Military families feel financial crisis

Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:45pm EDT
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By Ed Stoddard

DALLAS (Reuters) - Among those struggling in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression are members of the U.S. armed forces and their families.

"I'm concerned about our savings. Everything has gone up. You can't save when gas has gone up and electricity bills have gone up," said army wife Jessica Phillips, 22.

Phillips was waiting at Dallas-Fort Worth airport last week for her husband, Christopher, flying in from Iraq for 18 days of leave. Phillips, who lives near Fort Polk in Louisiana and is studying psychology and criminal justice, said she relied on her husband's income as an Army specialist.

A daily charter flight brings soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan to Dallas-Fort Worth, and in interviews last week military families said they were feeling the effects of rising prices, mortgage trouble and debt.

Amber Fithian, 24, waiting with her 2-1/2 year old son for her husband Adam, said her family was feeling the strain of rising mortgage payments on their home near Fort Hood, Texas.

"Our mortgage keeps getting sold so our rates keep going up," said Fithian, a stay-at-home mom.

Financial strain is an added burden, on top of long deployments in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They should get paid more. They put their lives in danger for everybody else," said Brenda Davis as she waited for her 23-year-old daughter Leilani Manibusan, returning for leave in her second Iraq deployment.   Continued...

<p>A military family reunites at DFW airport in Dallas, Texas, October 22, 2008. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi</p>