The Pentagon is shrinking the Army to its pre-World War II size. The brunt of overall Defense cuts is being felt by military families. Housing allowance and pay raise cuts only make it worse. 5 military wives share their stories, in their own words, edited for clarity.
Spouse's military service: Navy, serving in the Middle East
Number of kids: 2
Home: San Diego
I have a degree in criminal justice and I have top-secret clearance. But being in the military means you pick up and move often. Every time we move, I'm unemployed and have to start all over again. I received my last unemployment check in December, when the government stopped funding jobless benefits. I look for jobs every day. I've been to career centers, tried networking with other spouses and still have nothing.
How do I go on interviews as a single parent? It costs me $624 for 5 full days of drop-in day care. I can't just put my kids anywhere.
Unemployment is just so hard. It puts a strain on the marriage. We're living off of one income. There's a 9- to 12-month wait for cheaper military housing. Our three-bedroom apartment costs us $2,500 a month but our housing allowance is $2,300. And now we're hearing more cuts are coming.
It's bad enough I'm raising my children as if I'm a single parent because he's deployed overseas. He's putting his life on the line, fighting for this country. But the country's not fighting for him.