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Tea and sympathy

I have a great deal of sympathy for Lisa Hayes. Like her, I have a terrible tendency to ignore problems and let them get worse and worse, sometimes to the point where they blow up in my face. I don't know if it's stubbornness on my part, refusing to acknowledge the growing crisis, or pride, an inability to ask for help, or something else, but it's caused me no end of headaches and crises and other losses in my life.

But unlike Lisa Hayes, I have never violated an agreement with the US military, nor put a child in danger of suffering the consequences of my failures.

Lisa Hayes was a member of the New Hampshire Army National Guard. She has an ex-husband and a seven-year-old daughter. She was serving her second tour in Iraq when she received reports of domestic violence in her ex-husband's home, where her daughter was living. She was granted emergency leave to come home, take back her daughter, and fight for full custody.

As is often the case, matters dragged on and on. Her superiors asked her -- repeatedly -- to keep them informed of her situation, but she let herself get too wrapped up in matters and didn't follow their orders. They extended her emergency leave three times, at least once on their own without word from her, but she simply did not keep them informed on her situation. Finally, since they were not hearing any word from her, they declared her AWOL (Absent WithOut Leave). Then, in accordance with Army regulations, after 30 days of being AWOL she was declared a deserter.

That finally got her attention, and she notified the Army that she was applying for a hardship discharge and turned herself in.

Here is where Ms. Hayes was given a gift. A tremendous gift.

By all rights, she should have been arrested for desertion, court martialed, and sentenced to prison. The facts are indisputable: she was granted leave, granted extensions of that leave, and when they expired, did not return to duty. She did not seek additional extensions or begin the discharge process until after she had been first declared AWOL and then charged as a deserter.

Instead, the Army dropped the desertion charge and granted her a hardship discharge. She is now free of her obligations to the military and free to seek full custody of her daughter and begin a new life as a civilian, armed with an honorable discharge that she really had no reason to expect.

I'm glad for her. But I hope she understands that she did not earn her freedom and honorable discharge. They were not a reward or recognition of her merit, but an act of sympathy and compassion. She is free of her legal obligations, but now has a moral debt that she ought to repay.

And the best way, I think, is to concentrate on raising her daughter into a better, more responsible citizen than Ms. Hayes herself has been.

I wish her the greatest of luck.

Anyone interested in seeing how the Lisa Hayes story developed can see these stories:

Some soldiers have battles to fight at home

AWOL soldier turns herself in, with daughter

AWOL status waived in Guard case

Soldier mom granted temporary custody

Comments (27)

Jay,Just out of cu... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:


Just out of curiosity, do you have a child of your own?

I ask the question because I wonder if Lisa Hayes was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I am an honorably discharged Navy veteran and the parent of a small child. In my opinion, Lisa Hayes' first responsibility is to protect her daughter.

I just wonder if there were circumstances that we don't know about that could have influenced what Lisa did in regards to her military service.

I just loved the way the Bo... (Below threshold)

I just loved the way the Boston Herald (Globe wannabee) reported this. The EVIL military abused this poor, dear, innocent victim (the awol soldier). They did mention (later in the article) that the state court system dragged their heels, knowing the time issues, in addressing this problem. We all know the elitists in the courts support our troops.

Wow. That's cold j. Is this... (Below threshold)

Wow. That's cold j. Is this the way your side supports the troops?

Victory, in answer to your ... (Below threshold)
Rumors on the internetS:

Victory, in answer to your question, it's the way the Wizfolk practice their family values. It's called "Families for Fodder."

Sounds about right rumors. ... (Below threshold)

Sounds about right rumors. They don't want to hear about the corpses and the destroyed families, including situations like the above. They don't want to care for the soldiers when they come back with shattered minds and bodies. That is what supporting the troops is all about, not cheerleading a pointless war.

JT, I do not think it is po... (Below threshold)

JT, I do not think it is possible to get an honorable discharge unless you fullfill your committment. She probably received a general discharge under the hardship rule. If you are a woman in the service and decide to have children, you know that 6-12 month tours can take you anywhere at anytime. It is she who made the decision to deploy away from her child. ww

I'VE HAD IT WITH THE TROLLS... (Below threshold)

I'VE HAD IT WITH THE TROLLS HERE! This used to be a terrific site to discuss and debate, but now it's just an elementary school playground of naming calling and insults.

Kevin, Jay Tea, Kim, Lorrie, et al, I've asked several times that you consider banning some of these trolls. I respect that you chose to keep an open forum, and you even started a parallel Wizbang Blue speficially so that the most left-leaning could have their voices heard. However, as history has shown, appeasement doesn't work: they'll take what you offer and still demand more (not that you were actually "appeasing," but the analogy still fits).

I'm tired of the insults. I'm tired of having to scroll through comments. I'm tired of the negativity. Instead of refining the positions of the right and discussing issues, we're left stepping around troll droppings.

I will check back now and then in the hopes that things will change. I really loved this site, but I'm just too tired to keep truding through.

Just a few points:... (Below threshold)

Just a few points:

1) I did NOT quote the Boston Herald, but the Boston Globe.

2) No, I do not have children.

3) All she had to do was simply keep her superiors INFORMED of what was going on, and they would have been happy to continue extending her leave. It was only after she repeatedly ignored their attempts to reach her that they first listed her as AWOL, then as a desertion.

4) I was unaware of the distinction between "honorable" and "general" discharges. I focused on the "not dishonorable" part, without realizing that there were other options.

5) This is NOT a matter of "supporting the troops," but "expecting people to keep their word." ALL SHE HAD TO DO WAS KEEP HER SUPERIORS UP TO DATE ON HER SITUATION -- and she did not do that. She did, literally, go AWOL and then desert -- and only did the right thing and follow channels AFTER they put out a warrant on her. I take the fact that all charges were dropped and she was granted her discharge so quickly as pretty much conclusive proof there was no malice involved -- just an insistence that regulations be followed and she obey the rules she had agreed to.


Bye bye. You may want to v... (Below threshold)

Bye bye. You may want to visit the trollings of vermin like HateAmericaImmigrant, RobMothersbasementinLACA, and WetWillie and vent your outrage there.

GOT, perhaps you could teac... (Below threshold)
Rumors on the internetS:

GOT, perhaps you could teach summer school where you could continue to brain wash the chilluns year round. Might take your mind off of trolls.

This would not have happene... (Below threshold)

This would not have happened if we did not allow women in the military.

Everyone, wave bye-bye to "... (Below threshold)

Everyone, wave bye-bye to "victory" and "rumors." They long overstayed their welcome.


Victory, Goddess was talkin... (Below threshold)

Victory, Goddess was talking about the likes of you. Please instruct me as to how your posts here have been conducive to the discussion.

You simply march in and declare Jay is cold and imply he is unsupportive of the troops based on a human interest story that turned out right. A story where he was quite clear in pointing out the humanity and sympathy of the military for the plight of one of their own. Then finished with wishing her the best of luck. The military had no choice but to assume she had deserted as they never got any indication of her status, yet ultimately released her of her obligation.

Dodo steps in to remind us that family comes first, as if the military didn't recognize this as they granted her leave to do just that.

Then Victory pipes back in ranting about corpses and pointless wars.

THAT is what Goddess is talking about. THAT is trolling. THAT is why I myself cringe everytime I click on the comment link and then wonder why I keep coming back here.

Come on, guys, are you real... (Below threshold)

Come on, guys, are you really surprised that the lib trolls here don't believe in personal responsibility? The left has never met a selfish, irresponsible person they did not want to shower with other peoples money and excuses.

Unless they vote Republican or something...

Damn Jay! Give me a chance... (Below threshold)

Damn Jay! Give me a chance to ridicule them first!

Hey, is this the Kennedy-Mc... (Below threshold)

Hey, is this the Kennedy-McCain amnesty thingie eveyone is talking about?

I usually ignore the trolls... (Below threshold)

I usually ignore the trolls. Debating them is pointless for the most part. Some rare lefties will actually have a reasoned debate. I seldom reply to comments the left writes just to provoke and distract. ww

These were idiots, but brin... (Below threshold)

These were idiots, but bring back bryanD. He was good, and hilarious.

Goddess and Oyster are righ... (Below threshold)

Goddess and Oyster are right. It's just no longer worth navigating the barrage of poo-flinging to get to the occasional good point. I'm a longtime lurker, sometime poster, and this place has just gotten too nasty.

P.S. It goes without saying that this is your house, but I have a friendly suggestion. You've already given Lee Ward and his sophomoric sycophants their own cesspool to fill with Wizbang Blue. I would ban them from the regular site. Your house, your rules, but I think the idea has some merit.

I'm a longtime lur... (Below threshold)
Farmer Joe:
I'm a longtime lurker, sometime poster, and this place has just gotten too nasty.

I agree. Many's the time I'll read a story, and then look at the comments, and ask myself "Why do I continue to look a the comments here?"

A National Guard physician ... (Below threshold)

A National Guard physician refused to serve in the first Gulf War, as a matter of conscience. She spent time in the stockade, but saved her license after some struggle.

This is a remarkable story.... (Below threshold)

This is a remarkable story. Thanks for brining it to light, JT. While the Army would hev been completely in their right to disallow her to return home to try to get custody of her child, her commander clearly had his/her head screwed on right and did the right thing.

What makes me really mad are the disgraces like Lt. Watada who make the news for willfully disobeying an order simply to make a "political statement" and the Army is portrayed as the bad guy in national press for prosecuting him. Here they let Hayes go without so much as a hand slap (the right thing to do, BTW) and no national press coverage.

Well, here's a leftie who a... (Below threshold)

Well, here's a leftie who agrees with jay . Pretty simole thing to do - keep your superiors infromed. Why, even a liberal like me understands that.

Feel bad for her on one level, but you make your bed, you have to lie in it.

Just a few days ago, Paul H... (Below threshold)
John in CA:

Just a few days ago, Paul Hamilton @Wizbang Blues, had this story. Of course, without doing thorough research, he reflexively charged the Army with being insensitive to family needs. In fact, I think the title of the post was "More Military Family Values".

Right away, a commenter pointed out that what had been posted was not the whole story and presented the ANG in a poor light, when in fact the ANG had gone way beyond what they were required to do to accommodate this AWOL soldier. Hamilton's response was, basically, oh, I didn't read the whole back story.

In fact, Hamilton saw something that he thought reflected poorly on the military, and by extension, President Bush, and picked up the handy rhetorical club, and started bashing.

As was the intent of the article he used as the basis for his blog post.

Dodo David asked if in fact... (Below threshold)
John in CA:

Dodo David asked if in fact this soldier was somehow stuck between a rock and a hard place. Since you are a Navy veteran, you are probably aware that everyday, in every command, there is someone who is "stuck between a rock and a hard place". None of that gives the individual military member the right to just go and make their own guidelines and rules.

This young lady is very fortunate. Her actions post emergency leave were clear violations of regulations. Had her command taken a stricter view of her transgressions she could have been treated much more harshly than she was. She should sing the praises of her command and the ANG for being sympathetic to her plight, as should the people who are writing the articles about this situation.

Congrats to her chain of co... (Below threshold)

Congrats to her chain of command. Many of you lefty nitwits see the military as a "thing"; those of us who've served know it's a collection of people, operating within a system, with a set of goals to achieve. As recent work by the Heritage Foundation has shown these people are better educated, more physically fit, and come from a wider demographic slice than any institution in America. They routinely do "the right thing" for each other and those they impact. For every "torture" reported, there's 100,000 Lisa's. You just don't hear about them because a) not sensational, or b) don't fit preconceived liberal world views.

I don't find the conduct of her CofC surprising in the least. But next time Lisa, please pickup the phone one more time.

If Rick Hunter had only mar... (Below threshold)

If Rick Hunter had only married Lynn Minmay, none of this would have happened...

ha ha







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