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Message to Military Mom Fighting Deployment

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Single Mom Seeking: Dear Spc. Alexis Hutchinson:

Spc. Alexis Hutchinson

When I heard that you'd been arrested on November 6 for skipping your deployment flight to Afghanistan in order to take care of your infant son, I had to find out more. Your story is the kind that pulls on any parent's heart.

How do you find dependable, nurturing -- and affordable -- child care for your baby after life throws you a curve ball like this one?

It's not like you didn't have a plan.

Before your deployment, you'd lined up your mom to take care of your 10-month-old son (According to news reports, his father is not in the picture).

But I watched your mom talk on the Savannah news, and clearly Grandma is overwhelmed. After taking her grandson for two weeks in October -- on top of caring for her own mother and another special needs child -- it was just too much. She sent your son back to you.

Your civilian attorney, Rai Sue Sussman, alleges that one of your superiors at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., told you that you'd have to deploy anyway -- and place your son in foster care.

I'm writing to thank you for bringing this very challenging dilemma to the attention of the mainstream media.

After all, doesn't this highlight a big worry for SO many parents?

When there's a family crisis, how do you find child care that's reliable, loving -- and affordable?

Many parents have faced this need, whether it's because of a job layoff, a death in the family, divorce, you name it. Some parents are fortunate to have close family to take care of their kids. But what if you don't?

Your dilemma highlights a worry that many of us have: If you weren't able to take care of your kids, who would take care of them?

next: 5 Signs Your Preschooler is a Criminal
29 comments so far | Post a comment now
Brittany November 17, 2009, 5:37 PM

Dear Spc Alexis Hutchinson
As a mother in the military for the past five years and two deployments I actually find the actions of spc Hutchinson to be cowardly. Anyone who has joined the armed forces after 9/11 is more than well aware of our current situation. You will deploy. Yet if you have a child you are REQUIRED to have a family care plan in order to deploy. In laymans terms, if you have a child the army MUST have documentation filled out by you saying how your child will be cared fo when you are away. I you do not have these documents filled out you CANNOT be deployed. You can at any point take a chapter 8 family care plan and get an honorable discharge and even keep your benefits as long as you have fulfilled at least two years of service. Now if you have been in the military long enough to have made Specialist you are WELL aware if this. You Spc Hutchinson have ZERO excuse for abandoning your country and should be punished accordingly. It may sound harsh but I feel as though too many people make excuses for goig AWOL. Well we are All aware when we sign our contract that we are in a volunteer army. Meaning you on your own free will entered into a job that leaves the country into a war zone whether you’re an e-1 or an O-3. Whether you’re a mother or father. Whether you’re a son or daughter. So as the rest of the world may see you as courageous, I see you as a coward abandoning your contract that you voluntarily entered into and country that is knowingly at war.

Kevin Larson November 17, 2009, 5:45 PM

Commanders at Fort Stewart, Georgia, are continuing to review information surrounding the alleged misconduct of Specialist Alexis Hutchinson. SPC Hutchinson’s son, Kamani, is safely with his grandmother in California while SPC Hutchinson remains on Hunter Army Airfield at a barracks. The allegations against SPC Hutchinson include alleged violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and, out of consideration for young Kamani and his Soldier-mother, will be handled as expeditiously as possible. In the meantime, SPC Hutchinson’s fellow Soldiers have departed for Afghanistan while her deployment is postponed indefinitely pending the due process of this ongoing review.

Kevin Larson
Chief, Public Communications
Fort Stewart/3rd ID Public Affairs

Sara November 17, 2009, 7:26 PM

If she didn’t have reliable child care for the deployment she should have gotten out of the military when she had her baby.

Jen November 17, 2009, 7:55 PM

Guess,I’m going to be the comment of dissent but I don’t think she deserves to be arrested. Obviously, she did have plans for her mother to take care of her son, but as stated above, her mother couldn’t handle it. Why not just give her a dishonorable discharge? Any mother is going to choose to stay if it means placing her child in foster care.

Anonymous November 17, 2009, 9:36 PM

Wow, I am an Army wife & a mom, I understand the procedures of military life. Yes, she should have followed the code & according to this article she did, but what happens when it doesn’t follow through? I know & understand by joining the military is free-will. Some join to make a better life & make a difference. But seriously we are going to tell our fellow soldier you have to put your child in Foster Care cause her family care plan didn’t follow thru. Wow, talk about taking care of our soldier & their family. Have we forgotten about our soldier’s family? That if you provide that soldier peace of mind, that they will give 100%. My husband is lucky to have me in his life to take care of our children, but not everyone has that & it is saddens me that our military’s answer is out put your child in foster care!
I know that people will disagree with me, but as a wife & mom, God forbids if something happens to me, well I hate to think what will come to it in the future.

Anonymous November 17, 2009, 10:16 PM

Maybe she she should have thought about having a baby out of wedlock and going into the miltary at the same time.

Carol November 17, 2009, 11:17 PM

Everyone is free to register all kinds of comment until something happens to them. NO ONE IS EXEMPT! This young lady did not set out to mess up her life. As the old saying goes “-hit happens”. Now this situation sets a precident that the military has to address. Yes, what about the care and safety for family at home while loved ones are fighting for our country?? Brittany I hope your life will always be perfect, you sound like the exception.

Anonymous November 18, 2009, 3:57 AM

well everyone is entitled to theier own opinion about the whole thing a for me im on the inside and knows exactly what is going on, while you guys are just going of what the media says.
Sad to say alot of you guys will be very very disappointed when the truth finally comes out

Brittany November 18, 2009, 4:54 AM

I am in the military and I have my family care plan set up. And guess what, if it fails the army has to let me out on a family care plan chapter 8 so even if i’m not the exception Carol, the at has rules and regulations they must follow. Every soldier must follow. So if Spc Hutchinson like the many other soldiers I’ve seen try and skip a deployment fir whatever reason. Trust me, having children isn’t a valid reason to go AWOL. I hve a son and I’ve deployed twice my fiancé has three children and he’s coming up on his third deployment. What makes her special to skip out?nothing. She went AWOL which in a time of war is considered desertion. She deserted her country in a time of war. Unacceptable. She didn’t have her son when she signe her contract but when she got pregnant she has the option to be honorably discharged. Instead she stayed in and went AWOL. So no I don’t feel sorry. I hope she is punished because the rest of us mothers and fathers still have to deploy.

Anonymous November 18, 2009, 5:00 AM

The military does not “go after” single Moms parents when the truly unexpected happens. IME, the commands bend over backwards to find solutions. The problem is, sometimes people want the perfect solution, or refuse any other solution besides the one they want.

How about an open letter to the kid who’s parent will have to replace the “soldier”?

Me November 18, 2009, 7:25 AM

She did have a plan… that plan had unexpected changes occur. If I was in the military and it turned out that my parents would not be able to take my children and the only other option I had would be people I hardly knew and couldn’t trust or foster care you can bet I would be refusing to leave the country!!! That said, as a mom I also would not enroll in the army because I wouldn’t want to leave my children behind… but I can speak from experience with family that the military recruiters can be awfully misleading on the likeliness of deployment. My brother in law was told that if he went into a certain branch of the army there was no way he’d be deployed and if he was it would not be to a war area. Take a young 18 year old kid and he’s not going to question that recruiters claims very much. Go figure, he is just finishing up his five years in the army, well over three of which were spent deployed in Iraq. So, I think that our military are at times misled by some scummy recruiters. That may not be what happened to this mom but it is possible.

Anonymous November 18, 2009, 8:11 AM

Brittany as well as a few others,

I think some of your comments are a bit harsh! I have been in the military over 11 years now and have 2 children. My husband is also in the service as well. Yes, we are required to have a family care plan, but what alot of people who agree to take care of your kids don’t realize is that they have to do it for a year.

Everyone doesn’t have a supportive family or friends that are actually willing to step up when it comes down to it like they had agreed. Her choice was not to go AWOL she asked for a little more time to find someone to care for HER CHILD FOR A WHOLE YEAR, THAT IS 365 DAYS!!! No one should be told to place their child in foster care to fight an unwinable war that we should not be in, in the first place. If they would have just given her 2 weeks none of this would have come about.

Ash November 18, 2009, 8:15 AM

Dear Brittany how dare you say its cowardly for a mom to be with her child. Good for you that you would be able to leave you kids and soon 2 be step kids with a perfect stranger and not care but not all moms can. Sending a small child like this to a foster home or any other kind of stranger is awful. She is expected to serve her time saving other people and their kids but cant help her own. To think the government cant even take care of their own soldiers families is sad. Yet they expect her to risk her life for their family and the families in other country’s. And then you say “She deserted her country in a time of war. Unacceptable” but yet its acceptable for her country to let her desert a child that looks to be a year old.
What makes her special….HELLO she has no one to watch her kid! Putting the child with a stranger is WRONG especially when they are so little. That’s what makes her different, she needs to care about the people who actually care if something would happen to her. Not someone who care about what she signed or what they think is best for them.

I hope moms thinking about the military think twice. I’m thankful for everyone that serves our country but to have the moms home to keep their child from going thru something like this is more important.

Spartan 117 November 18, 2009, 9:07 AM

This DOES NOT set a precedent that the military has to address. It has happened numerous time in the past ever since women were introduced to combatant positions in the military. The old trick females used to use in the Navy to get out of deployment was: Get pregnant! We had a woman whose care plan fell through and her deployment was delayed until the care plan was reestablished. She deployed to the first gulf war about 3 weeks after we did. This isn’t a new “thing” it’s just the first time it’s gotten national media coverage. She alleges her chain of command told her to place her child in state sponsored foster care. I seriously doubt that a commissioned officer would end his or her career with a statement like that. If she no longer has relationship with the “baby daddy”, who should step up and be a responsible man and family is not able to lend assistance, she needs to seek a hardship discharge or humanitarian reassignment.

DJ Black Adam November 18, 2009, 11:08 AM

As a former Marine, I find the actions of Specialist Hutchinson BRAVE and HONORABLE. If one won’t sacrifice their military career to protect and raise their own child, they don’t understand what HONOR and CODE really are.

She is doing the RIGHT thing, and SHAME ON THE ARMY for suggesting foster care.

Sequelia Erskine November 18, 2009, 11:57 AM

I think that what she did was the right and moral thing to do. I too, served in the United States Army, and I was faced with the dilemma of raising my children or deployment. Many people need to understand that often times when someone signs up for the military, it’s not often out of their own choice. Sometimes, it is a “need to do” basis. I signed up for the service b/c I wanted to go to college. I knew that the military was a sure way to go to school and it would cost me nothing, financially. My mom had put my brother and sister threw college and by the time I had graduated from high school, she could not afford to get another school loan for me to attend college. So the only options were to join the service or stay home, have babies and do nothing with my life. So, I enlisted in the military. Sure, i knew that thier were chances that I might have to deploy if I became a parent, but I figured those chances were really slim to non being as though I was a single parent as well. And I wanted to be a parent to my child; not just 40% of the time. So, I applaud this lady for doing what she did. People join the service for many different reason. Some join to provide for thier families; some join b/c they have no other option in life; some join just for the paycheck; and some join to serve their country and do what is called when they are called- proudly. Single parents, as well as everyone should have a choice weather they want to deploy or not. You do not want to birth a child, only to have that child grow up and not know you, personally, as their parent, and pictures on the web and phone text do very little justice. You cannot raise a child over the web or on the phone. And for this mother; joining the military may have been her only option to provide a better life for herself and her child. And if she chose not to want to deploy; that is her choice. I know what I signed when I signed those papers as well, but again, it should be an option. Many single parents are willing to deploy. Many are not. Many do it just for the extra money. Some do it b/c they love serving their country. So, don’t point the finger at this lady. You don’t know her story and you don’t know her reason for having to enlist in the military. The government needs to allow deployment to be a choice. It’s sad for a mother or father to have to bury thier son or daughter and then raise their grandkids and knowing that it wasn’t that soldier’s “choice” to deploy and participate in a war that we have no clue as to why we are fighting anyway…So, I applaud you mom. You did the right thing. Don’t leave your child. Only you can care for and give that child what he/she really needs- not a temporary guardian.
- Quelia

Anonymous November 19, 2009, 6:25 AM

I feel bad for the soldier who has to step up and take this “soldiers” deployment.

Izzy November 28, 2009, 6:50 AM

Bravo Brittany!

“I, Alexis Hutchinson , do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God”.

What part of the above have all you alleged former military people forgotten?

I spent 21 yrs in the Army. When I was called up, I didn’t get 180 days to implement my family care plan….I had less than a week because my MOS was being called up first. I scrambled to get child care till my mom could arrive, which also meant she had to take a leave of absence from her job to travel many, many miles to stay with my children. We DID IT and without complaint or fuss. That is what YOU DO when you take the oath to serve.

“BRAVE and HONORABLE”; DJ, there is NOTHING brave or honorable about a person who goes AWOL. Quite frankly, I don’t believe the story of the grandmother either. She darn sure had time to fly to GA with all her “other” responsibilities. I am not buying it. It sounds like many stories people pull to get out of being deployed to a war zone. I bet if she was going to Germany, she WOULD be there right now.

I have no sympathy for this woman. The military is in place for the safety and security of THIS country….not someone’s personal convenience when the going gets tough. It is pandering to people like Hutchinson and many others that is ruining military order. You do not get SPECIAL consideration because you have a kid. You do not get special consideration because YOU failed to implement a back-up family care plan. From the time her kid was born, she needed to have a plan in place. And a back-up plan. HER responsibility, not the Army’s.

My son is on his 4th deployment because of shortages and/or people bailing on deployment. Do not think I will cut any huss for ANYONE who avoids deployment. It is YOUR DUTY, under oath to obey ALL orders, not just the ones you want to. She not only failed to obey a direct order, she went AWOL. She should be discharged with loss of benefits. We cannot reward bad behavior. Most especially in the military.

Army Veteran

Anonymous December 2, 2009, 11:26 AM

I feel for this young lady and her child leaving your child for that long is a hard thing to do but you know when you join the military there is a chance you will have to leave your family. She attempted to do the right thing, unfortunately her plans fell through and she made a bad decision. Am I the only one that cant believe that the Army cares so little about their soldiers that they were not willing to give her extra time to make other arrangements for the child other than foster care but then again this doesn’t surprise me, my brother and his wife are both active duty Army and both are being deployed to Iraq in January - they have a six month old daughter that is about to lose both her parents to this war. The Army needs to do a better job in caring for their soldiers, this young lady should have never been put in this position where she felt like her only choice was to go AWOL.

Single shouldn't be synonmous w/ lazy December 16, 2009, 8:14 AM

I think the problem here is poor execution. She didn’t need a dad to run a good family care plan.

I’m also a single parent in the military-only been that way for about 2 years now (my daughter is 4) and my contract is up in 3 months.

I also have nearby relatives who are unable to care for my daughter so my care plan providers are located in Oregon and Alaska. My ex-husband is stationed in Japan.

I don’t know about SPC Hutchinson’s care plan but I would like to share the details of mine since the only comments seem to be about who was right-the Army or SPC Hutchinson. As in most cases I feel each party could have probably done better.

I am required to have a family care plan which is reviewed and signed annually by myself, all family care guardians, my supervisor, my first sergeant and my commander.

I am required to have three names on this paper. A local area (emergency contact), a short-term care provider and then my long term care provider. There is also space to provide an alternate to long term care. My ex (by virtue of being a military member also) is not listed on this as ONLY civilian (i.e. non-deployable) individuals can be used.

In the event this situation had happened to me I would have still deployed. My local area contact would have stayed with my daughter (right after I left) and my short-term care giver (30 or less days) would have been called to pick up my daughter until my OTHER primary care giver was able to come get here.

I understand that things happen and perhaps I am just lucky that I have others besides my mom to contact but this plan has been discussed, reviewed and planned out to the fullest of everyone’s abilities. I was also required to speak at all levels about my family care plan (and answer questions) to ensure that a situation that I hadn’t thought of would not be a deal breaker.

Poor planning on EVERYONE’s part is what caused this situation to get out of hand. Although it is her responsibility to get and keep the care plan it is also her LEADERSHIP’s responsibility to ensure this has been done. I have specific time periods in which I am required to document changes, provide information and to go over my care plan.

Being a single parent AND being in the military is not the issue-being UNPREPARED was the problem.

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