Soldier mom refuses deployment to care for baby

Sara - posted on 11/19/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )




An Army cook and single mom may face criminal charges after she skipped her deployment flight to Afghanistan because, she said, no one was available to care for her infant son while she was overseas.

Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, 21, claims she had no choice but to refuse deployment orders because the only family she had to care for her 10-month-old son — her mother — was overwhelmed by the task, already caring for three other relatives with health problems.

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.

"For her it was like, 'I couldn't abandon my child,'" Sussman said. "She was really afraid of what would happen, that if she showed up they would send her to Afghanistan anyway and put her son with child protective services."

Hutchinson, who is from Oakland, Calif., remained confined Monday to the boundaries of Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, 10 days after military police arrested her for skipping her unit's flight. No charges have been filed, but a spokesman for the Army post said commanders were investigating.

Kevin Larson, a spokesman for Hunter Army Airfield, said he didn't know what Hutchinson was told by her commanders, but he said the Army would not deploy a single parent who had nobody to care for his or her child.

"I don't know what transpired and the investigation will get to the bottom of it," Larson said. "If she would have come to the deployment terminal with her child, there's no question she would not have been deployed."

Hutchinson's son, Kamani, was placed into custody overnight with a daycare provider on the Army post after she was arrested and jailed briefly, Larson said. Hutchinson's mother picked up the child a week ago and took him back to her home in California.

Hutchinson, who's assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, joined the Army in 2007 and had no previous deployments, Sussman said. She said Hutchinson is no longer in a relationship with the father.

The Army requires all single-parent soldiers to submit a care plan for dependent children before they can deploy to a combat zone.

Hutchinson had such a plan — her mother, Angelique Hughes, had agreed to care for the boy. Hughes said Monday she kept the boy for about two weeks in October before deciding she couldn't keep him for a full year.

Hughes said she's already having to care for her ailing mother and sister, as well as a daughter with special needs. She also runs a daycare center at her home, keeping about 14 children during the day.

"This is an infant, and they require 24-hour care," Hughes said. "It was very, very stressful, just too much for me to deal with."

Hughes said she returned Kamani to his mother in Georgia a few days before her scheduled deployment Nov. 5.

She said they told her daughter's commanders they needed more time to find another family member or close friend to help Hughes care for the boy, but Hutchinson was ordered to deploy on schedule.

Larson, the Army post spokesman, said officials planned to keep Hutchinson in Georgia as investigators gathered facts about the case.

"Spc. Hutchinson's deployment is halted," Larson said. "There will be no deployment while this situation is ongoing."

I find this really sad. I understand that people make a committment to serve, but c'mon. I wouldn't put my child in foster care either. I think I'd rather go to jail. I don't think the Military is being very understanding in this case.


Amanda - posted on 11/21/2009




when a female soldier has a child, single or not, she is given the option of a chapter 8 (an honorable discharge from the military) in order to better care for her child. this woman clearly did not take that and used lack of a family care plan in an attempt to avoid deployment. these days deployment is a part of the job as a soldier and if an individual is unwilling to perform their job is it really fair for them to continue collecting a paycheck and benefits? with everything going on in the world (wrong or right/whether we should be there or not) the military needs all able-bodied soldiers for deployment, there are plenty of non-deployable soldiers (due to injury- permanant and temporary- or illness beyond thier control) to do the work state-side that an able bodied soldier's place is in the deployment cycle. i think the article is attempting to pull heart strings, this girl wants everyone to feel sorry for her because she wanted to stay with her child when in reality could have legally done so by opting out of her military comittment. i don't feel bad for her, and i don't buy her "poor me, the big mean military is punishing me for nothing" crap.

JL - posted on 11/19/2009




I question what she claims, because the military has a compassionate deployement and reassigment clause and if you cannot find care for your child they will not deploy you, if you have a sick family member and you are their primary caregiver they will not send you to another installation or deploy you. There are many avenues she could have taken....she could have put in paperwork to be reassigned to a non deployable position since she is a single mom that is possible, she could have went to JAG or above her command if they actually told her to use foster care, she could have even put in paperwork to be released from her commitment to the military and been honorably discharged based on being a single mom. The Army is set up to deal with these situations and they allow enough time and enough leadway so that single parents are not forced to just up and leave their children with no one to care for them.

Going AWOL in the military is a serious offense and I know the sister of the MP that arrested her and from what she he has told me something is not right with this ladies story. This was going to be her first deployment and I really question if she was trying not to have to deploy because there are so many different avenues she could have taken if care for her son was the ONLY issue. If her command found out that care was not the issue and that she was using it as an excuse to not deploy then they probably told her that she was not going to get out of a deployement and told her to get her situation together immediately and prepare for deployement.

I have a lady who is a grandmother who lives three houses down from me. Her son is a single soldier with 4 kids. She takes care of and is raising his 4 kids while he is in Iraq for a year. She also has guardianship over 2 other grandkids right now that belong to her daughter who is also deployed to Afghanistan for 8 months. SHe has 6 grankids she is taking care of that age from 16 months to 10 years old.

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Amie - posted on 06/09/2011




*** Mod Alert***

This post is 2 years old so I am locking it but please feel free to start a new one if anyone wants to debate.

~DM mod

[deleted account]

I agree... She had a commitment and if she doesn't want to deploy, switch to a non-deployable job (didn't know that was option!) or get out!! She signed up to serve our country. They asked her to deploy. PLUS, she decided to stay in after having her son.... They DO have the option to get out. I know I'd have a hard time leaving my sons...

Sarah - posted on 11/21/2009




I'd be really interested in knowing what her real story is, becasue it seems to me that you ladies are correct and this is NOT the complete truth!

Sharon - posted on 11/19/2009




nope she screwed up. She had a commitment to the military. She signed a contract that it would come first before everything else. She had 10months plus to make arrangements for her child.


She reneged on her contract and now she is STILL going to be without her child, when they toss her skank ass in the brig.

She did this on purpose to avoid deployment and that is disgusting.

[deleted account]

I don't think this is the whole story. As the guy pointed out, the military doesn't deploy single parents-they also won't deploy both of a child's parents. I'm confused.

Esther - posted on 11/19/2009




If this is the full story, the commander who told her to put her child in foster care should be seriously reprimanded. There is no way on the planet that I would do that. They'd have to shoot me first.

Sara - posted on 11/19/2009




Actually, when I heard about this on NPR this morning, they said she had gone to her commanding officer and was given a 30 day extention to find care for her child, they then revoked a few days later....

Dana - posted on 11/19/2009




I agree Sara but, I'm wondering if we're getting the whole story yet. It seems pretty extreme which makes me wonder.

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