Chris Kirkham, Huffington Post

Amid blistering heat and thunderous bombing in central Iraq during summer 2005, U.S. Army Sgt. James Hurley suddenly found it difficult to reach his wife back home in Michigan.

For four days straight, he called and got a troubling message that the line had been disconnected. Eventually, Hurley tracked her down through his uncle.

“She tells me, ‘We got kicked out of the house, we’re foreclosed,'” Hurley recalled. “I was so pissed off. If it wasn’t for my roommate and my sergeant who was over me, I think I would have gone nuts.”

As his wife removed every stick of furniture from their home, cramming it in her parents’ house and in a nearby garage, Hurley was left to stew halfway around the world. He asked for extra-long shifts and additional mechanic assignments, just to keep his mind off things.

It would be another six months before he could return home to sort out the mess, beginning a years-long court battle with Saxon Mortgage Services over the loss of his home while deployed overseas.

Prompted in part by Hurley’s case, the Justice Department on Thursday announced a $22 million settlement with Saxon and a unit of Bank of America to provide relief to more than 170 active-duty military members who experienced improper foreclosures over the past few years.

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