Sunday, March 1, 2009
DAVIDSON, N.C. -- When Lisa Pagan reports for duty Sunday, four years after she was honorably discharged from the Army, she'll arrive with more than her old uniform. She's bringing her two kids, too.
"I don't have a choice," she said.
Pagan is among thousands of service members who have left active duty since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, only to later receive orders to return to service. As long as they have time left on their original enlistment contracts, they're on "individual ready reserve" status -- eligible to be recalled at any time.
She unsuccessfully filed appeals, saying that because her husband travels for business, no one else can take care of Elizabeth, 4, and Eric, 3.
Then she hit on the idea of showing up Sunday at Fort Benning, Ga., with her children in tow.
"I guess they'll have to contact the highest person at the base, and they'll have to decide . . . what to do," she said. "I either report and bring the children with me or don't report and face dishonorable discharge and possibly being arrested."
Master Sgt. Keith O'Donnell, an Army spokesman, said that officials "don't want to do anything that jeopardizes the family or jeopardizes the children" but that "these are individuals who made obligations and commitments to the country."