I know what she’s feeling

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, November 18, 2009

As a single mom, I must say — when it comes to my children — I am very lucky to not only have a good working relationship with my ex-husband, but also a very supportive family.

That was not the case for an Army cook and single mom from Georgia, who recently made national news for skipping her deployment flight to Afghanistan because she claimed she had no one to care for infant son while she served a year overseas.

Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, 21, may now face criminal charges for her actions. She claimed she had no choice but to refuse her deployment orders because her mother — the only person available to care for her 10-month-old son — couldn’t handle taking care of another person on top of the three already in the household.

After a brief period in jail, Hutchinson is now currently at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah while officials investigate the matter.

Hutchinson’s civilian attorney said the mother said, “I can’t abandon my child,” and that she fully believed that if she showed up at the airport with her child, the Army would place him in protective services.

It’s been reported she disclosed her predicament to her superior officers, who allegedly said she’d have to deploy anyway and place the child in foster care.

Hutchinson, who’s assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, joined the Army in 2007 and had no previous deployments. Her attorney has said the baby’s father is not in the picture.


I agree with Hutchinson’s sentiment.

If the Army wanted me to ship off to who knows where for a year, and I had no one to leave my child with, I’d feel the same way — like I was abandoning my child.

What I disagree with is how she handled things.

One of the things I learned early in life is “T.C.B.” — take care of business. It saves a lot of heartache and unnecessary unpleasantness — which, in Hutchinson’s case, could mean jail.

It’s easy to see how a 21-year-old single mother, who was just told that not only was she going to have to go off and fight a war, but also that her mother — who was caring for her ailing mother, sister and a special needs daughter all while operating a day care — didn’t think she could handle caring for a 10-month-old. It’s easy to see how she could come to the realization that she couldn’t board that airplane for Afghanistan, and there was no way she was leaving her baby.

And that’s unfortunate.

Right now, it’s unclear if Hutchinson followed the chain of command and reported how her situation had changed. It’s also unclear as to what those people in the chain of command said in response.

I guess really now all that matters is that Hutchinson is safe in Georgia with her son — which, I can say as a mother, is really the best place to be.