Black Ex-Soldier, Single Mom, Arrested for Desertion

Published February 23, 2009

When her son took ill, Giselle Flynn, a single mother who enlisted in the Army, decided to go AWOL to take care of her children.  Ten years later, her decision came back to haunt her.

This past weekend, police in El Cajon, Calif., came to Flynn’s home upon the request of the Army and arrested her for desertion, reports the San Diego Union Tribune.

“They came to the house, knocked on the door and took me away in handcuffs,” Flynn said during an interview from jail. She is currently being held there without bail and will stay in jail until the Army takes custody.

It all started in 1998, when Flynn, who was homeless, on welfare and facing divorce, decided to enlist in the Army in hopes of securing a better future for herself and her two children. She left her kids, who were 4 and 8 at the time, with a friend and went to South Carolina for basic training. After boot camp she enrolled in a communications course in Georgia.

When she flew home to California in 1999, she discovered that her son, Vidal, had ringworm, anemia and pneumonia. The child had to spend several weeks at San Diego Naval Medical Center, but according to the paper, Flynn was only given 10 days of emergency leave. She tried to bring her kids to the Army base in Georgia, but trainees aren’t allowed to have children on base.

Then, she claims, they asked her to do the unthinkable.

She says officials told her to put her children in foster care and return to her duties on the base. Flynn refused, believing that if she did so, it would take months to get them back. So, in March of 1999, she chose to stay with her kids, and the Army removed her name from its roster, stopped paying her and labeled her a deserter.

Since then, Flynn, who is currently working as a bus driver, has attempted to turn herself in twice at California Navy offices. Both times she was told to go home by Navy officials at the request of the Army.

Now, Flynn sits in the Las Colinas Detention Facility, waiting to learn her fate. She says that no one has told her what’s going on. “She’s absolutely hysterical,” a family friend told the paper.

Written by BET.com Staff

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