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Army Mother Wins Delay Of Transfer

March 16, 1989

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) _ A soldier who was ordered to report to South Korea and leave her infant daughter behind has won a delay of the transfer but said today she still wants out of the Army.

″It has nothing to do with going to South Korea, really,″ Spec. 4 Cheryl Beekman, 21, said in an interview. ″I have a hard time being in the military with a child.″

Ms. Beekman sued on Tuesday seeking a discharge and an injunction blocking Army orders that she report to South Korea on March 23. Ms. Beekman, whose child is 6 months old, was told no dependents were allowed on the assignment.

The Army decided Wednesday to halt her transfer pending the outcome of the federal court case, said George Solomon, a spokesman for Fort Eustis in Newport News, where Ms. Beekman is stationed.

″If the court rules that everything that was done was legal, then we have no alternative but to send her,″ he said.

Ms. Beekman, a graphics illustrator, joined the Army for a four-year hitch in 1986. When she became pregnant, Ms. Beekman was given the opportunity under military law to request a discharge, but she turned one down.

However, after she gave birth in September and her husband, Chris, left Virginia in October to take a job in Tacoma, Wash., she found the dual role of mother and soldier too much too handle, she said in court papers.

″I am just barely able to get myself up in the morning and am tired all day at work,″ she said.

An Army chaplain, two comanding officers and an Army staff judge supported Ms. Beekman’s request for a discharge to avert the transfer, but Col. David A. Whaley, her group commander, overruled their recommendations.

Her attorney, Kenneth E. Labowitz, said he had found no previous cases in which a military woman has gone to court seeking a discharge so she could be with her child.

″They have greatly liberalized the rules regarding women in the military generally,″ he said. ″But having opened up that situation, that just creates new conflicts like this one.″

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