Army Releases Single Mother on Administrative Discharge
The US Army decided last week to dismiss specialist and single mother Alexis Hutchinson with an other-than-honorable discharge instead of a court-martial. Hutchinson, a 21-year-old Army cook, failed to board her flight for deployment to Afghanistan last fall after child care plans for her 10-month-old son fell through. The next day, the military arrested Hutchinson and temporarily placed her son in military daycare.
Hutchinson will not face criminal charges. However, due to the administrative discharge, Hutchinson will lose some of her veteran and Army benefits and her rank will be reduced, reported the New York Times.
Army regulations allow for extended time to set up new accommodations when single parent's childcare plans fall through. The parent is then honorably discharged if an alternate solution cannot be found, according to Truthout.
Hutchinson's mother, Angelique Hughes, had originally agreed to be the child's caretaker for Hutchinson's year-long deployment. She took him in for a few weeks in October, but found herself overwhelmed with existing responsibilities caring for other relatives and running an in-home daycare. According to the New York Times, Hughes contacted Hutchinson's company commander to explain the circumstances. At the time, she was told Hutchinson could delay deployment for 30 days to find alternate care.
Hutchinson's civilian attorney Rai Sue Sussman said during an interview with Truthout: "Here, the Army did not act according to their own regulations, and did not value the family responsibilities of this soldier. The lives of military families are very difficult and they often face a command that isn't understanding or empathetic towards the situation of raising a child in that environment."
Media Resources: Truthout 2/11/2010, NY Times 2/11/2010