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Single Parents in the Military

All Posts  February 27 2010
 — By White Rose

Let me start off by saying that I am going to piss some of you off with the opinion you are about to read! But I am SICK and TIRED of people NOT understanding what the word “MILITARY” means.

An article from the Washington Post titled “For soldiers, single motherhood becomes another battlefield” brings up the question of single parents in the military. Now I understand that there are many people that want to serve their country, but not all should. Heck, I tried at the age of 42 but my body did not cooperate and I chose to come home. I felt, even though the Army was willing to do what it took to help me over come the problems in my lower back and hips, that it was better for my fellow soldiers for me to stay home and give them all the support I can, than to be the weak link. And that is what I felt I would be. If you can not perform the duties required to the fullest, whether physically or mentally, then you are just putting the people around you at risk.

I don’t care if you are single, married, a single parent, or a married parent, when you sign on the line to join the Military, you should know that one day you could be sent into battle and have to leave your children behind. If you have children, then you need to weight the responsibilities as a parent against those of being in the military. What is best for you and what you feel you and your family can deal with may not be what is best for your career in the military. I am NOT saying that all military personnel should be single, many make it work. Yes, it is hard on the whole family, I don’t deny that, BUT, what do you think the military is and does?

I get so tired of people that say they joined the military to get out of this or that, or to get a “free” education. It isn’t free! That “free” education or “free” ticket out of the situation you are in could be paid for with your life. To me that is very expensive! If you are not willing to lay your life down for this Country, DO NOT JOIN THE MILITARY! It is that plain and simple.

Yes, the military still has many things that it needs to work out where women are concerned, health care and women in a combat MOS are just two. But as the article, “G.I. Jane Breaks the Combat Barrier” that they reference from “The New Your Times”, many women are honorably proving that they can handle “the shit” just as well as many men that they stand beside in battle. So how can it be any different for a single mother in the military then a single father? Just a few years ago a friend of mine that was in the Navy, retired because he and his wife divorced,  and he got custody of their children. Feeling that it was better for him and his boys, he gave up a military career that he dearly loved. I respect his decision, I am saddened by it, but respect it. He was, and still is to me, a great Sailor! And look at CJ and the battles he has gone through over the last year. He is still in the Army AND doing his duty as a parent. Yes, it has cost him greatly, but apparently he was willing to make that sacrifice for the things he believes in, the Army and being a Dad.

Many years ago during WWII, my grandmother was in the Army. First she was a flight instructor and then a darkroom tech. When she became pregnant with my mom, she was released from the Army with a dishonorable discharge.There was no debate about it and she had no choice. Today, women can stay in the military when they become pregnant whether they are married or not. That is a great thing! We have come a long way in the last 60 to 70 years. But to sit there and refuse to deploy when you have known for months that it is going to happen is inexcusable.  I understand in the case of Spec. Alexis Hutchinson that her mother was supposed to take care of her son, but she was offered other help and refused it.

Now granted I don’t know all the regulations and maybe CJ and Marcus can help me with this, but can’t a person get out of the military siting hardship, without getting a “other-than-honorable” discharge? According to the story, Hutchinson choose the”other-than-honorable” discharge because she could get on with her life and would not have to face court-martial or possible jail time. In a way, I can understand that decision and sympathize with her. But I have many questions that these articles do not answer. Did she exhaust every means possible to delay her deployment and find other arrangements? Is there not any other family? And what about the offer of help that she did get and refused? Why did she refuse it? What were the conditions of it? There are a lot of unanswered questions. I believe that MSM has yet again taken a story and reported only half of it to, once again, make the military out to be a bunch of cold-hearted bastards!

(14) Readers Comments

  1. Well said! ALL of it…

    Thank YOU.

  2. I agree with you. She should have been given a dishonorable discharge and thrown in prison with all of the other deserters.

    She used the Army’s PR campaign against it. That’s how she got out. She knew the Army, once this went public, would never prosecute her, because of all of the negative publicity. She abused the system.

    Other than honorable discharge… yeah, right. Like that means anything these days. She loses some benefits. She doesn’t get the GI Bill and VA healthcare. Yay! We save some more money we’d have to spend on the lowlife scum.

    • And on a more personal note, haven’t these people ever heard of a condom? I’m not going to preach sexual freedom, but you’re in the Army, for cryin out loud, where the only parent is the serviceperson. How dumb is that?

  3. As someone who oversaw the deployment process and was deployed with, and served under single mothers, I think this article missed a critical point. There are a lot of dishonorable people in the military. I know plenty of people, both male and female, who did multiple deployments without problems. On the other hand there were many of both sexes, single and married who were disgraces in uniform. So I may piss off others when I say this, but the holier than thou attitude of the writer of this misses that it was the military who let that person in and over saw all of this problematic behavior. It is a volunteer force but it is also an exclusive service. If you don’t meet the requirements you don’t get in. Many, many people slip through medical assessment at MEPS, make it through basic and are the weak link in the unit spending their time on profile not doing their duty. Was it their fault? Yes. Was it also the in processing and training personnel’s fault for allowing them to process into the military? There is also the question of where those person’s supervisors were in the whole process? Did they slip through and remain in a career they would need to be counted on for? Was it because the supervisors neglected their duty and went soft cause they felt bad due to the situation of the said person? There is more than enough blame to go around. So telling the weak links to suck it up wont solve the problem. Strengthening the process and reevaluating the entry requirements will help. I do agree that people need to have integrity and honor in their promise of service to their country but we are doing the country and the military a discredit by allowing weak people in just because they have a sad story or are a nice person.

    • This woman wasn’t a single mom when she enlisted. She got pregnant while on active duty, and while not married. The problem she found herself in was of her own creation. The Army isn’t responsible for her getting pregnant: she and the man she had unprotected sex with are solely responsible. I’ve no problem with her being discharged under “other than honorable”.

  4. Any branch of the military requires a commitment – - an honorable commitment. Sad that some use the military as nothing more than a job base are neither honorable nor committed.

    Wally World and Mickey Ds are job bases, plain and simple. No commitment is required.

    • The bad thing is, they’re not even hiring. its that bad out here. I know, I went there.

  5. im in the military, and also a single parent. i love being in the uniform everyday and doing my job. i think the write of the article and especially the individual who wrote the first comment are very narrow minded. i have just recently changed my mind to stay in, there are plenty of resources out there that will care for your children. despite that i wear the uniform everyday, running around in the desert with all your stuff on is most definitely not a reason that i joined! the military used to be fun, but that all changed with 9/11 and now the economy. there are so many rules and politics it’d make you sick! but i still have to care for my children

    • What are the plenty of resources out there that will care for your family while on deployment, as you suggest in your comment?
      Do not include family members, because there are none in this particular instance..

      thanks.

    • Hey, thanks for joining my military because it was “fun”. Sorry you can’t lay around anymore, leave early and be a lazy douche. Now is a good time for you to leave.

  6. I myself know someone in the army who is a single father of a 12 year old girl. He “claims” that he does what he does in the military for HER…but he really seems to be enjoying the extra income he receives from having a dependent. They live off base. He rarely spends time with her (unless it is to do laundry), he leaves her in the house a lot by herself, lets the internet, TV, other children in society negatively influence her. Buys her expensive cell phones where she texts 15 year old boys and exchanges pictures of private body parts. Then says that he really can’t stress over it because she is going to do it behind his back anyway. I have suggested the big brother/big sister program, the Boys and Girls Club, positive after school programs (writing, poetry, sports, etc) YET,for some reason he refuses to put her in anything positive while he is not with her. He would rather leave her by herself instead of giving her positive options/influences to keep her busy. It seems like he wants to keep her secluded from other people (positive people). What really concerns me is that he said she wrote some things that indicate she is really depressed. I suggested that he take her for some professional help before in worsens and before he gets deployed again..BUT he does not listen to me. As a mother, I am very concerned for this child. SHe is falling by the wayside and her father is just throwing his hands up, turning his back, and letting her do what she wants while he concentrates on his position in the army.

  7. Obviously many of you have never served. I am a single parent who got divorced while in uniform. My ex wife was physically and mentally abusive to me and my daughter and wasn’t fit to be a parent. I have been in the military for 12 years. My daughter is my world and I am with her as often as I can. If I have to go to the field I go to the field if I have to deploy then I deploy but honestly if you think that the extra money is a motivator then you are crazy what an extra 200 a month is going to help pay the 1000 a month extra spent between day care, clothes, school lunchs. I think that most of you forget that there are good single male parents out there who take an active role in their kids lives.

    Oh and all of you that want to jump on the band wagon of bashing SPC Hutchinson maybe if you knew the situation then you would not judge her so harshly. She had a care provider it fell through shortly before she deployed and she went to her command and asked for more time to find someone to watch her child while she was deployed. They refused to give her even an extra month to find someone and told her to just put her child into foster care while she is gone. How many of you would trust your child going into foster care without getting to know the person who was going to be providing the care?

  8. Hello,
    I’m active duty Marine Corps, mother of 2, and married. It’s hard to be have a family in the military and I know that I made a commitment to the corps and country. Both me and my husband deployed to Iraq ad been station in 3 different bases. Training and duty keeps us away from our kids. But we make the sacrifice to our country and sadly to say, our kids make that sacrifice too. My son is autistic. I wake him up at 4am for meds and can only take him to day care at 7. PT is at 6am and I can’t make it. I get shit for it but there’s nothing I can do. Sometimes family needs to come first. My kids have appointments all the time and I miss work. But I can’t do anything about that. Family is always come first but I will never forget my commitment to the Corps.

  9. For everyone who keep saying they should use condoms do u forget condims r onky 99% effective?
    As a military member and mother there isnt anythung wrong with being both as long as
    U know the pros and cons about being both and planning ahead for things
    Now should u desert because theres a problem at home no but there r proper
    Avenues for getting things handled

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