Single mom sent to war?
November 16, 2006 5:39 PM   Subscribe

A female aquaintance of mine who is in the national guard expressed how she might soon be called to duty in Iraq/Afghanistan, however she isn't exactly willing. She claims that she will be exempt from active duty because she is a single mother (recently divorced). I wonder how accurate she is considering that she doesn't really raise any of her children full time. What do you think?
posted by protocool to Human Relations (10 answers total)
This suggests she's wrong -- especially the quote from the Army about "single parents are treated no differently".
posted by katemonster at 6:34 PM on November 16, 2006

i think there's quite a few single parents who've had to do tours of duty in iraq/afghanistan ... it seems that the national guard's argument will be that the other parent can raise the kid while she's gone
posted by pyramid termite at 7:04 PM on November 16, 2006

As a former servicemember I can say that yeah, I don't feel much sympathy if you've committed to serve and I seriously doubt that a parent status would make any difference. Katemonster's example is a little extreme... that's the Army's Individual Ready Reserve and in that case they were calling someone back to service after 20 years (more info). I think that is pretty ludicrous.
posted by zek at 7:04 PM on November 16, 2006

A friend of mine recently had to swear she'd take care of a friend's children if they were both called (both parents are military), so in that case at least, they weren't concerned about leaving a kid even one parent at home. Yikes.
posted by GaelFC at 7:24 PM on November 16, 2006

Military members who are married to other military members - and single military parents that have children - are *required* to have a "Dependent Care Plan" for exactly this kind of situation. The written plan has to be reasonable and "ready to go" with little notice. For instance, if Sgt John Doe and his wife Sgt Jane Doe have two children, they are required to have a written plan to describe exactly how, who, where, etc, if they both get deployed. The plan has to state (for instance) that Sgt John Doe's mother will fly in and take care of the children until the parents return, and a corresponding power of attorney (medical, legal, etc) must accompany the plan.
posted by davidmsc at 7:24 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

Plenty of our local guard soldiers' kids were farmed out to grandparents, aunts and uncles, what-have-you, when the unit was deployed to Iraq. We saw single parents and Mom & Pop couples all head out together. If she's deployed to Iraq, that's pretty much that.

If her reservations about deployment to Iraq are on moral grounds of the 'illegal order' sort, she can take her chances at either a quick less-than-honorable discharge or some jail time then the undesirable discharge.

If she's just overwhelmed, she'll just have to deal with it. That's what soldiers do.

It's no shame to hesitate when called, nor to properly refuse; it is a shame to chicken out.
posted by taosbat at 7:38 PM on November 16, 2006

Just to add more evidence of 'wow, she's a little dumb to think that', a family i take pictures of are getting grandma settled in right now because mom is off to afghanistan and dad is off to iraq within a week of each other.
posted by nadawi at 7:45 PM on November 16, 2006

As a former service member, I can wholly endorse what davidmsc said above. Totally accurate.
posted by CRM114 at 7:48 PM on November 16, 2006

I third the Family Care Plan. As a former army company commander, I was required to keep these plans on file and up to date for all single and dual-military parents. As soon as you find out a soldier is pregnant, you have to counsel them on deployment requirements, and how they need to have a plan for their children. If they can't come up with a plan, and are therefore non-deployable, you are forced to chapter them out of the military for lack of a family care plan. I had to do this twice.

The decision she has to make is whether she wants to stay in the army or not. If not, she can probably get out based on the family care plan. However, she could be required to repay any bonuses, or be reassigned to a non-deploying unit. If she wants to stay in, she needs to come up with a plan and get ready to not see her child for a year plus.

It sucks all around, but it's the way it is.
posted by spslsausse at 10:57 AM on November 17, 2006

UPDATE: article on MSNBC today about single mothers who are deployed.
posted by davidmsc at 3:35 AM on November 24, 2006

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