Discharge, Not Court-Martial, for Single Army Mom

Filed under: In The News

Alexis Hutchinson with her son Kamani. Credit: Alexis Hutchinson / AP

A single Army mom who refused to follow her unit to Afghanistan because she had no one to care for her infant son will be discharged from the military, but not court-martialed.

Alexis Hutchinson, 21, is an Army cook who made headlines in November when she skipped a flight to Afghanistan with her unit. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, Hutchinson told her commanding officers that her mother, Angelique Hughes, was originally going to take care of Kamani, her then 11-month-old son, while she was deployed for a year.

According to a November 2009 report from ABC News, Hughes, who lives in Oakland and runs a home-based day care, decided after a week that caring for Kamani was "too much." However, when Hughes heard her grandson had been placed in child protective services following his mother's arrest for skipping the Afghanistan flight, she flew to Georgia to care for him.Here is the video report that aired on ABC News last year:

Hutchinson could have faced charges of "AWOL, missing movement, desertion, failing to have a family care plan and disobeying an officer," her attorney told ABC News in November.

A comment left on ABC's Web site by a user with the handle "inheritbeauty" was signed "Specialist Alexis Hutchinson." It reads: "thank you so much for airing my story. i am happy that people can see the inside on the things the army does. it is a ashame that they would do the things they are doing to me, and i feel like i did what was best for kamani..." (Typos left intact.)

Hutchinson will not be court-martialed, which means she won't face criminal charges. She will, however, be demoted from specialist to private, receive an "other than honorable discharge" (slightly better than a dishonorable discharge, according to the San Jose Mercury News), and lose her veteran's benefits.

In a statement, Hutchinson says she is glad to know she will not receive any jail time.

"This means I can still be with my son, which is the most important thing," she says.

Related: Female Marines Reach Out to Women of Afghanistan

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