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US Soldier Mom refuses deployment

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SSOK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 1:35pm
Originally posted by oldsoldier oldsoldier wrote:

, and to protect the rights of other female single parents
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dunbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 2:21pm
Agreed. She should've known that somewhere along the road she was going to be deployed and doesn't she have any friends who could take care of the kid? I mean really now, she probably has a friend or suvillian coworker who can take care of the kid.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ben Grimm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 2:25pm
Originally posted by oldpbnoob oldpbnoob wrote:

Originally posted by Ben Grimm Ben Grimm wrote:

 That goes both ways.  The Army allowed her to enlist, knowing that she had a child (or might have a child), and put her on the deployment list knowing that she had primary care of a child.  What kind of foolish employer puts themselves in that position? 
So you are saying that single parents should be excluded from active deployment options? Wouldn't that effectively make it pointless to even enlist them? Taking it maybe a bit far, but what would keep someone with second thoughts about deploying from arranging their childs spouse to take a powder and leave them as sole caretaker? Seems like a bit of a loophole.
 
You can't (legally) exclude the hiring of single parents from jobs that would require extensive travel in the private sector, should the government be exempt from such restrictions?
 
What are the actual regulations on single parenthood in the military? If GI Joe is in action and his wife dies suddenly leaving his child at home parentless, do they take him out of action and reassign him? Or does he get discharged? I would be curious if anyone knows.
 
Are we looking at a double standard?
 
The military can and does have rules that would be illegal in the private sector - not just here.  That's the joy of being the government.
 
But, on point - if OS' summary of the regs is accurate (which I have no reason to doubt), then I think that answers the question.  My concern was whether the military had the appropriate planning and procedure in place, and it appears that it does.  That being the case, I would tend to agree that UCMJ is the correct course.  I presume a DD (or whatever) would be a logical result. 
 
The only lingering question would be whether the Army actually follows its own rules.  Having formal procedures is one thing - but if the officers on the ground go by a different set of rules, then we have to go by those rules instead.  In this case, for instance - did her superiors know about the child?  If so, they presumably also knew that she had not arranged for suitable childcare.  If they still took no action, then the soldier could reasonably take that to mean that she had some kind of permission to stay the course.
 
But whatever.  I suspect there is enough blame to go around in this case, and the big loser will be the kid.  As usual.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldsoldier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 2:53pm
Regulations are in place for the parent deployed to return to the states under hardship conditions if spouse dies stateside leaving minor children. The service member then must provide by regulation an appropiate Child Care Plan and will be returned to unit ASAP. If a Child Care Plan adequite to provide for the children can not be found, a Chapter Discharge (usually Honorable) is available.


Now does the Army follow its own rules, well there is a pattern of Reserve and Guard units in order to pad manpower reports to let issues like these fall through the cracks. Now if that is the case the unit Commander is as much to fault as the single parent, and as chargeable under UCMJ. That does not mitigate the service members responsibility to keep the command informed on personnel changes. Most responsible soldiers keep copies of any personnel actions (in my day a DA Form 4187) in order to prove that they the service member did his/her part in keeping the command advised of any personal issue changes (marriage/child birth, etc)

Still the matter remains, in order to maintain the fair treatment of other single parents that follow regulations, this individual case should and must be charged under UCMJ, in order to maintain the equality demanded for by other single parents (females).

The military is not designed to be a 'work' program for the less fortunate, nor a day care center. The regulations are clear, and exception by waiver is available before orders issued, deciding that you do not want to follow orders issued (deployment) and use child care as an 'out' under conditions such as these UCMJ is warrented. The soldier in question shhould have supplied a personnel form with change of status and the required child care plan, if she did not follow through and was aware of her deployment status and trusted to 'luck' not to be deployed, that is no excuse. It is great in todays job market to have a guarenteed job with benifits, but you must be able to perform that job as outlined by regulation.

Edited by oldsoldier - 17 November 2009 at 2:58pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldpbnoob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 3:05pm

I do find it odd however, that the original source of care, the grandmother, is able to watch over two elderly adults, one physically disabled adult, and 14 children in a daycare situation, but the addition of a 10 month old threw her over the edge.... Granted, having survived two 10month olds, I know it could be trying, but couldn't the daughter in the military have sent money to offset some of the income gained from the daycare money and the grandmother dropped a few kids in order to watch her own grandchild? Seems a bit convienent that suddenly she is incapable of handling it, and that her daughter may get to ride it out stateside. All the while having the Army pay for her pregnancy, maternity leave etc.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kayback Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 3:43pm
Question. She has been in the .Mil from 2007? It's now 2009. That's 24 months.

10 month old.

9 month pregnancy.

24-19 = not very many months actually useful to the military.....

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 3:53pm
Originally posted by oldpbnoob oldpbnoob wrote:

Seems a bit convienent that suddenly she is incapable of handling it, and that her daughter may get to ride it out stateside. All the while having the Army pay for her pregnancy, maternity leave etc.



^^^This.

OS hit the nail on the head covering family care plans.  I would add that I had several commanders that went above and beyond by requiring me (as a non-custodial single parent) to have such a plan in case something happened while I was exercising my visitation rights.

Deployments are not surprises; the woman had 10 months (after birth)  to either develop a working plan or notify her superiors and request a hardship discharge.  She chose to continue to draw pay, receive training and occupy a slot that could have been used by someone actually capable of performing the mission.  I have zero sympathy and am with OS on the need for her to be charged.

I will add that having dealt with a similar issue* as a supervisor, it can create serious unit morale issues as other troops begin to wonder if they need to follow the rules as well.  This is exacerbated by the fact that in many cases screw-ups are quite public while punishment is significantly more private.

*Single parent troop** that took her 6 weeks of maternity leave then refused to show up for work because she "hadn't had time to get a baby-sitter."  She became a civilian in fairly short order.***

**Name withheld to protect the annoyingly stupid.

***After filing various complaints/charges**** against every single member of her unit chain of command because us expecting her to actually work for her pay was so unfair.

****In my case it was an Inspector General complaint that I was prejudice against unwed mothers.


Edited by Mack - 17 November 2009 at 3:54pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldpbnoob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 4:48pm
Originally posted by Mack Mack wrote:


****In my case it was an Inspector General complaint that I was prejudice against unwed mothers.
Hopefully, your defense wasn't that you can't be predjudice against them, since you were responsible for so many....?

Edited by oldpbnoob - 17 November 2009 at 4:51pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tippmannfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 9:26pm
i really don't even know why this hit the news. besides, if she doesn't go i'm sure they can find a male soldier more than capable of fulfilling her duties...(blatant ignorance but i couln't help it)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 11:15pm
Originally posted by oldpbnoob oldpbnoob wrote:

Originally posted by Mack Mack wrote:


****In my case it was an Inspector General complaint that I was prejudice against unwed mothers.
Hopefully, your defense wasn't that you can't be predjudice against them, since you were responsible for so many....?


^^^LOL

Actually, the investigating officer told me off the record that I was an old-school style <jerk>* but I was that way to everyone on an equal basis so her complaint was unfounded.  (He also said that, given the nature of the section I was running at the time, any other management style would probably have been less than successful.)

*Actual term not forum appropriate.

Originally posted by tippmannfreak tippmannfreak wrote:

i really don't even know why this hit the news. besides, if she doesn't go i'm sure they can find a male soldier more than capable of fulfilling her duties...(blatant ignorance but i couln't help it)


It hit the news because it is a chance for some bleeding-heart loser who has never dealt with the leadership issues her chain of command handles on a daily basis to bash the evil military.

While they could find someone else to do her duties, how fair is it to expect someone else to do them.  Most deployments are determined on a rotational basis and her inability to go means that someone else will have to be away from their family (possibly again and sooner than they should have been) because she is unable to make her commitments.   Keep in mind that she chose to join the military; she wasn't drafted.  She chose to abide by the UCMJ and applicable Army regulations. She chose to stay in after having a child.*  Now she is learning that choices have consequences and can't handle it.

General related info: 
  • Dual military couples are required to have a family care plan just like single parents.
  • The military used to deny enlistment to single parents;** I do not know if that is still the case.

*Active duty AF mothers are (or at least used to be) offered the opportunity to resign from active duty after the birth of a child.
**Those who became single parents while a member of the armed services were allowed to continue their careers as long as all family care requirements were met.


Edited by Mack - 17 November 2009 at 11:31pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote High Voltage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 November 2009 at 2:25am
TL;DR did the Army tell her to get back in the kitchen?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frozen Balls Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 November 2009 at 3:28am
Originally posted by oldsoldier oldsoldier wrote:

By regulations a single parent MUST have a valid Child Care Plan for the event of deployment. Opening up enlistment to single parents was hailed as a victory for females and created a Equal Opertunity Enviornment as stated by the usual suspects.

Upon her enlistment and at regular intervals single parents must update thier Child Care Plan, and document any changes in status ASAP.

The female single parent had no problem collecting her paycheck, any bonuses, and all benifits provided by the military. It was HER responsibility to keep the Child Care Plan current (part of the Deployment Packet) for all change of station/deployment orders are based on review of all critical personnel issues.

I see this as a UCMJ issue, she defrauded the US Government by signing up for a job she could not do (possibly know at time of enlistment). Minimal action should be a General Discharge, forfieture of all pay and allowances on unit deployment (if she has not seperated by deployment date)and a RE-4 re-enlistment code (can not re-enlist even if personal circumstances change).

Many single parents serve and do so without problem, the system works, if the soldier in question follows regulations. This one individual can not and did not provide the required Child Care Plan, under regulations, so it is on her not the military.

The soon to be pity party will not be told how she did not follow regulations, only how harsh the military is to single parents, which is not the case in 99.9% of single parent servicemembers,


I agree with this.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frozen Balls Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 November 2009 at 3:29am
Originally posted by Ben Grimm Ben Grimm wrote:

Originally posted by oldpbnoob oldpbnoob wrote:

Let's play Devil's Advocate, and say she isn't able to find suitable child care? She signed a contract stating that she had said child care and obviously didn't. Should she be jailed? Discharged? Honorably? Dishonorably? If she is allowed to stay in the Army and reassigned, what sort of precedence does this set? It's not like she signed up during peace time and "oh crap!" we went to war. She signed up during an ongoing war, fully knowing that she would most likely get deployed.
 
That goes both ways.  The Army allowed her to enlist, knowing that she had a child (or might have a child), and put her on the deployment list knowing that she had primary care of a child.  What kind of foolish employer puts themselves in that position?
 
While the soldier may be a fool for signing up for a job she cannot fulfill, the Army is equally a fool for putting people in jobs they cannot fulfill.  The Army should either change their policy on enlisting/assigning/deploying single parents, or provide a means to allow them to serve (childcare in Iraq probably isn't very attractive, but I am trying to think outside the sandbox here).
 
But for now, between the two of them, they have created quite a silly situation.
 


I feel safe stating that I seriously doubt the Army decided - of its own accord - to allow single mothers to go active duty.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AMZ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2009 at 11:26am

The article I read stated she did have a plan for child care during her deployment. Her mother was to watch her child and backed out at the last minute. It also stated that she reached out to other relatives and they could or would not take care of her child. If this is true then it seems to me you can't fault the soldier for missing her deployment. She needs to come up with a new plan as soon as possible so that she can deploy with her unit at a later date.

If she is using this to get out of her deployment then I agree with the above posts and this should be handled under the UCMJ with some level of punishment for her actions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stratoaxe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2009 at 2:34pm
Originally posted by AMZ AMZ wrote:

The article I read stated she did have a plan for child care during her deployment. Her mother was to watch her child and backed out at the last minute. It also stated that she reached out to other relatives and they could or would not take care of her child. If this is true then it seems to me you can't fault the soldier for missing her deployment.

 
How about, um, not making a family whilst you're a soldier??
 
I think this comes down to personal responsibility. As one poster already said, the military paid for her bills, her residence, and her medical care while she was pregnant, but now she opts to not do the job she signed on to do.
 
Do I feel compassion for the mother? Sure I do. But when you sign a contract and join the military, you assume the responsibility of 24-hour on call duty. You could ship out at any time, and she made the choice to have the baby during her employment with the military.
 
I always find these situations ironic. I got in a debate with a lady I work with over this very subject, as this exact same situation was presented with a female friend of hers. She said the military is unfair to its female recruits-I just kind of laughed. My response? Women that choose to serve in the military have twice the responsibility as a man because of the complications a pregnancy can present. Nobody tied her hand to join, and I'm assuming that nobody forced the act the created this child upon her.
 
It's not the military that's attempting to make her child suffer, it's her for bringing a child into the world while complicating her previous responsibilites.
 
That being said, of course the Army should deal with this situation in a manner to benefit the child. But she should certainly face consequences.


Edited by stratoaxe - 19 November 2009 at 2:34pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evil Elvis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2009 at 5:36pm
Ship her and the baby overseas, kid would probably be safer than in some American Cities anyway.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brihard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2009 at 6:20pm
Originally posted by Evil Elvis Evil Elvis wrote:

Ship her and the baby overseas, kid would probably be safer than in some American Cities anyway.

Some of the FOBs have everything else... Might as well build a daycare.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2009 at 9:19pm
Originally posted by AMZ AMZ wrote:

The article I read stated she did have a plan for child care during her deployment. Her mother was to watch her child and backed out at the last minute. It also stated that she reached out to other relatives and they could or would not take care of her child. If this is true then it seems to me you can't fault the soldier for missing her deployment. She needs to come up with a new plan as soon as possible so that she can deploy with her unit at a later date.

If she is using this to get out of her deployment then I agree with the above posts and this should be handled under the UCMJ with some level of punishment for her actions.


In the AF (and I'm assuming the other branches are the same) the family care plans required a primary and both long and short term alternates.  There was also a requirement for making sure it was up to date and no issues (like the one this soldier ran into) had come up.

So yes, you can fault her. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ThatGuitarGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2009 at 11:46pm
Mack, my memory is sketchy, but I also seem to remember some rule about if you become a single parent while under a military contract you have like 30 days or so to sign rights to the child over to someone else, pretty much giving them custody.
That way, if you do get deployed, the child is taken care of, and there's not a last minute scramble to find someone to watch the child while you're away.
I'll have to look over my old contract again and see if that was in there, or if I'm just remembering them touching on that at MEPS.
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