellarose
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I have to ask – are you a working parent? Because I have a hard time believing that anyone who is would have this attitude.
    I really feel strongly that in order for social equality in general to advance, people job’s–whatever they are — need to have built-in systems for dealing with the fact that people have family responsibilities. The only other alternative is to go back to a system where one class of people (it used to be WOMEN) are where the buck stops on parenting responsibilities, and therefore that class of people were considered totally incapable of doing paid work.
    Why can’t the military institute some sort of short-term childcare program for people in this situation, other than FOSTER CARE? What do other countries with lots of ladies in the military (like Israel, I think) do in this situation? Its a whole lot easier for the US government to make arrangements to deal with this than putting the entire burden on this one woman and women like her.

  13. Teresa
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I’m going to start by saying, I dont’ know anything about military or its procedures, so please take that into consideration with what I’m going to say…
    I understand that when someone joins the army they’re first responsibility is to the government. However, shouldn’t there be rules about active military members who have young families? I’m not talking about the Family Plan that’s mentioned in the article. I’m talking about when a woman soldier has a child under the age of 5, shouldn’t they be granted some kind of stay that would keep them from being deployed so they can raise their kids and work on base? At least by the time the kid is 5 they can go to the bathroom on their own, physically feed themselves, etc.
    I think its ridiculous that these soldiers would have to give their baby who probably can’t even speak a sentence onto someone else. Why can’t their be an option that works for both the military and the soldier? Why can’t she find a different position on the base until her child is old enough that it wouldn’t be as much of a strain on someone else who might already have their own family to take care of?
    Which brings me to my next point. As a society we put so much emphasis on parents raising their kids. We criticize the families of people we read about being arrested for drugs, or murder, or rape. We automatically assume that these people come from a broken home with an abusive parent, etc. But then when someone chooses to be there for their child we’re going to sit there and criticize? All because she, unlike those we read about everyday, is a soldier and her first priority is supposed to be the country?
    All in all, the military should have a better system in place for ALL soldiers who have children. Male AND female. Single AND married.

  14. stellarose
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Sorry, but this comment just smacks of the attitude working moms have to deal with all the time at our jobs, whatever they are. For a man with a wife at home (or a wife who works but is the primary caretaker of the kids), the idea of “putting your job before your family” makes sense. It means missing soccer games, recitals, and relaxing family vacation time with the kids where you are making memories and engaging in recreational activitites. For single parents and primary caretaker parents (most of the time in this society women, although certainly can be men), “putting your job before your family” would mean that your kid would starve without anyone to feed them, lie in a dirty diaper alone in its crib, and otherwise be totally neglected.
    These are totally different situations. We (single/primary caretaker parents) supprt the basic necessities of life of our children. The buck stops with is; there is no one covering our ass if we have to work late or travel for work. We have two real jobs, and one is keeping our kids clothed and fed and out of danger.

  15. stellarose
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Its also an argument for men to start taking on equal roles in the childreaering sphere. If that happened, we would not need to have this discussion. Where is the dad and his parents? Of course, she might have v. good reasons for cutting him out of the picture. But I bet you if this happened to a male soldier, the first question would be “where is the mother”. Why are we not asking that here?

  16. stellarose
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I would agree with this were it not for the fact our military aggressively recruits very young and poor people. I don’t know this woman, but I am assuming she’s not super rich, and therefore I bet the military was the highest paying job she could get, plus she was probably promised education and other benefits not available at other jobs available to her. Apologies in advance if this is presumptuous, but she looks pretty young to me in the picture.
    Maybe if we had the things almost every other developed nation on this earth has (free university education, gov’t sponsored childcare, universal health, decent wages and emplyment legislation protecting low-wage workers) we could view her decision to join the military as a free choice. Unfortunately, I feel some people are pushed into the decision due to our crap society.

  17. ElleStar
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    How is THAT a logical decision?
    “I’m about to have a child with little in the way of support from the other parent. I know! I’ll leave a good job with good benefits to try to find a job in an economy that is floundering with an almost 10% unemployment rate because, even though I have a plan for deployment (as I’m supposed to), the army might put me in JAIL if that plan falls through at the last minute.”
    The military is the one being illogical here.

  18. baddesignhurts
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    not to be argumentative, but let’s remember that people join the military for a wide variety of reasons. some people DO join because it’s a good job with good benefits. others DO join because they feel an obligation to a country they believe in or some sort of moral charge to fight, pat tillman being a notable example. it’s NOT just a job like any other.
    i’m really torn on this issue, and i have a feeling there’s a happy middle ground to be found. because the military is NOT like any other job. you do indeed sign away a good amount of your rights, and as a free adult, i don’t think this should be underestimated. on some level, even though she got pregnant after joining the army, she did choose a military life knowing what that entails, knowing she had certain additional responsibilities and challenges.
    however, as many commenters here have already pointed out, i believe the military can and should make certain accommodations to her situation. give her additional time to secure her son’s care, or extend her military obligation in return for keeping her stateside, and so on.
    please, however, remember that there are MANY soldiers who have been stop-lossed or sent overseas multiple times, because the military is running short on soldiers. so i understand why they’re not just releasing her from her obligation.
    i’ve had a few friends join the army recently because of financial issues, and it makes me really upset. i think people forget or at least gloss over what level of control of their lives they are ***willingly*** giving away. i’d rather they come sleep on my couch than enlist, unless they really feel morally bound to military service.

  19. ekpe
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    isn’t one of the arguments made by women not on the front that despite their official designation, they are many times trust into combat? they cant guarantee she will only be doing menial jobs, something she was likely aware of and her superiors are aware of. to use her designation as a cop out isn’t proper

  20. karak
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    “I’m talking about when a woman soldier has a child under the age of 5, shouldn’t they be granted some kind of stay that would keep them from being deployed so they can raise their kids and work on base?”
    No. my cousin would have given his left nut to be home for his two under-5 children, and not missed three years of their life. He missed the birth of his own daughter. With the exception of actually being pregnant, no woman should get to postpone deployment simply because she has young children. That’s the definition of unfair. In fact, I think that’s sexist shit, and if that policy existed, I’d be outright disgusted by any woman who tried to use that to excuse herself from doing her duty. The military is not a job. It is a calling. It comes first–before your family, your hopes, your dreams, or even your life. Anything less is unacceptable.
    I feel for the human element of Ms. Hutchinson’s story. I hope to God that she finds someone she can trust to take her child, because otherwise when she’s deployed he probably will be put up for adoption by the foster care system. It’s awful and sad and something probably much more likely to happen to a woman than a man. But one way or another, the army told her she’s going away for a year. And that’s army for you.

  21. Toongrrl
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I hope she will get helped

  22. SamLL
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Teresa did end her comment with “the military should have a better system in place for ALL soldiers who have children. Male AND female.”

  23. Teresa
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I stated at the end of my comment that there should be options for ALL soldiers, not just women, who have children.
    I just think that if these people are doing something for their country than the country should be ensuring them their right to have a family and raise kids. Like any job, women get maternity leave, fathers get paternity leave (maybe not in this country, but in other countries), and I’m not saying they have to have kids and give up their career as a soldier. What I’m saying is they should be given some time to get their family together.

  24. queenb
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Her planning skills weren’t up to par if she never considered a back-up plan. If “what if something comes up with my mom” never occured to her or wasn’t planned for, her planning was far less than solid.

  25. dan&danica
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    “I don’t think you can get pregnant and expect to separate anymore, I don’t think that’s allowed.
    I dont think you can expect it anymore either but it used to be the case, prior to 9/11. Especially at my tech school since the school was so very long.
    “I never heard of, or saw any woman do those sorts of things while I was in. But I did hear men complain about it, which was odd”
    I’ve heard them complain about it too but I’ve also heard directly from the person that they were getting pregnant to avoid a deployment. Could it have been a combination of wanting a kid anyway and seeing the not deploying as a bonus? Sure, coulda been but what was explicitly said to me was they didnt want to go. Sure one could say thats dumb, why have a kid and get yourself 18 years of responsibility instead of doing a 179-day bit, we hardly ever did 365, but people see things how they see things.
    Its true that men don’t get crap for going conscientious objector and all the other tricks, well they dont get as much crap in the discourse outside the military but that might have something to do with one sex being able to get pregnant and one not added to all the other crap, bias and sexism women face in the service. Within the service, malingerers and such are looked at very poorly. Conscientious objectors not so much as if you can actually get through that process you have to really want it, it isnt easy and can take years to do.
    So it happens, is it widespread? I can’t speak to that but I’ve seen it, directly, more than once. To deny it doesnt do any good, as mentioned in this thread a lot of times, the system itself needs to be rethought. The problem is you really cant impose a completely civilian way of thinking and doing things on the military, it wont really work.

  26. i_muse
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    opinionated wasn’t saying it’s wrong for women to help women, did she/he?
    The comment basically said, put your actions where your mouth is and please, by all means, help mothers out.
    I hope more feminists choose to be active in that way.
    If you or anyone else reading, decides to help parents and children by watching the children while the parents are working or taking care of other matters, please go as far as to get some training in early child development and remember to respect the parent.
    You’ll hear people say, “You don’t know what it’s like to be a parent till you are one”
    That is a true statement.
    It’s a responsibility like no other.
    I hope the woman in the article is given a fair chance.

  27. i_muse
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Does the army offer free abortions, free plan B and free BC?
    Would officials ever go on record saying, “We prefer female soldiers who become pregnant abort so they can serve their country without any greater responsibility”? ?
    How do conservatives / anti- choicers feel about this?
    Oh, wait, I forgot, once a woman gives birth, she is disposable and the child can go into Foster Care.
    nevermind.

  28. allegra
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    others DO join because they feel an obligation to a country they believe in or some sort of moral charge to fight … it’s NOT just a job like any other. … because the military is NOT like any other job.
    I don’t buy into the “military is a special job” rhetoric. Certainly it comes with a very high risk of violence and a risk of death, but so do many other types of jobs: working in oil fields, being a police officer. I refuse to rank various types of jobs hierarchically, because I’d say a profession like prostitution comes with as many, if not more, risks as being in the military. (I believe prostitutes suffer the highest rate of PTSD of any profession.) People simply single out the military as some kind of “special” or especially risky or extremely valiant job because it’s mythologized and highly valued in patriarchal cultures, while other equally important jobs like mothering are devalued. I’m sorry, you can’t tell me it’s somehow “better” or “more special” or “but that person is doing something more important because they risked their life for their country” to be in the military than to MOTHER.
    Also, you needn’t be too idealistic about the idea of “freedom” in labor. People’s choices are always limited by multiple factors, including the circumstances they were born into; we have freedom only insofar as we choose from a number of most viable options. Until I see wealthy people’s children flocking the join the military, and until any statistics change showing the military is disproportionately populated by the lower-middle-classes, then I’m going to say that at least one most important reason for joining is that it’s A JOB that requires no previous education.
    you do indeed sign away a good amount of your rights, and as a free adult, i don’t think this should be underestimated.
    Please don’t forget the massive amount of privilege that comes with being in the military, from the huge number of rapes that go unpunished to intangibles like being treated more leniently by the cops because of the Ol’ Boys’ Club. I’d say that an institution that can confer “hero” status on some guys who are actually mean, ignorant jerks in “real life” and that has buried rapists with honors is offering a rather large amount of privilege. No amount of mothering is going to confer “hero” status on a woman. The privileges of having a regular paycheck, benefits for life, and a *paid education* are more than many single mothers have.
    please, however, remember that there are MANY soldiers who have been stop-lossed or sent overseas multiple times, because the military is running short on soldiers.
    Certainly. On the other hand, as I understand, enlistment has been increasing due to the recession. Again, the military is one of few jobs left with decent pay and benefits.

  29. i_muse
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Single father get respect and sympathy
    Single mothers get stigmatized
    so true and so tired of that…

  30. ferocita72
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I feel like we are missing the point. At no point in the story does it say that the mother attempted to tell the army she didn’t have childcare set up or that her original plan fell through. She just didn’t show up for deployment, which is a big problem.
    I would imagine that this could be resolved in one way or another that didn’t involve her going to jail for a year. Getting out of deployment seems unreasonable though given that there are rules around this.

  31. Marc
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    I’d ask that you shut the hell up since you obviously have no experience in the military.
    This is not me being high and mighty and saying people who aren’t in the military do not deserve to have opinions in military matters; it’s that you lack perspective.
    In the military, there is something called accountability – that is, the failure of a Soldier is also the problem with her leader, for having failed to ensure she is taken care of, and her problems solved.
    The military isn’t the kind of job that you show up for work and go home and your supervisor doesn’t care if you end up in a ditch on your way home. Soldiers’ welfare matter because it is linked to mission readiness.
    Her failure, while it might have been directly on her, is also a reflection of NCOs not helping her properly plan.
    I’d think that if you’re going to take a 19-year-old kid, still green in the ways of the world, and send her into a combat zone, you’d guide her and show her the ways of doing things properly, and at the very least, check in to ensure that she at least had Plan B.
    This did not happen, and it’s the command’s fault.

  32. Marc
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Here’s a novel concept – how about her leaders actually ask her about it, or guide her in the right direction.
    Every person who outranks her as a creed to live by, part of it reads, ” …I know my Soldiers and will always place their needs above my own.”
    Does this seem the case to you? Did anyone who supervised her know her needs? Did they place her needs above theirs?
    It’s an utter failure on the part of small-unit Army leadership in this case.

  33. qtiger
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    It’s not black and white either way. The implication was that no women get pregnant to avoid deployment. I responded with an example that yes, it does happen. That doesn’t mean I’m automatically saying that ALL women who become pregnant do it conciously to avoid deployment.
    You seem to be taking every post I’ve said in this thread to the extreme. There’s plenty of grey area here between OMGARMYSUX and OMGPUTHERTODEATH.
    Clearly there is more to this situation than the post here identifies. The linked article’s information primarily comes from her and her lawyer. I’m sure they’re painting a completely unbiased view of events.

  34. Marc
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Plan B is available here in theater, and as far as I know, the Army does not cover abortions.
    For what it’s worth, I am not sure if Plan B is there only in cases of rape, or whether a Soldier can just go to sick call and pick it up.
    Overall, I think it’s extremely difficult for women to get BC or Plan B in the military, because of sick call procedures. I’d ask a female Soldier, though, to ensure the answers I gave is correct.

  35. Marc
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Huh? I read that about ten times and I still don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Use commas, periods and other punctuations and then perhaps I’ll take you seriously enough to answer your propaganda.

  36. Marc
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    Being in the military myself, I absolutely agree with your post.
    It’s one of the more succint analysis of unwarranted privileged of military people I’ve seen in a long, long time.
    It always makes me uncomfortable to, by default, be part of this good-ole-boys’ club, in which, to civilians, all Soldiers are to be appreciated and not ever questioned.
    If people were truly thankful for their freedoms, they ought to thank civil rights leaders.

  37. Marc
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    By bringing up the story, all you’re doing is starting a witch hunt. The old adage, “Trust women,” ought to mean something here.
    Do I think there are women who get pregnant to get out of deployments? Absolutely. I think both the female Marine and I acknowledged that.
    What is not okay in this situation is to automatically assume that each woman who does get pregnant before a deployment does so as a means of not deploying. It strikes me as good-old misogny and distrust of women.
    I am not sure where you’re getting the assertion that we’re claiming the Army sucks. Most of the posts here have been approached from the feminist perspective, the perspectives of NCO’s who blame the Soldier’s direct supervisor for failing to do what’s right, or both.
    It’s not a gray area – somebody here fucked up – and the Soldier shouldn’t have to pay for it because of a leader’s fuck up. That’s always been the case in my military, and that’s what I learned as a young Soldier and I’ve taken it with me as I rise in military ranks, and hope to pass it on to others.
    Maybe I’ve just had the great benefit of having good leaders in my days as a private.

  38. Marc
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Wow. Really? The military is a calling? It comes above everything else? Did this turn into Fox News all the sudden?
    Can we please, please stop treating military service as if it’s something special? It’s fucking not! It’s a job that comes with high risk, and it’s a job that requires a lot of responsibility, but it’s not fucking special.
    I am so goddamn tired of people thinking that somehow this is the most difficult job in the world, or that it’s so much more meaningful than someone else’s job.
    If it is for you, fucking great – get your rocks off wearing the uniform – but for many of us, it’s just a fucking job, because perhaps we like the lifestyle, or that we actually like the job we do.
    I do my job very fucking well, I am supporting three separate battle spaces, I take care of Soldiers to the best of my ability, and I do not neglect my responsibility – that means I am a pretty fucking good Soldier, but if you think that I think I am more special than the non-profit worker, the teachers or anyone else, you’re fucking wrong.
    Jesus freaking Christ – rather than buying into the god-and-country rhetoric, throw a uniform on and then you’ll really get it.
    Any Soldier who says he’s special because of his military service is full of shit.

  39. Phenicks
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Ahhh, I take it you didn’t serve in WW2 or Vietnam eh?
    My grandfathers did and when they retired took other jobs and could tell you there was no other fucking place in this country with their own damn court and jury than the military. That they had no fear of quitting any other job except the military. That fear for one’s life was NEVER as prominent than being in the middle of a war zone with grenades and land mines.
    Seriously, we’re going to completely dismiss the risk military personnel take EVEN in a damn warzone? Military personnell LOSE many rights on active duty that the rest of us enjoy at any other job in this country yet you say there is nothing special about the military.

  40. Phenicks
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    But that’s the thing, the military *right now* is voluntary and they expplain these thigns to you UP FRONT that if you have a small child, even a newborn infant and you have to be deployed–you will be deployed. Miss a birth? Tough, Miss the first 3 years of their lives? Tougher. You sign up to be at their beck and call with very little exceptions and childbrith (for non pregnant soldiers) and childrearing is NOT one of them. When you ask for our military to make exceptions so that people can have leave they sign up KNOWING they wont have then you’re asking other soldiers to be deployed short handed.
    The military does NOT by any means have the best benefits package a person can get and the pay for most is not all that great either.
    It’s like becoming a surgeon and refusing to work more than 8 hours a day when some surgeries will take 12-15 hours to complete. You can’t just leave right before it’s time to operate and expect your job to be waiting for you when you come back.

  41. Phenicks
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you there. The father ought to be ashamed of himself..IF he had not already given up his parental rights. Some absentee fathers were men who didn’t want anything to do with the baby long before it was ever born and if they could have have given the child up for adoption. All they could do was give up their parental rights.
    I could only question where a/the other parent was if they were actually parenting the child and not someone who simply had biological ties (ie a person who did not want to be a parent but was not in a position to either abort or give up the child for adoption). But clearly, someone whose child was about to spend a year on the other side of the country in leiu of living with them instead is not actively involved in that child’s life.

  42. Phenicks
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I am and becoming a mother is why I do not serve in the Air Force as was my original plan for myself in life.
    My father was a Marine so I knew what having a child could mean and as badly as I wanted to be in the Air Force, I wanted to be there for my child even more so and couldn’t risk being deployed away from my son.
    I don’t think jail is a logical or fair punishment but she should be discharged. Her mother has said she can’t care for her son and her job as it was when she signed up, required her to be deployed. She is no longer in a position to be deployed, ie do her job. The entire situation is unfortunate but the army neither forced her to get pregnant or carry to term. It’s terrible the father of her child is not in this picture but you can’t blame the Army that there are military men and women who DO have support of the co-parent or other relatives and friends.
    Someone should have seen to it that she would not be deployed in light of her situation and then they go through the proper lines of action to determine whether or not she can continue to serve.

  43. Phenicks
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Because the view is that the single father had no say in whether or not the child would be aborted or (by omission of conception) be placed for adoption. So pretty much, a single father is a hero because he had the responsibility of parenthood dumped or forced on him (as he had no control over whether or not the fetus would be aborted or the then-child would be palced for adoption) and he rose to the occassion. Whereas a single mother chose to continue the pregnancy and then chose not to give th ebaby up fro adoption thus choosing to raise the child by herself. From conception to bringing the baby home she had the option not to be burdened with parenthood whereas the idea is that single fathers have no such choice.
    Nobody should be shamed for not wanting to be a mother/father/parent. But everyone who DOES step up to the plate and be a caring, loving parent should be respected for that choice. Wanted or not, once the chidlren are here they need love as much as they need everything else to survuve and be productive members of society and happy human beings.

  44. Marc
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    I don’t need a lesson on my military history. Thanks. I’ll go to the old folks’ home if I want first-hand accounts.
    And pray tell, just what the hell do you know about the military?
    Let’s not feed into pro-war propaganda by telling Soldiers how special they are. They’re not. The hours are long, the jobs are dangerous, but you know what – I have just as many friends who are working for NGOs overseas who are also putting their lives on the line and getting less compensation and thanks than anyone else I’ve seen. THEY are the real heroes.
    You have a lot to learn.

  45. Vio
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    Actually it’s pretty easy to get birth control. I’ve been offered it several times without even asking. I’ve never heard of any female soldier having problems obtaining BC except during basic training. Mirena was quite popular among the women at my last unit.
    I’m not sure about the avaliblity of plan B. It’s not on the list of things required to be at every military treatment facility, although BC that’s the same drug at a different dose is. It depends on whoever is in charge of the formulary for that MTF. I would say that getting to sick call to get it in the appropriate time frame is likely to be problem.
    Tricare won’t pay for an abortion, but it certainly will pay for a whole range of birth control choices.

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