Dec 25, 2012 - Two weeks before Christmas last year, Fort Bragg Sgt. Mike Salmon called to check on his wife in Fayetteville.
On the other end of the line, Crystal Salmon was inconsolable. Honey, she told her husband through sobs, I was assaulted.
Mike Salmon nearly lost it. He asked for and received an emergency leave to return home to comfort his young wife.
"I couldn't even function," said Mike Salmon, a 25-year-old supervisor of an Apache helicopter maintenance section. "There was really nothing I could do to keep my head in the game."
The leave lasted less than three weeks. On Christmas Eve, Salmon found himself on a plane heading back to Afghanistan. He had no choice. Army policy is Army policy. He spent Christmas Day eating sushi in an airport in the Netherlands.
The assault was the first in a string of ugly happenstance for the newlyweds.
Three months later, Crystal Salmon said, she lost the baby she had been carrying. About a week after that, she said, her car's transmission blew up as she drove alone on a desolate stretch of South Carolina blacktop.
It's often said that the first year of marriage is the hardest. The adage is even more apt for a military couple. read more>>>