Single Mom Soldier Refuses to Go to Afghanistan

Filed under: In The News

Army Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, with her son, Kamani, could face criminal charges after refusing to deploy to Afghanistan, saying she had no family able to care for her child. Credit: Alexis Hutchinson / AP

A soldier who is also a single mother remains confined to her post for refusing to go to Afghanistan and leave her infant son behind.

Alexis Hutchinson, a 21-year-old Army cook, faces an investigation and possible charges for skipping her unit's flight overseas early this month.

She tells the Associated Press she had no choice but to stay with her 10-month-old son, Kamani. Hutchinson's mother, who already runs a daycare center, is overwhelmed by the task of taking care of the infant, and three other relatives have health problems, she says.

Hutchinson's civilian lawyer, Rai Sue Sussman, tells the AP the Army has not been sympathetic. Hutchinson was allegedly told to put the child in foster care.

"For her, it was like, 'I can't abandon my child,' " Sussman tells the news agency. "She was really afraid of what would happen, that if she showed up, they would send her to Afghanistan anyway and put her child with child protective services."

The military requires soldiers with children to have a family care plan. Military personnel must sign a form stating that they understand failure to have such a plan can result in disciplinary action.

Sussman tells CNN that Hutchinson had such a plan. It fell through because of problems with her mother and other relatives, she says.

Hutchinson is confined to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., while military officials investigate her case. Hutchinson turned herself in voluntarily. No charges have been filed yet.

Kevin Larson, a base spokesman, tells the AP he doesn't know what Hutchinson was told. But Army brass would never send a single mother overseas if she had nobody to care for her child; the issue is that Hutchinson had time to file a family care plan, and was even granted an extension in August and September, and failed to do so, he says.

More than 30,000 single mothers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new report by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Former Air Force JAG Officer Michelle McCleur tells CNN Hutchinson is not likely to win her battle against the brass.

"When soldiers are ordered to deploy, and single soldiers included, they have to have a family care plan in place," she tells CNN. "And they need to implement that."

Related: A soldier returns home to a custody battle

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