Army National Guard Spc. Joe McNeilly hasn't been the same since he returned from Iraq in March.Yes, it does sound like the soldier is losing his son, and the son is losing his father, just because he is a soldier. It is entirely appropriate for a soldier at war to send his son a postcard showing a soldier holding a gun. The anti-male bias of the courts is frightening.
But it's not flashbacks to explosions and injured soldiers that haunt him most. It's that he lost shared custody of his 10-year-old son while he was serving his country.
"You want to make a soldier cry, you take his son away," McNeilly, 33, of Grand Ledge, said last week as he blinked back tears. "It's devastating."
McNeilly believes he lost custody of Joey because he was in Iraq for 15 months.
... a report from the May hearing says the court favors Joey's mother, Holly Erb of Mason, because she was the "day to day caretaker and decision maker in the child's life" while McNeilly was deployed. ...
The report says that McNeilly treats his son more like a friend than a son, and "sees the child as a counterpart in his military adventures."
It also questions some of McNeilly's correspondence to his son while on active duty.
McNeilly said one postcard showed a soldier holding a gun. Another showed a soldier spearing a tire as if it was an enemy.
The court report says McNeilly also told his son how to kill people in multiple ways, and that he wrote his son "the next time someone touches you and leaves bruises on you - I'll be ready."
The core of the problem is that the mom took advantage of the soldier's absence to get a court-ordered $525 per month. If she allowed the son to be re-united with his father, then she would lose that $525 per month. The "best interests of the child" is just a smokescreen to allow the greedy mom to keep cheating her ex-husband, even if it also punishes her own son. A man should not be punished for serving his country.
Update: I just got a nice note from Spc. Joe McNeilly himself, along with some pictures of him with his son. He is trying to get a change to the Michigan law so other soldiers are not similarly punished for serving their country.