The Air Force Will Now Allow Pregnant Women And Single Parents To Join
James Joyner·Monday, August 5, 2013·
The Air Force will now allow pregnant women and single parents to join.
While I support the general trend of making military life more family friendly, its hard to make an argument for bringing in new officers whose priorities are divided. While families and children are a part of the human condition that the military has learned to work with, even considering them a support base for the troops, theres a good reason that weve preferred unencumbered junior officers and enlisted personnel. The transition to military life is arduous enough when fully focused on that task.
Two decades ago, Marine Corps commandant Carl Mundy issued an edict banning the enlistment of married recruits. His boss, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, overturned the order within hours after a predictable backlash. But Mundys motivation was logical.
Obviously, the Corps adapted to that reality. But that mostly meant accepting the problems as part of the package. And having a spouse at home is far less demanding than having an infant with no spouse. Its true that our troops deploy to war zones all the time leaving pregnant wives and small children behind. But leaving the kid with friends or relatives is a different thing altogether.
These 6 Programs Support Service Members Who Are Single Parents
1. Free parenting classes on base: Every military base offers free classes through the Family Readiness Center that are designed to help parents. Single parents can benefit from these classes too. Topics include finances , discipline strategies for different ages , and information about managing stress and anger in your life . There are also new parent support groups and home visits available to any service member who gives birth or adopts a child. Contact your chain of command, your unit FRG, or your base Family Center to learn more about these programs and to register for free.
2. MFLC : The MFLC is a civilian who is a professional counselor or social worker assigned to a military unit. The MFLC can assist service members in individual, confidential sessions that are never shared with the chain of command. A single parent could consult the MFLC for assistance with personal stress or for advice about raising children. The MFLC can then direct the service member to a variety of on or off-base resources. On some military bases, the MFLC presents regular classes and seminars tailored to single parents.
6. Military One Source: This website has online articles, webinars, and programs to assist single-parent service members. If you have any concerns about your own mental health or your childs, Military One Source can make non-medical referrals to a counselor. In-person group meetings are also available for single-parent families.
Requirements To Become A Sailor
To join the Navy, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident
- Be between the ages of 17 and 39 to enlist or be between 19 and 42 to become an Officer*
- Have a high school diploma or GED equivalent or have a four-year degree from an accredited university
- Have a qualifying score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test or the Officer Aptitude Rating and Aviation Selection Test Battery
- Pass the Military Entrance Processing Station medical exam
- Meet the physical, mental and moral standards of the Navy
*If you are not yet 18, you need parental consent to join.
Contact a recruiter to request more information about basic requirements.
Read Also: How To Send Money To Someone In The Military
Serve Domestically In The National Guard
The Army National Guard was originally formed in 1607 in Jamestown, the first English settlement — making the Guard the oldest part of the U.S. Armed Forces. Candidates between the ages of 18 and 39 are eligible, and report for drills one weekend each month following initial training. Army Guard soldiers receive Basic Combat Training over 10 weeks, while Air Guard soldiers undergo 8.5 weeks of Basic Military Training. The Guard often mobilizes within the country during conflicts or following natural disasters, but like all soldiers, they may be deployed internationally, if needed.
How Can A Single Parent Join The Army
Applicants are not allowed to give up custody for the purpose of enlistment. Army representatives are prohibited from advising single parents to relinquish custody. Therefore, the only option for a single mom joining the military is to prove that she has a child in the custody of another parent or adult.
You May Like: Does Home Depot Do Military Discount On Appliances
Do Single Parents Get Deployed
Although the Army does not allow single parents to enlist, there are 37,000 single parents on active duty. According to the Army, 8,300 single parents are currently deployed. Legal experts said the Army tends to accommodate family needs, to a point. And most single-parent soldiers tend to tough it out.
Single Parents And Military Couples With Children
While the military no longer allows single parents to enlist, if one becomes a single parent while in the military, due to death of a spouse, separation, divorce, or adoption, or if a military couple has children, the military will not force them to separate from the service, as long as they meet the family care requirements of DOD and the various related service regulations. In a nutshell, that means such members must have a”family care plan.”
What About The Military Reserves
Raising a child all by yourself may not allow you to keep up with the demands of service life, especially during your first enlistment period when everything is new. As a soldier, you’re expected to be deployable at all times. That’s why military single-parent regulations are so restrictive. However, things are a little bit different for those who become parents after enlistment or decide to join the military reserves.
The Air Force Reserve, for example, states that single parents are not eligible for service. However, if they meet all the other eligibility criteria, they may ask a third party to consent that he or she will take care of their children while the parent is on duty. Their application will be reviewed by a local commander.
If you become a single mom after joining the military, you must file for a Family Care Plan . Without it, you cannot continue to serve. FCPs are only available to those who are already enlisted. This document confirms that service members have made all the necessary arrangements to provide care for their children and other dependants while on duty. It may include a power of attorney for guardianship, instructions for guardians, copies of child custody arrangements and other relevant information, according to the U.S. Army.
Sail With The Navy Reserve
As of March 2014, the Navy is comprised of more than 65,000 reserve Sailors and over 325,000 full-time Sailors. Reservists in the Navy benefit from travel opportunities, specialized job training and college credits from gaining particular experiences. Candidates between the ages of 18 and 39 are eligible to join, and are encouraged to seek occupational specialty training from the military or a civilian education while they serve. Navy Reservists initially complete between seven and nine weeks of Boot Camp in Great Lakes, Ill.
Recommended Reading: Does Aquatica Offer Military Discount
Can You Decline A Deployment
The military can deny the request. Officers can request to resign their commission after serving their minimum obligation to the military. It takes time and the military can deny the request. There are assignments that can be declined under certain conditions, but combat deployments generally arent one of them.
Are There Medical Benefits
Members of the military and their families receive outpatient care at military hospitals and clinics at no charge. There is a nominal charge for in-patient care of family members. For families not located near military health facilities, the military medical insurance program pays 80% to 100% of the costs at civilian hospitals and clinics. Dental care is free to service members. There is a minimal cost for family members.
Don’t Miss: Is There A Cutoff Age To Join The Military
Over 30000 Single Mothers Serving In The Military Their Options Are Not Easy When They Are Deployed
Its no secret that there are fewer women than men in the U.S. military, and even fewer mothers, but is that policy or punishment?
The government prohibits single parents from enlisting in all branches of the armed forces except for the Army National Guard, which keeps a lot of mothers from joining up. In the past, women have tried to get around the ban by giving up custody of their children until after basic training. New requirements in each branch make that strategy obsolete, though. The Marine Corps requires those who give up custody of their children to wait an additional year or more before being eligible for enlistment. In the Navy, the waiting period is six months and the custody transfer must be made permanent by court-order.
The militarys policies on enlistment are far from sympathetic to single parents, but a small amount of consideration has been given to mothers recently. As Former Army cook Alexis Hutchinson dodged deployment to Afghanistan so she wouldnt have to place her child in foster care, the Army deferred a court-martial for an other-than-honorable discharge, reducing her to Private and eliminating her benefits.
In the latest totals from the Joint Economic Committee https://www.jec.senate.gov/public/, about 220,000 women have served in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. About 40 percent of those active-duty women, or almost 85,000, are mothers. Out of those, at least 30,000 are single moms.
Military Child Care Programs
You can turn to the Department of Defense for quality, affordable child care options. These options both on the installation and off can put your mind at ease while you work. Contact your installations child development center for more information on its child care programs and options. Visit MilitaryChildCare.com to find comprehensive information on military-operated or military-approved child care programs worldwide.
If child care is unavailable on your installation, you may be eligible to receive fee assistance through Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood, or MCCYN. Learn more about MCCYN and apply for assistance at Child Care Aware of America.
Don’t Miss: Does American Airlines Give Military Discounts
Why Do Jehovahs Not Celebrate Birthdays
According to the religions official website JW.org, Jehovahs Witnesses dont celebrate birthdays because we believe that such celebrations displease God. The site also explains that Although the Bible does not explicitly forbid celebrating birthdays, it does help us to reason on key features of these events and
Can Single Parents Join The National Guard
Single parents can join the National Guard but not the active duty military forces, according to a September 2009 article in “The New York Times.” The reason you can join the Guard is that positions are part-time as opposed to full-time as with active duty branches. You do have to provide a family care plan when you apply so the Guard command knows that you can effectively balance parenting responsibilities and job commitments.
Also Check: How To Be An Army Ranger
Who Is Exempt From A Draft
You are exempt from Selective Service registration if you can prove you were continuously institutionalized or confined from 30 days before you turned 18 through age 25. If you were released for any period longer than 30 days during this window, you were required to register with the Selective Service System.
Single Mother Detained For Refusing To Deploy
When Spc. Alexis Hutchinson’s airplane left Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., for Afghanistan on Nov. 5, she was not on board.
The 21-year-old single mom stayed home because she had no one to care for her 10-month-old son. Her mother in Oakland, Calif., initially took the boy in but became “overwhelmed” and refused to keep him for the deployment.
Hutchinson is one of thousands of single mothers who have faced the order to leave a child home and go to war. But she refused to deploy.
Hutchinson, an Army cook assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, was arrested the day after she skipped her flight. She is confined to Fort Stewart, Ga., hoping for a discharge instead of a court-martial.
In the past two years, more than 3,000 people have been discharged voluntarily or involuntarily for pregnancy or lack of a family care plan, the Army says.
Hutchinson’s “is a perfect case, exactly why the Army has an administrative discharge due to parenthood,” said her attorney, Rai Sue Sussman. “There must be other people being placed in this horrible predicament: ‘I don’t want to disobey orders, but I don’t want to abandon my child.’ “
Hutchinson’s mother, Angelique Hughes, 41, said she not her daughter is to blame, because she backed out of caring for her grandson. Hughes said she already cares for her own mother, a daughter with special needs, an ailing sister and 14 children through her home child care business.
Hutchinson was not available for comment.
Don’t Miss: How To Prepare For Military Movers
What Happens If You Become A Single Parent In The Military
While the military no longer allows single parents to enlist, if one becomes a single parent while in the military, due to death of a spouse, separation, divorce, or adoption, or if a military couple has children, the military will not force them to separate from the service, as long as they meet the family care
Considering All Your Options
Going into the military with a family can be a fun and exciting adventure that can take you all over the globe. However, deployments and commitments can cause serious consequences if the right support is not in place. Therefore, it’s important to consider all sides when looking at joining the military with a family.
Why Would A Single Parent Want To Enlist Anyway
For all the same reasons as anyone else would, really. Some are longing for a sense of purpose, or to be part of something bigger than themselves. While serving your own children gives many parents a sense of purpose, some long to serve on a much larger scale.
If someone else already has full physical custody of your children or if its a reasonable option for your family, joining the military can be beneficial for you and your kids. Military parents set an example of commitment and perseverance and the benefits dont hurt, either!
At the end of the day, about 8% of active duty military personnel are single parents. If you do decide to enlist, youll be in good company.
If youd like to hear more about what its like to be a single parent in the military, check out the video below.
MORE TO READ
The Air Force Accepts Single Parents:
The official airforce.com website states,
Single, divorced or separated parents or those in common-law marriages with legal, physical custody of up to three children under the age of 18 and/or incapable of self-care may enlist provided you are otherwise qualified, but a waiver will be required to permit you to enlist. No waivers will be granted to those with four or more dependent children...
Please note that transferring custody of family members for the purpose of entering the Air Force is prohibited and renders enlisted applicants permanently disqualified.
Single parent applicants must not enter the Air Force with the expressed intention of regaining custody after enlistment. If you indicate you have a child or children in the custody of another parent or guardian at the time of initial processing, youll be advised and required to execute an Air Education and Training Command Form 1328, Statement of Understanding for Single Member Parent Having Dependents in the Custody of Another.
This simply means that single parents with up to three children ARE allowed to join the Air Force!
DO NOT get discouraged if you hear otherwise! I recommend doing your research to find a recruiter that has experience with enlisting other single-parents.
I spoke with four different recruiters before I found one that was willing to go through the process with me. Granted, I joined roughly 5 years ago RIGHT after this program was implemented, so it should be MUCH EASIER for you!
Also Check: Can You Do College While In The Military
What If My Child Wants Out
Commitment to the military is based on a contract, which means that people are bound legally to serve their term. However, there are some exceptions. If during basic training, a person is found to be grossly incompatible with the military, he or she may receive an administrative discharge for the convenience of the service.
The Rules And Regulations Of Joining Call For Giving Up Custody
Single parents are not allowed to enlist in the active-duty military. Except for the Reserve components of the military and Army National Guard, waiver approvals are rare, and most recruiters won’t even submit one. Prior to the 2000s, some recruits would try to get around this restriction by giving up legal custody of their child until after basic training and job school, then regain custody.
If they did not have a solid Family Care Plan when stationed at their first duty station, it would be evident to the chain of command as it causes major problems for everyone. The military has since banned this practice. As a result of wartime deployments in the early 1990s, the Department of Defense published DOD Instruction 1342.19, Family Care Plans, to standardize the requirements for all of the military services.