The Army is pursuing criminal charges against an Oakland Army mom who refused deployment to Afghanistan last year because she says she had no family able to care for her infant son.
A spokesman for Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah said Wednesday that Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, a 21-year-old Army cook and single mom, has been charged with missing movement, being absent without leave, dereliction of duty and insubordinate conduct.
Hutchinson skipped her deployment flight Nov. 5. She said her mother had agreed to care for her 10-month-old son, Kamani, but was overwhelmed by the task and backed out of the plan.
Hutchinson's attorney says a superior told the soldier her son would have to go into foster care if nobody else could keep him. Army officials granted Hutchinson leave for the holidays and she was allowed to return home to Oakland to spend some time with her mother and son. But now, it looks like she could be separated from her baby because of prison time.
The stiffest penalty -- missing movement -- could mean two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge for the single mom. A dishonorable discharge is lodged by a court martial and is the military equivalent to a civilian felony conviction. It would mean Hutchinson would lose all rights granted to veterans, including medical care for herself and her son.