Military Mom Refuses Deployment to Care for Baby

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By Kamika Dunlap on November 18, 2009 9:15 AM

Army cook and single mom Spc. Alexis Hutchinson had to choose between serving her country or the responsibility of being a new mom.

That tough decision now has left Hutchinson, 21, of Oakland, CA possibly facing criminal charges for refusing Afghanistan deployment.

Hutchinson refused to deploy to Afghanistan with the rest of her unit on Nov. 5, claiming she had no one to keep for her 10-month old baby, the Associated Press reports.

Her civilian attorney, Rai Sue Sussman said one of Hutchinson's superiors told her she would have to deploy anyway and put the child in foster care.

Hutchinson is no longer in a relationship with the child's father.

Shortly before her scheduled year-long Afghanistan deployment Hutchinson went AWOL for less than 24 hours and returned voluntarily, Sussman said.

She was then arrested for skipping her unit's flight and confined to the boundaries of Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah.

Hutchinson's son, Kamani was placed with child welfare officials.

She now faces a number of charges and Sussman listed them as:

  • AWOL, missing movement
  • Desertion
  • Failing to have a family care plan
  • Disobeying an officer

Sussman however, also explained that Hutchinson could get an administrative discharge for the convenience of the government due to parenthood.

Since 9/11, 30,000 single mothers have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan according to a report released last month.

Military officials are investigating Hutchinson's case. The Army requires all single-parent soldiers to have a family plan during deployment.

Hutchinson's mother had agreed to care for the boy but she decided she could not keep him for a full year. 

She is burdened with other responsibilities and runs her own day care, and tends to three other relatives with illnesses and special needs.

Hutchinson is not under arrest, but still confined to Hunter Army Airfield until this matter is resolved.

To date, no charges have been filed.

Army officials say they don't want to make the situation more difficult for the child. Also, there will be no deployment while this situation is ongoing, according to an Army spokesperson.