Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Should this mom be forced into active duty? Should single parents be deployed?

Mom: Deployment leaves no one to care for kids

 

DAVIDSON, N.C. – When Lisa Pagan reports for duty Sunday, four long years after she was honorably discharged from the Army, she'll arrive with more than her old uniform. She's bringing her kids, too.

"I have to bring them with me," she said. "I don't have a choice."

Pagan is among thousands of former service members who have left active duty since the Sept. 11 attacks, only to later receive orders to return to service. They're not in training, they're not getting a Defense Department salary, but as long as they have time left on their original enlistment contracts, they're on "individual ready reserve" status — eligible to be recalled at any time.

Soldiers can appeal, and some have won permission to remain in civilian life. Pagan filed several appeals, arguing that because her husband travels for business, no one else can take care of her kids. All were rejected, leaving Pagan with what she says is a choice between deploying to Iraq and abandoning her family, or refusing her orders and potentially facing charges.

Then she hit on the idea of showing up Sunday at Fort Benning, Ga., with her children in tow.

"I guess they'll have to contact the highest person at the base, and they'll have to decide from there what to do," Pagan said. "I either report and bring the children with me or don't report and face dishonorable discharge and possibly being arrested. I guess I'll just have to make my case while I'm there."

Master Sgt. Keith O'Donnell, an Army spokesman in St. Louis, said the commander at Fort Benning will decide how to handle the situation.

"The Army tries to look at the whole picture and they definitely don't want to do anything that jeopardizes the family or jeopardizes the children," O'Donnell said. "At the same time, these are individuals who made obligations and commitments to the country."

Of the 25,000 individual ready reserve troops recalled since September 2001, more than 7,500 have been granted deferments or exemptions, O'Donnell said. About 1,000 have failed to report. O'Donnell most of those cases are still under investigation, while 360 soldiers have been separated from the Army either through "other than honorable" discharges or general discharges.

He said Pagan isn't likely to face charges, since none of the individual ready reserve soldiers who have failed to report faced a court-martial.

Pagan, who grew up near Camden, N.J., was working in a department store when she made her commitment in September 2002. She learned how to drive a truck, and met Travis while stationed in Hawaii. She had her first child while in uniform, and they left the service in 2005 when their enlistments were up.

She always knew there was a chance she could be recalled, so she buried the thought in the back of her mind.

"When I enlisted, they said almost nobody gets called back when you're in the IRR," she said.

The young family settled outside of Charlotte in the college town of Davidson, where Travis landed a job as a salesman. It required lots of travel, but that was OK — Pagan enjoyed her life as a stay-at-home mom to their son Eric and a daughter named Elizabeth.

She opened a child-care center in her home, and started taking classes at nearby Fayetteville State.

The orders to return to active duty arrived in December 2007. She told the Army there was no one to take care of her children: Her husband spent most of his time on the road, and they believe quitting his job is a sure path to bankruptcy and foreclosure. Her parents live in New Jersey and her husband's parents live in Texas. Neither are able to help out. The Army wasn't persuaded.

Pagan hired attorney Mark Waple, who filed another appeal, which included a letter from Travis Pagan's employer that said bluntly: "In order for Travis to remain an employee, he will be required to travel." In December 2008, her appeal was again rejected.

"It's the obligation of commanders to make certain that service members have a valid family care plan and that clearly has not happened in Lisa's case," Waple said.

Tom Tarantino, a policy associate with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a nonprofit group that helps veterans, said the Army has taken a hard line on many of these cases.

"Usually the only way that someone can get out of the deployment or get out of the military due to a family hardship is if they get into a situation where the kids will be put into foster care," Tarantino said.

"That's how serious it has to be, and I'm sure what the military is telling her — and I'm not saying that this is exactly the right answer — but the fact that it is inconvenient for her husband's job is not the military's problem. It's very harsh."

by on Mar. 2, 2009 at 1:24 AM
Replies (41-50):
Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Mar. 3, 2009 at 2:46 PM

It's called a contract.  She signed it.  And at the bottom it CLEARLY states that you can be recalled while on IRR up to "X #" of years (depending on how long of a contract you signed).  My husband has been in five years and if he was to get out tomorrow they can still call him back at any time for the next three years.  It's how it works.  She knew that when she signed on the dotted line.

So yes.  She should deploy.  Single parents do it every day and she has a husband that can take care of the kids.  I know plenty of women that leave their kids with their parents, their uncles or aunts, their best friends.... etc. when they deploy.  Why is she so special?  She's not.  Honor your contract and suck it up.


   Wife of a Marine - Mommy to a Little Prince
            
& Expecting a Princess in May!                

Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Mar. 3, 2009 at 2:48 PM


Quoting dr_m:

I dont think a single parent should be forced to deploy, or, if the spouse is deployed at the same time..   

anyone see Saving Private Ryan ?   they didn't want the surviving son deployed...  imagine a child with no dad, losing his or her mommy ???

 

 

Saving Private Ryan was because back then they wanted a male to carry on the family name.  The other brothers had died so they sent for him to come home.  Different story. 

Most of the time now days spouses are not deployed at the same time.  But if you both want to serve than you understand the risk and the chance of deploying so they can't complain.  It's all there in the contract.


   Wife of a Marine - Mommy to a Little Prince
            
& Expecting a Princess in May!                

Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Mar. 3, 2009 at 2:56 PM

So I see she whined and got her way.  This is why women have a bad name in the military.  If you can't follow the rules and take the heat then don't enlist in the first place. 

She annoys me.

eye rolling


   Wife of a Marine - Mommy to a Little Prince
            
& Expecting a Princess in May!                

rnjMOM
by Rachel on Mar. 3, 2009 at 3:18 PM


Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

So I see she whined and got her way.  This is why women have a bad name in the military.  If you can't follow the rules and take the heat then don't enlist in the first place. 

She annoys me.

eye rolling

I agree with you completely. Women do have a bad name in the military in some instances and she has not helped the issue. How do I know? I live it everyday.

rella8672
by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 9:06 PM


Quoting misskimmy62:

 

Quoting anxiousschk:

I agree.

Quoting rella8672:


Quoting misskimmy62:

It's done - she does not have to go.


I saw this last night.I told my husband the next time he gets deployed,he is going to take the kids with him when he reports in ,too.She should be ashamed of herself.She makes a bad name for women in the military.

 

Well, there were a few others way before her that did a much better job of making military women look bad. Let's not put all that blame on her.

Did I say she was the only one to blame?No,I did not.But most others don't do it out there in front of the media and world to see.She did.


hsteele
by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 11:17 PM

I find this totally wrong. Active Duty people call it obliserving. Its totally BS. When I read the title I thought, well if you sign up then you don't have a choice, assuming it was reserves or something, but these people got of the military to be with their families, because they understood that they could not devote their time to the military and to their families. I could not imagine having to spend as much time away from my family as my husband has to. Its hard on him, and I imagine its worse for mothers. I cannot imagine what this would do to morale.

mommy2isabella
by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 11:38 PM

She should have read her contract better when she signed it. She made a obligation to our country and to the army. I'm sorry that her husband has to travel but i'm sure someone could make arrangements to take care of the children. Women and men should be equal in the military and elsewhere. If women in the military want to be taken seriously. If a man said he couldn't report because his wife traveled, he would go anyway!!! 

in lovetoddler girlbaby boyHappily married to Erik 04.12 and proud mommy to Isabella Grace 11.01.06 and Camden Bjorn 09.18.08




 




 

Macysheryl
by New Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 11:45 PM

She went i to the military fully aware of the chance she'd be deployed. You have to sign a paper verifying that you understand. My daughter is in the Marines & was deployed to Saudi Arabia when her son was 6 weeks old, I kept him for 18 months until her & her hubby both returned from overseas duty.

Macysheryl

AutieMomof3
by on Mar. 4, 2009 at 7:56 AM

she was honorably discharged 4 years ago. i don't see how the military can make her come back into active duty.

Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Mar. 4, 2009 at 2:05 PM


Quoting AutieMomof3:

she was honorably discharged 4 years ago. i don't see how the military can make her come back into active duty.

Because when you sign a contract the miitary owns you for 6-8 years (depending on how long you sign up for).  She was on IRR and still owed time to the military.  That is just how it is and she knew it when she enlisted.   


   Wife of a Marine - Mommy to a Little Prince
            
& Expecting a Princess in May!                

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)



Featured