Custom Search


Reply To This Post         Return to Posts Index           VegSource Home

From: Bart (
Subject:         Single mom called back to Iraq, has to sell house, looking for someone to watch her 13-yr-old son. Ah...Bush's war...
Date: December 9, 2005 at 3:01 pm PST

Medford single mother called back to active duty in Iraq

December 8, 2005

While most of her friends and neighbors are amusing themselves with Christmas decorations and holiday gifts, Patricia Arndt is fretting over far more serious matters.

The single mother from Medford has been unexpectedly pulled from the inactive Army reserve and ordered to report for active duty by Feb. 5.

As Christmas nears, Arndt, 43, is trying to sell the Medford home she says she will not be able to keep on an Army salary of approximately $60,000 a year, and is searching for someone to care for her 13-year-old son, Shane. She expects to train for an 18-month tour of duty that could take her to Iraq or Afghanistan.

She said she never saw her return to active duty as a possibility. "Never in a million years," she said.

"This is a very hard thing for me," she said. "I absolutely love my country. I feel I owe it to the Army and my fellow soldiers, because I wouldn't be here without them.

"If I were a reservist assigned to a unit, I'd have been trained and informed of the possibility that I would be called. I'm not prepared for this."

U.S. Army officials said Arndt is not being treated unfairly.

"Single parents are treated no differently than any other soldier, and are expected to have a family care plan at all times," said Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Pamela Hart.

Arndt, a respiratory therapist at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center and a small-business owner, has been called back to active status after 20 years as a reservist. She spent four years of active duty in the Army in the 1980s based in Germany prior to becoming "an individual mobilization augmentee reservist" -- which required her to fill in for regular duty soldiers called to overseas duty.

Last year, she said, she was transferred to another category called the Individual Ready Reserve, which made her eligible for a combat assignment. She is to report to Fort Jackson, S.C.

Her return to active duty will leave her teenage son without a parent for 18 months, she said, and cost her more than $100,000 in income during that time.

As the U.S. Army has lagged in meeting recruiting goals, Arndt's story is another indication of how the ongoing war in Iraq is forcing bigger responsibilities onto the shoulders of a relatively small number of military personnel. Officials have said that many of the 172,000 troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are on their second or third tours of duty.

Increasingly, the military has turned to so-called stop-loss orders -- preventing some military personnel from retiring -- and to National Guard soldiers or older reservists to fill the ranks.

According to Army officials, approximately 110,000 Army personnel are listed in the Individual Ready Reserve. By law, they may be called up for as long as two years to fill vacancies. But because they are not attached to any unit, they may go years without the training and supervision needed to transition back to active duty, officials said. The Army has traditionally not sent IRR soldiers into battle.

The war in Iraq, now 21/2 years old, has changed that. Currently, more than 6,500 ready reservists have been called back to active duty, including Chief Warrant Officer Margaret Murray, 56, of Schenectady. While receiving training at Fort Jackson last year, Murray told Newsday that she hoped she would not be sent into combat. If she is sent, she said, "I'll do the best I can."

Pentagon officials say soldiers who volunteered for the reserves knew they could be called up at any time.

"Why I got activated and called, I have no idea," Arndt said. "People have no idea what this is doing to families."

Almost half of IRR members who have been reactivated have asked to have their recalls delayed or eliminated, officials said. Of those requests, one quarter were from single parents or other soldiers with family problems arranging for the care of a child or other dependent. The remainder were for medical reasons, financial hardship or other difficulties.

Arndt, who is also appealing her orders, is far from alone. Almost 8 percent of all current Army personnel -- and 13.8 percent of female soldiers -- are single parents, the officials said.

Arndt, who never married, at first arranged to have Shane live with her sister. But those plans are in danger of falling through, she said, because of family problems. She said her son's emotional well-being worries her the most.

"He says, 'My father's not here, you're not here, why should I be here?'" Arndt said. "His life as he knows it is gone."

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

Reply To This Post         Return to Posts Index           VegSource Home

Follow Ups:


Post Reply

E-mail: (optional)


Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:

See spam or
inappropriate posts?
Please let us know.

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to VegSource!

Every time we post a new video, we'll send you a notice by e-mail.

No spam ever and you can easily unsubscribe at anytime.

Enter your email address, your first name, and press Submit.

Your Email:
First Name:
Newsletter archive

Infomercial production direct marketing