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Single Mom Soldier Refuses Deployment, Faces Court Martial

A single mother, who happens to be a U.S. Army soldier, is under arrest in Georgia, after refusing to go to Afghanistan because she couldn't find anyone to care for her 11-month-old son. The boy is now in foster care.

A news agency called Inter Press Service says Specialist Alexis Hutchinson (left) was told she was going to be deployed to Afghanistan. Under the Army's family care plan, Hutcinson was allowed to fly to California to leave her son with her mother.

But a week later, her mother called Hutchinson, and said she was unable to care for the boy. It seems she is already taking care of a daughter with special needs, an ailing mother, and a sick sister.

So after the boy was returned to her, Hutchinson told her superiors she had no one to watch him. They gave her an extension on the deployment date to find help.

But Hutchinson says just a few days after that conversation, the Army rescinded its extension, and ordered her to Afghanistan on the original deployment date. Unable to find anyone to take in the baby, Hutchinson skipped the flight.

She was immediately arrested, while the boy was placed in foster care.

Hutchinson was scheduled to fly to Afghanistan on Sunday to face a special court martial. It's not clear if she was flown there. If convicted, she faces up to a year in jail.

Hutchinson's civilian lawyer, Rai Sue Sussman, told IPS, "The core issue is that they are asking her to make an inhumane choice. She did not have a complete family care plan, meaning she did not find someone to provide long-term care for her child. She's required to have a complete family care plan, and was told she'd have an extension, but then they changed it on her."

Sussman claims the Army thinks she is using her child care issue to get out of going to Afghanistan. Sussman says that the Army's JAG attorney, Captain Ed Whitford, "told me they thought her chain of command thought she was trying to get out of her deployment by using her child as an excuse."

Others in Hutchinson's unit reportedly think the same thing. But Sussman says it's ridiculous -- she just needs more time to find someone she trusts."To me it sounds completely bogus," Sussman said. "I think what they are actually going to do is have her spend her year deployment in Afghanistan, then court martial her back here upon her return. This would do irreparable harm to her child. I think they are doing this to punish her, because they think she is lying."

The Army did not comment on the IPS story.


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