Single mom discharged for not giving up child

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Just_A_Mom, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/24/us/us-air-force-mom/index.html

    What?????? What is wrong with the Air Force?
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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  3. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    A lot of things to be discussed with this article.
    1) Single parenthood and enlisting. This young lady demonstrated one way of becoming a single parent. Divorce and death of spouse also come to mind here. We could even go as far as to say gay parent in a state that allows marriage that the DoD doesn't yet recognize.
    2) It was mentioned that she committed a fraud on her contract by not reporting, hence the payback of the scholarship, but if she had learned of her pregnancy the day after commissioning and been kicked out as an officer, the fact that she could not serve her required time would have still left her on the hook for the $92K. Let's say she married and kept the kid, but her husband died shortly thereafter (before her owed time was up). Is she still on the hook for $92K because her husband dies?
    3) Conveniently her congressman may be VP in a short period of time. It seems strange that suddenly this gets a review at the highest levels. I wonder if the election result may have a bearing on how this review goes? Sorry if it seems I am casting aspersions here, but the timing does seem suspicious.

    I think most people will think that this is a policy that needs a bit more attention. The difference between this lady and a dual officer household with kids that has a death or divorce is what? And that dual officer household is somehow better able to balance the needs of the job and family because of a marriage certificate?
     
  4. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Maybe I'm cold and heartless, but...

    There's a couple things going on here.

    For Academy MIDN/cadets, you are not allowed to be responsible for a child. Period. Done. End of story. It sounds like ROTC has something similar. I'm sure she was aware of this. Obviously, as in this case, things happen, but the consequences were made presumably made very clear before she got pregnant.

    Also, bad news never gets better with time. If she had been open and honest about her situation from the beginning, maybe something could have been worked out that would be more favorable for everyone involved. But she waited for months, even after commissioning. She basically admitted that she intended to deceive the Air Force and commission when she knew she was ineligible. She may as well have had a DUI and decided not to tell her unit about it because she wanted to commission on time. Cue parent telling me I'm an awful person for comparing a possible future human life to a DUI.

    For your second point, I was wondering about this myself a little and curious if there were other options for single parents in the military aside from a hardship discharge. As it turns out, there are, and you can read about them here:
    http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/genfamily/a/familycare.htm

    There's plenty of valid reasons for not wanting single parents in the military. At least for military members who become single parents while in, they've proven themselves to be relatively useful. For civilian single parents trying to get in, the risk-to-reward ratio just isn't good enough for the military to spend its time/money on them.
     
  5. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    It's a not a jobs program. It's the military. It is an organization with a mission and a purpose, neither of which is "provide employment and benefits to any and all people." Believe it or not, not this isn't tee-ball. Not everyone gets a chance to play.

    She lied to the USAF. She breached her contract.

    What are your questions?



    PS - Hurricane12 was spot-on.
     
  6. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    It's hard to imagine that this articulate and obviously intelligent young woman, who was 13 weeks pregnant at the time of commissioning, would have been oblivious to her contract obligation to report her pregnancy. This was a major event in her life.

    She was commissioned in the spring of 2011, yet the story appeared on national television only in the last few days. Possibly it's taken that long to go through an Air Force appeals process and only now can she go public. However, her attorney has brought up the subject of abortion (as an implied third choice after marriage or adoption) which makes me wonder how much of this is about politics.
     
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Answers to 1 - 2 are Family Care Plan. Army allows single parents or single soldiers with dependents to serve. They are required to have a family care plan (i.e. if I deploy another person is going to take care of my dependents).

    This young lady's case is about accession requirement/standard. My personal opinion is that she limited her chain of command's option by notifying her situation. Not familiar with the ROTC program, but I am thinking possible leave of absences or delay commissioning could have been an option. The article wasn't clear but it sounded like she reported her condition after she got her commission.
     
  8. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Don't think you are heartless at all. In fact, I agree with what you say.

    Having read the responses to my post, I think people misunderstand the purpose of the post. I didn't say she was treated unfairly, but that these situations need discussion. I suspect many of us here who are not ex-military ourselves (including the cadets who frequent this forum) need to understand the nuances of what works in the military and what does not work in the military with regards to "family situations".

    Thanks for putting up the link with a fairly easy to understand explanation of how most family situations work. Hopefully a few cadet types will read and get a picture of how it works for future (key word here) life events.

    By all means any military family needs to have thoroughly thought through the additional responsibilities military families have beyond what civilian families face when starting a family. Add in PCSs both of yourselves and your local support alternatives and one can see a continuous effort to make sure you have your house in order.

    As to the young lady at the center of this, given my 3rd point, you might tell that I am not particularly sympathetic to her effort.

    What surprises me like it does you that she hid the information from her cadre. My guess is that if she tells cadre of her condition up front, that if she were in good standing otherwise, they would just delay her commissioning until after birth and disposition of the child. And if she would have then found a situation for the child acceptable to the military, she would have been good to go.

    Now as to the disposition of the child, I'm also surprised that knowing her choices and having reasonable support from her family (very necessary for a single mother) she didn't choose to make an in-family adoption (by grandparents). Perhaps grandparents were not in a situation to take on the responsibility or perhaps her dis-enrollment (for hiding the pregnancy) was already a done-deal before birth making the adoption pointless.

    As to the alleged counseling she got (there are always 2 sides to a story), I'm surprised to hear that the young lady didn't seek other help within her battalion or at least seek out a military chaplain to give her guidance given her religious beliefs.

    Bottom line is that this sounds a lot like she is fighting outside the normal channels (contacting Rep Ryan) now that she realizes she owes $92K because she made a series of bad decisions once she found herself pregnant.
     
  9. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    It's a culture of entitlement. At the MEDCEN I am at I see it all the time. With deductibles, a normal civilian ER visit can cost someone with decent insurance $1000 with basic lab draws and a PA/NP/doc assessment. On top of that, procedures and prescriptions that aren't covered under insurance can be insanely inflated. Under the essentially free Tricare system I almost want to slap dependents and service members alike when they complain about the ER/pharmacy wait times. Hell they even complain about the walk to the pharmacy.

    All entitlement which is similar to this former 2nd LT who just happened to not inform her command before her bars were pinned on. Breach of contract= buh-bye
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  10. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Aww you mean they don't have the standard minimum of an at bat and 3 innings of play :rolleyes: :shake:
     
  11. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    If my comment offends anyone I apolgize in advance.

    The bad decision she made was to have sex without birth control. Our actions have consequnces - good or bad - sex without birth control can result in conception.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/24/us/us-air-force-mom/index.html

    I know for our DS this is true regarding the files, because he signed his contract over and over again. She would have signed it when she contracted the scholarship, she signed it again after SFT to become a POC, she signed it again when she accepted her AFSC. All of those occurred way before she got pregnant. She would have an exit exam, and as a woman they ask if you are a pregnant.

    The idea that she was shocked is BS. She hid it intentionally, and the only reason to do so IMPO is because you already know the results for you won't be positive, She placed her needs/desires above the AF's.

    IMPO, I think she got off lucky. There is a poster here who's DS has to pay 4K a month (143K NROTC scholarship) for him being dis-enrolled 6 weeks prior to commissioning. Reason why? He was 8 lbs over max weight. He didn't hide anything like her, if he was given 6 weeks he could have lost those 8 lbs. Yet, he got hit 40X harder a month than her.

    I am not saying that MIDN doesn't hold responsibility for his actions because just like her they all know after 4 yrs in the system what is allowed and what isn't. I am saying before she complains about 1200 a yr, be thankful that it was only 1200 a yr and not 48K.

    OBTW, I do believe there is another parent's DD on this site faced the same situation, but they did the right thing, and told the det. They put her on medical leave, created a family plan where her parents and fiance were going to be legally responsible for the child upon the birth of the child. Last I heard, she gave birth to a baby girl and was commissioned into the AF last yr.

    There is also another AFROTC poster that had a baby prior to joining when they were soph in college. She had the child over the summer of her rising soph yr. She was allowed to join, and not only that because she was not past the 6 week recovery period she was excused from PT. The deal was she was not the legal guardian of the child, her folks were. The child lived with her, but medically, the parents were covering the bills. Additionally, she was required to submit a plan for childcare during SFT since it is a month long TDY over the summer. I believe she commissions this spring.

    I know that sounds like it is two different results for the same thing, but it isn't because one was upfront and ready to receive the bad news, the other hid it for 6 months. I am going to assume she had her prenatal care done off base privately for those 6 months. That also becomes an issue since as a military member you are to see only military docs., thus why they pound into cadets craniums that if there is any medical change in your status you must inform them.

    The fact is there is nothing wrong with the AF, it was her lack of honesty as an officer that got her in trouble. This site had 2 cases alone in the past 18 months, the same time she was pregnant, both were AFROTC and in the program, both did not get booted. I will make a caveat, I believe neither were scholarship recipients, but they were contracted.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
  13. icarus

    icarus Member

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    What are the repercussions if this happened to a male officer to be?
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Death.... or at least, likely no coverage on CNN.

    By the way, this has happened to males, not recently to my knowledge though (and that knowledge is very limited, mostly because I don't care).
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    This goes back to the basic concept of "RULES". If you want to play soccer, there are rules. Can't touch ball with hands, can't purposely trip someone, etc... You might think some rules are stupid. Might think there's no reason for them. That doesn't matter. If you want to play the game, then you follow the rules. If you don't want to follow the rules, then don't play the game.

    Our lives are full of rules and "Laws". Some we like and agree with; some we don't. But it "DOESN'T MATTER". If you want to play the game, you follow the rules. If you want a driver's license and to drive, then follow the rules or you won't be able to keep driving. Doesn't matter what the "Game" is. You, the individual, have choices.

    Do I have "some" sympathy for this young lady? Sure I do. I'm not heartless. But she knew what the rules were. I don't buy for a second that she didn't. She made the choice. And ignorance is not a defense. Now, she thinks she should be treated special and not have to abide by the same rules. But what's worse, is she LIED. So I don't even want to hear about that crap.
     
  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Yes, but she's a woman and as JAM will tell you, the military is actually a giant, nefarious organization bent on the subjugation of women, and this is merely more evidence....:rolleyes:
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I know 2 AF officers that were AFA cadets. They commissioned because they followed the regs, they had no dependents. She went off and had the child, in one case it was twins.

    They both got married at the AFA chapel the day after they commissioned to the mother's of their children...both are still married to this day.

    It does happen that male cadets/mids have children while they are in the program, it comes down to the word "dependent".

    I wonder what her father would have done if this occurred under his own command. He is/was an O6 in the Navy. Would he have the same opinion if it was an officer reporting to him directly?

    To me this was the grasping at straw defense regarding her defense in the article.
    How is DADT and her case equivalent? This isn't about barriers, it is about her disobeying the regs by not informing the AF for 6 months that her medical condition has changed.

    It isn't about being a single parent. The Strike Eagle community has 2 ADAF officers (wives) that are single parents because their DH's died in combat in the last 2-3 yrs. They didn't kick them out. They instead said you need a family plan when it comes to deployments.

    As I illustrated earlier, 2 posters did commission through ROTC. They were not considered a single parent because their parents/fiance took legal guardianship. The leap that they are forcing marriage or adoption is wrong. They are stating that these are some options, if your folks or your boyfriend can take guardianship for now so you don't have a dependent, you will be placed on medical recheck status. Obviously, on a small site like this, it is not anecdotal, it is fact when this is exactly what they went through.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
  18. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    Exactly. There is a section in the contract she signed that said that cadets are not allowed to have dependents. Yes, the contract is kind of long and you end up skipping reading several sections, but one of the things the cadre made us read carefully and stressed the importance of besides payback, requirements, etc. was the dependency rule. You can marry, we have several married cadets, but if you are married you can not have a dependent, male or female...at least until after you commission. There was also a mandatory counselling session after we submitted our form 48's in which we were reminded that having a dependent would be a problem and assume that this, among other things, will be reiterated every time we go into counseling after resubmitting it every semester.

    This is an unfortunate situation. But not only did she enter a situation in which she knew would cause a breech of contract, she lied about it and ended up commissioning on a lie. Lets ignore the fact that she would have been warned, as we were, that proclaimed ignorance of ROTC and AF rules of does not excuse or negate the consequences of breaking said rules, and say that somehow she actually did go roughly 3 1/2 years without knowing this. She still "found out" about the rule with enough time before her commissioning to work out a plan that would allow her to continue on in her plan to become an officer. Had she disclosed her pregnancy sooner she would have been able to work with the AF to sort this out and may have been able to hand legal guardianship over to her parents who stated in the article that they are well equipped to care for their grandson.
     
  19. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Sex with birth control sometimes results in conception as well.

    She lied. End of story.
     
  20. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Well since men can't have children then there will never be a situation exactly like this for men. I know it's a simple knee jerk reaction to try and turn the table and ask what would they do if it were a man.

    Well I can't speak for the Air Force but in the Army your not allowed to be a single parent, man or woman, prior to enlistment or contract. You are required to give up custody.

    Not sure why all the questions on what would happen if it were a man. If a a male cadet got a woman pregnant, had the baby, dropped it on the male cadet's doorstep, then ran away, the cadet would then have a problem if he did the same thing this woman did, lie to the AF.

    It's not the pregnancy that's the issue, it's the lie, and those have repercussions for both male and female cadets equally.
     

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