A single-mom soldier who says she refused to deploy to Afghanistan because she had no family able to care for her young son will be discharged from the military instead of facing a court-martial, the Army said Thursday. Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, an Army cook stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, was arrested in November after skipping her unit’s deployment flight. Hutchinson, 21, said she couldn’t leave her son because her mother had backed out of plans to keep the child a few days before the soldier’s scheduled departure.
The Army filed criminal charges last month against Hutchinson of Oakland, Calif., but a general at neighboring Fort Stewart chose to settle the case by granting her an administrative discharge rather than try her in a military court.
“She’s excited that she’s no longer facing jail and can still be with her son, which is the most important thing,” said Rai Sue Sussman, Hutchinson’s civilian attorney. “We’re very happy about it right now.” The decision still carries consequences for Hutchinson. She is being demoted in rank to private and will lose benefits afforded to military service members and veterans, Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said.