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Army wives rally at Fort Bragg

In the wake of the slayings of two female soldiers, Fort Bragg officials and some military wives maintain the Army provides plenty of support to couples dealing with the stress of deployments.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — More than 200 military wives rallied Wednesday outside Fort Bragg to counter an anti-military protest by an out-of-state group.

The anti-military protest was staged in the wake of two recent slayings of female soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg.

The decomposed body of Spc. Megan Touma was found in a Fayetteville motel room on June 21. Police have called the case a homicide and have questioned a soldier at Fort Bragg.

Authorities said they believe charred remains found Sunday in Onslow County belong to 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc, a nurse at Womack Army Medical Center who has been missing since July 10. Her estranged husband, Marine Cpl. John Wimunc, has been charged with murder.

The back-to-back slayings rekindled memories of the summer of 2002, when four wives at Fort Bragg were killed by their soldier-husbands in the span of six weeks.

Studies have put the domestic violence rate in the military at three to five times that of the civilian population, but military experts contend it's a stretch to link the murders directly to combat service. Fort Bragg officials said they haven't seen a spike in domestic disturbances in recent months, but they acknowledged the stress that deployments put on couples.

"When a soldier comes back from overseas from a deployment, as part of their reintegration training, they get another briefing on the programs that are available," Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum said.

The post offers a variety of counseling services, McCollum said.

"We've got them at Womack Army Hospital. We've got them through the Army Community Services. We also have them through our chaplain," he said.

Sources close to the Wimunc investigation said Holley Wimunc had counseling appointments on post but never showed up. Court records also show she didn't attend a hearing about a restraining order she sought against her husband in May, so it was dismissed.

Members of Fort Bragg Mommies, the group staging the Wednesday rally, said they stick together to help ease the strain on anyone's marriage.

"I think it just depends on the marriage you had before (your husband) left. If you didn't have a good one before (he) left, being gone is only going to make it that much harder," Christy Lynch said.

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Bryan Mims, Reporter
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