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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