This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, December 2, 2003.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the Factor "follow-up" segment tonight, Army medic Simone Holcomb (search), who refused orders to return to Iraq, has been released from active duty and assigned to the Colorado National Guard (search), from when she came.
Ms. Holcomb said she couldn't go back to the front because she might lose two of her seven children in a custody dispute. A couple of weeks ago, we covered the story and we predicted the Army would work this out. And it did.
Joining us now from Colorado is Simone Holcomb in an exclusive interview with us and her attorney, Andrew Tulsey.
All right, Ms. Holcomb, we'll begin with you. I knew we were going to work this out. I don't know whether you saw the original report with your other lawyer, but I knew the Army wasn't going to, after this kind of national exposure, you know, charge you with going AWOL. You got seven kids. And there's obviously stuff you have to do at home. But why do you think they made a case out of this in the first place?
SIMONE HOLCOMB, COLORADO NATIONAL GUARD: I don't honestly know. All I have is personal opinion. And I think the Army just wasn't ready for a new situation that they hadn't experienced yet.
O'REILLY: Now your husband is a sergeant. He's over in Iraq right now, correct?
O'REILLY: All right, now the state of the children are you have five of your own and two stepchildren? Is that what it is?
O'REILLY: And you were afraid of what? If you went back to Iraq?
HOLCOMB: Well, actually, it all came together at one time. When I was home on emergency leave between the first court hearing and second court hearing is when my mother-in-law let me know that she was no longer going to be able to provide care for the children, should I have to go back to Iraq. So I knew I needed to make some decisions.
I communicated with my command at that time, let them know I had to make some strong decisions. My husband and I did that together. We decided it was best that I stay home because he is a great man and a leader of men, and that it is his job and his place in the service, and, at that time, I had, you know, written information that the chances of me returning to Iraq were minimal at best.
So I was comfortable in saying that the military was working with me, they were working on being able to allow me to stay home. So when I was able to go before that judge, I did state that, yes, I am home on emergency leave. Yes, this is difficult. He said, you know, my hands are tied by Colorado State law. If you two are not here, they have to go into the care of their biological mother.
O'REILLY: All right. Well, we all understand that, and the humanitarian leave is -- the Army grants that routinely in cases like yours.
HOLCOMB: Right. And the compassionate reassignment.
O'REILLY: Right. Now, Counselor, why do you think this got out of control for a little while?
TELSEY: Well, I think we're dealing with a situation here where the Army really did not have a real handle on what was going on. The rules and regulations probably did not provide for a situation like this, and it took some time as well as public pressure and -- from people like yourself to allow the system to absorb what was going on and reach the logical conclusion.
O'REILLY: All right. Which is what? What's going to happen in the future now?
TELSEY: Well, as far as the Army situation -- that matter has been resolved. Simone has been honorably discharged. She still remains a member of the Colorado National Guard, and she's here to take care of her children.
O'REILLY: Good. And I knew the Army was going to do the right thing. You know, I just knew it. I knew there wasn't going to be any problem with that.
Now, Ms. Holcomb, you don't have any problem with the U.S. forces in Iraq or what's going on over there, right?
HOLCOMB: Absolutely not. I love the Army. I am the epitome of the Army family. We are an Army family. We were an Army family before going to Iraq. We were an Army family while we were in Iraq, and we will continue to be the Army family. Just right now, I am the family care plan, and I will continue to support my husband. I support George Bush. I support this country. And I do support the Army absolutely.
O'REILLY: OK. Were you in action in the beginning part of the war?
HOLCOMB: I don't really know how to answer that. I try not to talk about anything in the...
O'REILLY: I mean were you at the front or were you behind?
HOLCOMB: No. I served...
O'REILLY: OK. So you were in a support...
HOLCOMB: Absolutely. I gave care to my fellow soldiers as well as a few Iraqi nationals and civilians and allies.
O'REILLY: All right. Well, we're glad that we could help work this out. But I want to make it very clear there really isn't a villain here. You're always in a big bureaucracy when you have the military and, you know, all of that.
So it worked out well. Ms. Holcomb, we wish you the best with the children and, certainly, with your husband over there in Iraq.
Counselor, thanks very much for helping us out tonight, OK.
TELSEY: Thank you very much for the opportunity.
O'REILLY: All right.
HOLCOMB: Bill, I'd like to thank you.
O'REILLY: OK. Sure. Any time.
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