June 11, 2007, - 10:33 am
Mom in Custody Dispute Allowed to Leave Military
Which comes first: duty to country or maternal obligation?
That was the dilemma that led to a New Hampshire National Guard soldier being declared a deserter when she refused to return to Iraq while in a custody dispute with her ex-husband. After months battling in the courts and with her commanders, Spc. Lisa Hayes has been allowed to leave the military.
Hayes, 32, turned herself in at Fort Dix in New Jersey on Tuesday with her daughter, Brystal Knight, 7, in tow after driving all night from Rindge, N.H. Army lawyers helped her renew a request for an early exit from the Guard because of a hardship, and an honorable discharge was granted within hours, her civilian lawyer, Linda Theroux, disclosed this weekend.
Would a man serving in the military get this kind of special treatment? And even if so, we can’t afford to have so many of these situations in our fighting forces.
There are 342,000 women in the U.S. military, 14% of them on active duty, and 25,000 of them serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. 130,000 of them are mothers of children, and of those 11% are single. This is very bad for those kids, because of stories like the one above and because they could lose their only parent.
Tags: Afghanistan, Brystal Knight, civilian lawyer, Debbie Schlussel, Fort Dix, Iraq, Linda Theroux, Lisa Hayes, N.H. Army, New Hampshire National Guard, New Jersey, U.S. military, United States