I am willing to bet there is more to this story then what the media is putting out:
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 foster care.‘s superiors told her she would have to deploy anyway and place the child in
“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.” [Associated Press]
I find that very hard to believe that her command made such a threat because they have no authority to put a child into protective services. According to the Army Times the military is now launching an investigation into her actions because as I mentioned at the top of this post, there is probably more to this story.
Single parent soldiers are required to have family care plans in place in order to prove to their command that someone will care for their kids if they deploy. If you have never seen one before you can view one here.
These care plans are very extensive and are reviewed during command inspections usually about every 6 months. Before the inspections and whenever someone would turn in a family care plan I would call the specified guardian in order to verify that the plan was valid. This is standard procedure to verify family care plans.
According to the article SPC Hutchison’s mom gave back the child after two weeks because she was to overwhelmed to care for the boy. Obviously SPC Hutchinson did not do a very good job of ensuring her family care plan would be adequate in case of deployment. From what I am reading this is SPC Hutchison’s fault and not the Army’s.