Predicament of the Army Mom


Here we have a grave situation. We have family responsibilities resting on the one hand while civil commitments lie squarely on the other. Usually both tend to balance each other in the proper manner and all works out well, however in the following case that scenario did not occur.   Lisa Pagan who was recalled recently to active duty will now receive a discharge from the service according to the latest news articles. It appears that this North Carolina mother reported for her Army duty with her 4 year old and 3 year old child under her arms. She had appealed this issue several times in the past and each time she has lost the argument. Her previous excuse was centered on the concept that since her husband travels in his job she has no one else to take care of the children. This at first appears to be a very weak excuse.  

I spent 21 years in the military and one of the things that they tell you are to make alternate plans in the event that you have to deploy or be called to duty at inopportune times. We are currently residing in an age of equal opportunities and rights and as such I would like to toss the question out as to whether she would get away with this if she were a man. The answer is a simple “No, a male enlisted member of the military would certainly never get away with using this type of argument.” I have never in 21 years of active duty witness a single male military member discharged from service due to a situation such as this. There were several cases in point where the member would send his children to another location to be tended to by a family member but never discharged.  

This is one of the reasons that women’s rights in the military will be reduced due to people like Mrs. Pagan. The powers to be will simply say that women should not be in our military services at all or at least not in critical fields where your presence is a vital concern.   Don’t misunderstand me I feel for this lady however a military commitment is just that a commitment and it should be fulfilled. There really should be no exceptions here. I have seen situations where there was a married couple with children and the military would send only one spouse at a time. In this way there was always someone at home to tend to the children. It is totally possible that this woman will not receive an honorable discharge in fact she may even be issued a general discharge. In view of the facts above she certainly does not deserve any future benefits that a dedicated solider would receive. This particularly should apply to any sort of educational benefits.  

Now let’s look at this situation from another view point and perspective. To be completely honest here we have to let it be known that there is another important fact associated with this dilemma. If this lady had already served her initial time required for active duty and has merely been recalled from the inactive reserves then we can readily stand corrected in our assumptions. This is assuming that she has already served her 4 year contract of active duty. In that case she is being recalled from her inactive reserve status and although she is legally required to keep herself in a physical ready status as well as to maintain her uniforms in its ready condition she is usually considered the same as a civilian. She is certainly not paid for the time she sits at home and she can not let life pass her by as she waits to see if Uncle Sam calls her up again. In fact, unless a person was in a very critical field they usually never get called up again while in the inactive reserve.  

There are several basic problems in issues such as this that this woman will encounter as time passes. She will quickly realize that there are now problems and difficulties arising as she applies for any VA benefits. Her current DD214 will reflect an RE3/RE4 reenlistment code. What this means is her previous code of RE1 becomes an RE4 and she relinquishes all her benefits. The military maintains your latest DD214 in your records. This is the one that determines what benefits you actually receive in the future. She is certain to encounter some major issues when applying for VA benefits such as VA Loans or College assistance.   It would behoove this young lady to obtain a very competent attorney to resolve and protect her interests in the future. She should not be content to merely get out of her active duty commitment but must set her sights future down the road.  

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish