The National Guard and Reserves have been hard hit lately by the casualty toll of the Iraq War, taking over 50% of U.S. casualties in the last two
months. These units now account for something like 25% of all U.S. casualties in Iraq to date. According to National Guard officials, their soldiers
are seeing combat in Iraq in unprecedented numbers.
Reservists suffering much higher share of casualties
WASHINGTON — The National Guard and Reserves are suffering a strikingly higher share of U.S. casualties in Iraq, their portion of total American
military deaths nearly doubling since last year.
Reservists have accounted for one-quarter of all U.S. deaths since the Iraq war began, but the proportion has grown over time. It was 10 percent for
the five weeks it took to topple Baghdad in the spring of 2003, and 20 percent for 2004 as a whole.
The trend accelerated this year. For the first nine months of 2005 reservists accounted for 36 percent of U.S. deaths, and for August and September it
was 56 percent, according to Pentagon figures.
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This is not a good trend. To me, it means that our front line active duty troops are overextended and the rotation of active forces is impacting the
NG and Reserves to an unsustainable level in the short term. The rotation of active forces back into the front lines has to mitigate this trend
This unprecedented increase in combat duty for the NG and Reservists also places an additional burden on the home front. Not only are they taken away
from their duties here providing an additional layer of response and protection to us, but they have been taken away from their jobs and families as
well, creating hardship here for triple their numbers there.
Meanwhile, every branch of the military but the Corps is way behind on recruiting goals, and the problem doesn't look like it will go away anytime
soon. To the contrary, it looks like troop rotation needs will keep bringing it around periodically.
Something needs to be done, and soon. Re-instate the draft? Please. I don't see that happening. Reduce troop levels? Withdraw from Afghanistan?
Add more 'civilian contractors'? What?
[edit on 10/17/05 by FredT]