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Iraq Troops Suicide Rate Spikes
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2004
The Army's suicide rate in Iraq has been about a third higher than past rates for troops during peacetime, the Pentagon's top doctor said Wednesday.
Also, the military still has about 2,500 troops waiting for medical care after returning from overseas, said Dr. William Winkenwerder, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
The Pentagon is preparing for even more soldiers on "medical extension" after tens of thousands of troops are rotated home from Iraq this spring, Winkenwerder said.
The issue of suicides so worried the military that the Army sent an assessment team to Iraq late last year to see if anything more could be done to prevent troops from killing themselves. The Army also began offering more counseling to returning troops after several soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., killed their wives and themselves after returning home from the war.
Winkenwerder said the military has documented 21 suicides during 2003 among troops involved in the Iraq war. Eighteen of those were Army soldiers, he said.
That's a suicide rate for soldiers in Iraq of about 13.5 per 100,000, Winkenwerder said. In 2002, the Army reported an overall suicide rate of 11.1 per 100,000.
The overall suicide rate nationwide during 2001 was 10.7 per 100,000, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By contrast, only two U.S. military personnel killed themselves during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, although that conflict only lasted about a month. The Army recorded 102 suicides during 1991 for a rate of about 13.5 per 100,000.
Originally posted by Valhall
The stop loss measures have been pulled now, correct?
Since the Iraq War began, suicide rates in the miltary (namely the Army and Marines) have shot up
The Marine Corps suffered a 29 percent spike in suicides last year, reaching the highest number in at least a decade
*snip* this part is interesting...look at the stats*
Thirty-one Marines committed suicide in 2004, all of them enlisted men, not commissioned officers. The majority were younger than 25 and took their lives with gunshot wounds, according to Marine statistics. Another 83 Marines attempted suicide. There were 24 suicides in 2003, and there have not been more than 29 in any year in the last 10.
Although last year's suicide rate rose, it was still below the national average for a comparable civilian group, in keeping with an established pattern of suicide being lower in the U.S. military than in the civilian population.
Marine commanders say the rise in suicides continues a worrisome three-year trend that is likely linked to stress from the sharply increased pace of war-zone rotations. At the same time, they said the increase in suicides is not directly related to service in Iraq or Afghanistan; since 2001 24 percent of the suicides have been committed by Marines who have been deployed there, the statistics show.
It is "not only Iraq, it's just the ops tempo [operational tempo] in general, that's what I think," Gen. Michael W. Hagee, the Marine Corps commandant
Indeed, about 70 percent of Marine suicides over the past four years have been caused by problems in personal relationships, which can be exacerbated by heavy workloads
With a force that is the youngest in the military services and predominantly male, the Marine Corps has generally experienced the highest suicide rate among the military branches because its demographics mirror a high-risk group in the general population. More than 60 percent of Marines are younger than 25, and 16 percent are teenagers.
Originally posted by anxietydisorder
Quote: More than 60 percent of Marines are younger than 25, and 16 percent are teenagers.
I don't even know what to say to you any more, Martha. There's not much I can tell you about this war. It's like all wars, I guess. The undertakers are winning. And the politicians who talk about the glory of it. And the old men who talk about the need of it. And the soldiers, well, they just wanna go home.
Charlie Anderson: Can you give me one good reason why I should let my sons march down that road like a bunch of damn fools?
Lt. Johnson: Virginia needs all her sons Mr. Anderson.
Charlie Anderson: They don't belong to the state they belong to ME! When they were babies I never saw the state comin' around here with a spare tit!
Charlie Anderson: I'm glad you're here, Johnson. I've been meaning to have a word with your people about those cannons of yours. The chickens have stopped laying, the cows have dried up. Who do I send the bill to?
Jacob Anderson: They come closer every day, Pa.
Charlie Anderson: They on our land?
Jacob Anderson: No, sir.
Charlie Anderson: Then it doesn't concern us. Does it?
Lieutenant Johnson: When are you going to take this war seriously, Anderson?
Charlie Anderson: Now let me tell you something Johnson, before you get on my wrong side. My corn I take seriously, because it's mine. And my potatoes and tomatoes and my fence I take note of because they're mine. But this war is not mine and I don't take note of it.
Originally posted by anxietydisorder
Maybe the military needs to be a bit more selective when recruiting.
(I think they take any kid they can right now due to shortages)
Unfortunately, right now selectivity is not an issue due to the Army and Marines' inability to meet quotas.
More than 60 percent of Marines are younger than 25, and 16 percent are teenagers.
This is the cold, hard fact about young recruits. It is age-old and not specific, I think, to any nation in particular.
Originally posted by marg6043
Have anybody you seen the new incentive?
40 thousand dollar bonuses.
My husband bonus was only of 2 thousand dollars for re-enlistment back in the 80's and he made it to 22 years, we never saw anymore money after that.
Originally posted by SportyMB
I was a sucker for a big bonus when I reenlisted......but Im getting out in 3 more years, Im not a lifer. No way, no maam, not me