Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One of those stories...

... that seems to me, completely incomprehensible. I heard this story on the radio this evening on my way home and I didn't take note of the woman's name, so the story is articulated here more impersonally than may be ideal. In addition, I've really only heard one side of the story, as told by the woman's lawyer to the interviewer. There is, of course, the possibility that there is more to the story that I simply haven't heard.

The subject of this story is a 21-year old cook in the American armed forces. She is also the single mother of a 10-month old son. She received notice that she would be deployed to Afghanistan for a year. Her mother offered to take care of the boy for the period of her deployment so the boy was moved to his grandmother's home in advance of the deployment date in order to give him some time to adjust.

Unfortunately, due to a variety of circumstances in the grandmother's life, she decided that she could not, in fact, care for the boy for the year. The armed forces informed the mother that she could delay her deployment date in order to have additional time to find a care arrangement for her son. When the boy was returned to his mother, a week before the original deployment date, she was informed that there would, in fact, be no extension and that she was to report for deployment as originally scheduled.

With no place to take her son, she missed her deployment flight.

She reported to the base the day after the scheduled deployment to meet with her superiors and explain her circumstances. She was arrested and placed under supervised confinement at the base. Her son was placed in the care of child protective services. Charges have not yet been filed, but there remain a number of possible scenarios, including that she will face a court martial and jail time. Fortunately, her son has been returned to her grandmother and will not remain with protective services.

Telling this story is not intended as a criticism specfically of the American military, as there are certainly other employers out there who do not provide adequate family-related support to their employees. But I have a hard time understanding how it could possibly be excusable to ask anybody, no matter the import of their employment, to abandon their child without other option. How does a decision like that get made? What on earth did they expect her to do with her little boy?!

Has anybody else heard about this story? Have any other information?

1 comment:

Chunklets said...

One can only hope that there will be some understanding shown in this situation! I find it a bit hard to believe that the US Army's forces in Afghanistan were really going to miss one cook that badly.