Stress of separation takes its toll on military families

Russell and Erin Miller met while deployed in Iraq in 2005 and discovered a shared passion for Dungeons and Dragons. Their interest in the popular role-playing game led to their marriage and settling down in Rice, 45 miles southeast of Dallas. The husband and wife, both in the Texas Army National Guard, now have new roles: Erin, 28, as a soldier deployed to Afghanistan; Russell, 30, as a stay-at-home dad with 2-year-old daughter Abby. How their marriage fares during Erin’s 12-month deployment is a question of keen personal interest to the Millers – as well as a matter of urgent national security. Two wars and multiple deployments have caused enormous strains within the ranks, contributing to a rising military divorce rate that is outpacing the civilian divorce rate, as well as a sharp increase in mental health problems.
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