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MSC officer calls Senator to avoid deployment

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by Gastrapathy, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. Gastrapathy

    Gastrapathy no longer apathetic Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2007

    Interesting article on a number of levels. Obviously deploying both parents isn't ideal but, neither is deploying single parents. I guess I don't have much sympathy for them, since we all know that someone else went in her place.

    Most interesting to me was the comment that the stress of the situation had made her miscarry at 6 weeks. Hmm...working on a back up plan in case they made her deploy after calling Congress?
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  3. SeminoleFan3

    SeminoleFan3 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    Link doesn't work
  4. Heeed!

    Heeed! On target, On time! 10+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2003
    San Antonio, TX
    No workie...:sleep:
  5. SeminoleFan3

    SeminoleFan3 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    If you search "deployment" on 9/2/07 you can read it.
  6. TX_NFS

    TX_NFS Steel melanoleuca 5+ Year Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    State of Sleepiness

    USAFGMODOC Attending physician 7+ Year Member

    Sep 17, 2005
    I was dual mil-mil for >15 yrs and never would think about speaking out and B_tching in a newspaper or anywhere in public about this..... Her husband needs to grow a pair and I'm sure this will really make them "popular" in their squadrons when someone has to go in their place! You know the risk when you are both AD folks!

    While I never liked deploying and was separated several times for TDY's and PCS's, one always has an option to "GET OUT"....

    I don't agree with favoring mil-mil couples; in my opinion if you can't handle it--- GET OUT and let those who will deploy take your position!

    nuff said
  8. HumptyDumptyMil

    HumptyDumptyMil Almost done... 5+ Year Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    agreed. It seems that there has been a number of threads here recently about people who knew of their possible fates while AD, and then try everything they can to get out of it when it really happens to them. That's just a selfish act in my opinion.
  9. Gastrapathy

    Gastrapathy no longer apathetic Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2007
  10. USAFdoc

    USAFdoc exUSAFdoc 5+ Year Member

    May 21, 2005
    here you go.

    Active-duty spouses struggle with deployment policy

    By: TERI FIGUEROA - Staff Writer

    VISTA ---- It's a familiar scene to people in North County when families prepare to see loved ones off to war, one that will play out with dozens of local military units this fall and winter.

    Marines and sailors hug their kids and spouses goodbye and head off to combat on a plane, helicopter or ship.

    But what about families with two parents deploying at the same time?

    There are no rules preventing a child's mother and father from heading off to war over the same period.

    So when it happened that Capt. John Dixon, a Marine fighter pilot, and Lt. Beverly Dixon, with the Navy's medical corps, came up with orders that could have landed each of them in a combat zone, they had few options.

    "It's a nightmare," Beverly Dixon said.

    Dual deployments that send mom and dad to war at the same time are likely to happen in areas such as San Diego County, where a number of service members and bases are situated.

    But there is no military policy or federal law allowing the Marine Corps or the Navy to officially refrain from sending a set of parents into a combat zone at the same time.

    Efforts to legislate change have fallen short.

    Each of the Dixons, who are married, has served 17 years in the military. Both started out as enlisted service members and worked to become officers. Both say they are ready to support the military mission in Iraq.

    But this was too much. The orders meant both would kiss their kids goodbye, leaving them parentless for several months. Ashlyn will be 3 years old in October, and Kaely is 9 months old.

    "It's a system fight," John Dixon, 35, said as he sat in his Vista home last week. "It's us against the wall. I call it a wall because it doesn't move."

    The Dixons moved forward with their backup plan. The captain's mother planned to skip out on work and move from Oregon into the couple's Vista home. The girls were losing their parents for a while, and the family didn't want them to have to leave their home, too.

    'I saw the writing on the wall'
    The Vista couple are not the only married pair of active-duty service members facing the problem. It's an issue that ultimately led Kristin Hamon to leave the Navy.

    "Had we not had these increases in deployments, I probably would have stayed in," Hamon, 29, said. "I saw the writing on the wall."

    Hamon, who was a lieutenant stationed in San Diego before she left the service this year and who now lives on the East Coast, said she was shocked when she learned there was no official regulation that would keep one of them home once they had children.

    "A lot of people meet their spouses in the military," Hamon said in a phone conversation Thursday, "and it (the threat of dual deployments) happens a lot more than we realize."

    Defense officials did not provide requested data about the number of dual active-duty marriages in the armed services.

    There have been efforts to change the law to protect families from losing both parents to deployments.

    California Sen. Barbara Boxer has repeatedly addressed the issue since the early 1990s, but bills she introduced that could help keep both parents out of combat at the same time have failed.

    This year, Boxer has tried again, tacking on an amendment to the defense spending bill with Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. That bill is pending.

    The Washington D.C.-area National Military Family Association, which fights for military families, has not taken a position on the issue of dual deployments for parents, organization official Kelly Hruska said.

    "Deployment of dual military families is an operational decision and we do not get into operational decisions," Hruska said. "But we do remind leaders there is an impact on the family."

    Spouses aren't the only ones facing more than one deployment in their families. There is also no current Department of Defense policy allowing family members to ask that they not serve on the same ship, in the same unit or in the same combat zone.

    The Pentagon does allow a sole surviving child whose siblings were killed in combat to request a pass on combat duty.

    The issue of family members fighting together in Iraq hit national news recently when Army Cpl. Nathan Hubbard, 21, died Aug. 22 in a helicopter crash. He had enlisted while grieving for his older brother, Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Hubbard, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Ramadi in 2004.

    A third brother, Army Spc. Jason Hubbard, 33, was part of the platoon that recovered Nathan's body from the crash site. After Nathan's death, Jason was sent home from his unit and was ordered not to redeploy to a hostile fire zone.

    'I need to fight this fight'
    When Beverly Dixon got her orders to head to Iraq, she began fighting a battle of her own. She said she went up the chain of command asking for her trip to be deferred until June, when her husband would be back on American soil.

    That request was denied.

    "I wear the uniform, and I take great pride in it," Beverly Dixon said. "It's been tough, but I need to fight this fight."

    The couple hungrily read everything they could find about dual deployments for married couples.

    "We are two officers with 17 years in, and we struggled to find any information," John Dixon said, frustration in his voice. "This has been a tough road."

    So Beverly Dixon, led by her mother-in-law, turned to a number of congressmen for help. If they couldn't change her own fate, she asked, would they at least consider introducing legislation to help others?

    "I know I am not the only one in this situation," Beverly Dixon wrote in her letter to Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole. "Probably just the only one stupid enough to say something."

    Last week, the North County Times heard of the couple's plight and contacted them. By then, the Dixons were hopeful but seemed resigned to their fate. Both of them would be deploying, they said.

    She would leave in September and end up in Iraq for a year. In January, John Dixon would climb aboard an aircraft carrier for more than four months, with the looming possibility that the ship could take him to a combat zone.

    The stress may have been too much. Last week, 37-year-old Beverly Dixon ---- who hadn't realized she was six weeks' pregnant ---- miscarried.

    'It should never have come to this'
    After a few days of receiving questions from the North County Times about the Dixons' case, a spokeswoman for Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., e-mailed the newspaper with news that the family welcomed.

    "We just got word that Lt. Dixonís orders are canceled!" wrote Lindsay Jackson Gilbride, Smith's press secretary. "Problem solved!"

    Beverly Dixon was stunned to hear the news. Thrilled. And still determined to make a change in the policy.

    "I'm relieved," she excitedly said. "But at the same time, it makes me want to fight even more. It should never have come to this."

    She said she later learned that she was not given a waiver because of the looming deployment of her husband.

    Instead, there was a loophole that pushed back her deployment. Because Kaely is less than a year old, the Navy will retroactively apply its newly passed policy that allows new mothers to delay their deployments for up to a year after a child's birth.

    Kaely will be 1 in November.

    "It's a Band-Aid," a still relieved but frustrated Beverly Dixon said Thursday morning. "I was told not to unpack my bags. There are other deployments out there."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact staff writer Teri Figueroa at (760) 631-6624 or [email protected].
  11. jonb12997

    jonb12997 I'm a doctor!! 10+ Year Member

    I agree with the people above... there's always the option of one person getting out. Our society is very much, if you don't get the answer you want, just keep going up the latter until you do get the answer you're looking for...
  12. orbitsurgMD

    orbitsurgMD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    " "It's a Band-Aid," a still relieved but frustrated Beverly Dixon said Thursday morning. "I was told not to unpack my bags. There are other deployments out there." "

    The dedication . . . just get's you right there!
  13. Sarg's kid

    Sarg's kid HPSP Butterbar 5+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2006
  14. Roshario

    Roshario Cracking Toast! 7+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2007
    San Diego
    She's not a doctor. She's a MSC officer. Not the same thing as a MC officer.
  15. mitchconnie

    mitchconnie Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 27, 2002
    Hard to disagree with the above, but it strikes me as being a little self-righteous, especially if you haven't ever deployed and left a couple of small kids behind.

    After having been there a couple times, I don't begrudge anyone for pulling whatever strings they can to delay a deployment. Given some of the bogus medical conditions, suspiciously-timed pregnancies, friends in high places, etc. that I have seen used to get out of deployment, calling your senator and explaining your family situation seems downright honest.
  16. beegeforty4

    beegeforty4 Water is hydrophilic. 10+ Year Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    I understand everyone's reasons for not agreeing with what this couple did but I think they do have a valid point (although going to the papers was not the way to prove it).

    Why is it so difficult to make sure that you don't have two parents deployed at the same time? I had a Navy friend who quickly got married to a Coastie when he found that they were going to go to different bases. There's some mechanism (even between the services) that made it possible for them to get stationed at the same location -- granted the Navy and Coast Guards have similar ports/bases.

    Why would it be so difficult to have a similar mechanism set up where a married couple can't have alternating deployments?
  17. Ex-44E3A

    Ex-44E3A 7+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    SE US
    Yep... at least they were up-front about it.

    When I was in Saudi, we had young women turn up pregnant. They promptly got shipped home... when some proceeded to have those pregnancies terminated.

    Sick? You betcha... but people pull all sorts of garbage to avoid deployment. We've all had colleagues turn up pregnant when their deployment window came around... which forces everybody else to deploy in their place. I know one who never left CONUS even once during her entire payback, all due to "unexpected pregnancies."

    As bitter as some of the men were about it, that paled in comparison to the opinion of female members who actually did suck it up and deploy... the defer-pregnancy-and-actually-do-your-duty types hated the ones who used it to get out of deploying.
  18. IgD

    IgD The Lorax 10+ Year Member

    Jul 5, 2005
    When this type of scenario arises my experience is policies are guided by fear that someone is malingering. If you look closely at the situation most of the time it is not malingering.

    From my perspective this is a leadership issue. If this scenario would have played out it could have sacrificed the service members marriage and family. I was taught a leader is accountable for the welfare of his warriors, being approachable and leading from the front. Is the immediate benefit worth the risk of the long term consequences? I'm pretty skeptical of that reading the news story.
  19. BomberDoc

    BomberDoc ex-BomberDoc 2+ Year Member

    I've seen all sorts of creative ways to get out of deployments... Well timed depressive episode, one female who had 4 kids in 4 years and never went, make a bogus IG complaint and they won't send you until it is resolved, all sorts of family excuses to include the kid getting sick enough to require both parents at home (Münchhausen, anyone?).

    I hate my job, but I man up and go when I'm told to go. Actually, my deployments have been a nice respite from clinic hell.
  20. a1qwerty55

    a1qwerty55 Attending 10+ Year Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    Unless you were tasked in another position, I find it hard to believe that a GMO assigned to a B52 squadron has actually been deployed (at least to what I would consider a deployment)... Where Diego Garcia for like 4 months?
  21. sethco

    sethco Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2003

    I was absolutely amazed when I turned active duty and learned that all TDYs are considered deployments. For example, I can be "deployed" to San Antonio for C4 for a week. With that said, I think it is unfair to judge how "tough" a deployment is based on where a person is sent. Isn't he/she still separated from their family for a given amount of time? Just because they don't recieve combat/hazard pay does not mean that it still doesn't suck.

    As for some of the other responses to this thread, I am absolutely amazed and appalled by the lack of empathy. Some of the responses would lead me to question whether they have kids or even should have kids in the first place. It is hard to judge somebody when you have no frame of reference to begin with.

    In actuality, I don't believe that it would be asking too much to only deploy one parent at a time. What if there was no other family available? Wouldn't this set up a "Private Ryan situation" where both parents could be killed in combat, leaving the child an orphan? In addition, maybe both of the parents don't have the option of "just leaving" the military. Maybe they didn't plan on kids. Even the people in the article that was referenced, we don't know their particular situation, so it is hard to judge them. Maybe if everybody "stopped hating" on others and just focused on themselves, they wouldn't be so bitter and apathetic to others. Just an opinion, though
  22. NavyFP

    NavyFP Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 18, 2006
    Manning a Cubicle
  23. a1qwerty55

    a1qwerty55 Attending 10+ Year Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    One point of clarification, I cerntainly don't want to denigrate B-52 boy's contribution or those of others who are in support of OIF/OEF but aren't necessarily in harms way. I just get frustrated when the term "deployed" starts to get associated with TDY/TAD - early in the war, some docs were getting deployment credit for backfilling Lahnstuuhl sp? for 3 months.

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