Special Report: Battle Cry - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Special Report: Battle Cry

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Alverto Austin was barely out of high school when he began serving his country.

"The military demands a lot but its very rewarding," he said.

After 19 years in the army, there's only one other love in his life. 

"Everything that I am is because of my mother," he said.

But Rose Austin isn't the picture of health she once was.  Today she is bed ridden, on dozens of medications for her failing heart, and a long list of other health problems. 

"I mean she can try to walk from her bedroom to the bathroom, and sometimes she don't make it," Alverto Austin said.

Austin was stationed in Mannheim, Germany when he received a Red Cross alert in July - his mother had been rushed to the hospital.  

"They elected to allow me to come home on emergency leave," he said.

Ten months before he's eligible to retire, Austin has been ordered to return to Germany at the end of the month, but he doesn't want to go.

"I just want a way to serve my country and also take care of my mother," he said.

He applied for a compassionate reassignment, requesting to relocate to the Memphis military processing center until he can retire in July.  

"Right now my mother needs me a lot more - a lot more - than the United States Army," he said.

Austin's application included glowing evaluation reports that put him among the best in his unit.  Doctors wrote letters confirming his mother is "unable to care for herself" and "needs the care of her son."

One month later, Austin's request was denied.  The news brought a mother and her son to tears.

"I wish they would have mercy enough to let him come home," Rose Austin said.

Austin is hoping someone who can help will hear his story.

"The army wouldn't have an outstanding soldier if my mother had not raised an outstanding son," he said.

Austin has requested the help of Rep. Steve Cohen.  A representative from Cohen's office said they would do everything they could to help him relocate to Memphis to care for his mother.

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