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Wrong, wrong, WRONG. Soldier recalled, with no one to watch child

Single mom Nia Salakielu, who is being recalled by the Army, sits with her son, Noa, at a restaurant in Clarksville. Photo: Greg Williamson/The Leaf-Chronicle.

This is the height of insanity — once you reach this stage of desperation for warm bodies, the draft is around the corner. This single mom has no one to care for her son and she’s being deployed or court martialed if she refuses to go. (The Tennessean):

Nia Salakielu , a 28-year-old former Army sergeant and single mother, left active military duty in April 2003 because she needed to care for her infant son, Noa. Now, the administrative specialist is being recalled for Operation Iraqi Freedom and must report to Fort Jackson, S.C., on Jan. 2 — possibly with Noa.

If she doesn’t show up, she will be considered absent without leave and could be court-martialed.

”Is America going to step up and watch my child while I’m off fighting for our freedom?” asked Salakielu, who lives in Clarksville and is studying to be a nurse.

Salakielu said because she is divorced and Noa’s father also is on reserve, and the grandparents cannot care for Noa, she has no choice but to take Noa along.

The situation also makes her not in compliance with the Army’s Family Care Plan, which requires single- and dual-military parents to spell out who will care for children in case of deployment. If the soldier does not comply, he or she can be put out of service.

Salakielu said each plea to the Army Human Resources Command for ”extreme hardship” has been denied.

Salakielu still has an obligation of her enlistment and is part of the Individual Ready Reserve. In the past, most soldiers on IRR status were able to serve the remainder of their enlistment as civilians. But with the Presidential Executive Order of Sept. 14, 2001, many IRR soldiers have been recalled to fill the ranks of a thinly stretched Army.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding