Being heavily in debt is prompting some U.S. military members to volunteer to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan. Take Air Force Capt. Nick Sloan, who admits that the need to get out of debt was a significant factor in his choice to go to Iraq.

“I’ve met people who’ve gone on to one or more tours just to get out of debt, with jobs much more dangerous than mine,” Sloan said. “One soldier in Afghanistan said, ‘That’s why I’m here, to get out of debt.’ “

Financial counselors who work with military families say that this solution — volunteering for deployment to get out of debt — is rare, but that debt is a problem in the armed services, as it is in the country at large. In 2005, military charities for all branches of service provided $87,332,758 in emergency no-interest loans or grants to 100,808 service members in financial distress.

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