The Case of Commitment to Service

LT Alioto grew up on a remote Pacific island before his family moved to the US, where they prospered through hard work. He is apparently the only officer in the Army who speaks a language variant called Tagalog D.

The lieutenant faces a difficult personal situation. His widowed mother has never learned English and now lives with him. She depends on him to assist in family financial affairs. LT Aliotos only daughter, three years old, was born with a severe physical abnormality which requires four hours of administered exercise a day, a task he shares with his wife who otherwise would have difficulty coping.

Now the Army needs LT Alioto as well--for an unaccompanied assignment in the Pacific where the US is building a major new forward support base for naval forces as well as for an Army unit. LT Aliotos language skill, he is told, will be critical in working with some local ethnic groups who are resisting the long-term agreement into which the island government has entered with the US.

LT Alioto is considering whether to ask that his PCS orders be revoked for compassionate reasons and what to do if he does submit such a request and it is denied. What would you advise him to do?

[The point of this exercise is to try to determine just what Duty and "Selfless Service" really mean.]