Oakland resident, single-mother, and Army Spec. Alexis Hutchinson is still facing possible time in military prison for trying to find appropriate care for her baby…oh yeah, and she missed her plane to deploy to Afghanistan.
After child-care plans for her son fell through last Fall, Hutchinson didn’t appear for her deployment to Afghanistan in November.
Recently the Army filed 4 separate court martial charges, including missing movement, AWOL, dereliction of duty, and insubordinate conduct.
After being arrested, Hutchinson was separated from her infant son, who was put temporarily into the county foster care in GA. After being permitted leave over the holidays to return to Oakland, Hutchinson is now back at Hunter Army Airfield Georgia with her son Kamani, awaiting her case.
I had read a few reports about the situation and I was surprised by some of the comments, ranging from from the discompassionate & clinical (“rules are rules,” “follow orders,” “she needs to be made an example of,” “take all future benefits away,” “she is a coward,” “she didn’t do her duty, she has to face the consequences,” “she failed her nation when it needed it most”) to the outright racist (no need to repeat here).
I get it-you can’t just have people not following orders and you can’t just not show up for deployment (though I think millions more should). Rules are rules. Yes, they are. That’s all they are.
The thing is, Hutchinson wasn’t and still isn’t a military resister–she apparently has no ethical objections to deploying to Afghanistan nor qualms about following orders of her commanding officers. She in fact submitted a care plan required of all soldiers with dependents. Her mother was designated but after a week with the baby, while simultaneously caring other family members, she decided that she couldn’t handle another.
Okay, Hutchinson didn’t “do her duty”–but she acted on another duty after fearing loss of custody of her child. While fears that she would be deployed regardless have abated, she is facing criminal charges, the harshest of which (missing movement) carries a max 2 years in military prison.
What is served and who does it benefit to further punish Hutchinson? Does further separation of mother and child make sense? Does retribution for a 24 AWOL solve any problem? Can’t the matter be resolved without criminal charges?
Her child-care plans didn’t work out. She didn’t want to risk the consequences that might follow from placing her baby in GA’s foster care system. While being “derelict of duty” she did what many would consider the compassionate, rational, in a word, humane thing to do. The Army should find a way to do like-wise.
Courage to Resist is helping to spread the word about Hutchinson’s case. Visit the website to sign the petition/letter to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillip, Commanding General Charles Campbell of Army FORSCOM, and Pres. Obama, to drop charges against Alexis Hutchinson.