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Old 11-18-2009, 10:06 AM
Franc Tireur Franc Tireur is offline
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Mom chooses son over service

To hear Spc. Alexis Hutchinson tell it, the Army forced her to make an agonizing choice between serving her country and taking care of her son.

The Army, however, takes issue with the soldier's story and Hutchinson could now be facing serious charges for desertion.

When her unit deployed to Afghanistan earlier in November, Hutchinson was missing from the plane. Her lawyer said she refused to go because there was no one to take care of her 10-month-old son, Kamani, and she feared he would be placed in foster care.

The Army said the young mother had plenty of time to sort out family issues and has been confined to her post at Fort Stewart, Georgia, while an investigation unfolds.

Before shipping overseas, every soldier must sign military Form D-A 53-05, which states that failure to maintain a family care plan could result in disciplinary action.

Hutchinson had agreed to such a plan and her mother, Angelique Hughes, took in Kamani in a month before Hutchinson's deployment date.

But after a week with the infant, Hughes, who cares for ailing relatives and runs a day-care out of her home, said she felt so overwhelmed that she backed out.

"It was that hard, because he's a very busy baby," Hughes told CNN affiliate WTOC in Savannah, Georgia. "You have to keep an eye on him 24 hours a day."

Hutchinson's attorney, Rai Sue Sussman, said the soldier informed the Army that her family care plan had fallen through and that there was no one to take care of Kamani.

Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said Hutchinson's unit had known for months about its pending deployment and that it wasn't until the last minute that Hutchinson notified the Army of her child-care woes.

Like all soldiers who face similar circumstances, Hutchinson received a 30-day extension back in August and September, Larson said.

That's "plenty of time," he said, "to work out another care plan."

On the eve of her unit's departure, Hutchinson was ordered to be on the plane

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