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: Army National Guard, served in Iraq
Number of kids: 5
Home: Owings Mills, Md.
My husband now serves with the U.S. National Guard and also holds a job at an auto diesel truck company. He makes between $1,200 and $1,600 a month. My kids have never had new toys or brand-name clothes. We shop at a consignment shop that gives military families a 40% discount.
We've applied for food stamps, and I think we're going to qualify. In the summer, we grow vegetables and I can produce from our garden. My husband wants to get back into hunting. Two deer and two turkeys would last us a whole winter. We use a lot of coupons at the grocery. People think we're well off and cared for because we're military. It's just not the case.