Army Suicides Reach One a Day; Epidemic Spreads to National Guard and Reserves

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The U.S. Army, along with the National Guard and Army Reserves, averaged a suicide a day in June, making what already was a bad year even worse.

Thirty-two soldiers, including 11 in the Guard and Reserve, killed themselves last month, a rate of suicide not seen since the Vietnam War. Seven of the suicides took place I Iraq or Afghanistan.
During the first six months of 2010, 65 members of the Guard and Reserve took their own lives, compared with 42 for the same period in 2009.
Although the strain of multiple deployments is often cited as a major cause in the rise in military suicides, this is only occasionally a factor in National Guard and Reserves cases. Some observers feel that the military suffers from a drastic shortage of mental health professionals.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
National Guard and Reserve Suicide Rates Climbing (by David Goldstein, McClatchy Newspapers)
Pentagon Begins Massive Suicide Study (by Jamie Mei Cheng, AllGov)


Seamus MacNemi 13 years ago
The ideas of good and bad that we meet in peace time in civilian life do not apply in the same way in combat. One must be willing to take any option that offers tactical advantage. You do not always have to shoot to kill. Some times it is far more advantageous to shoot to wound and incapacitate an enemy. If an enemy hides behind a civilian such as a child then you can shoot out his legs and drop him creating an additional burden for his forces because then his comrads will be tasked to rescue him or risk his being captured. Either way the enemy's forces are diminished increasing your own potential for success.
sanjib sinha 13 years ago
Stop US imperialist war worldwide ! Stop Nato ! Join our world communist group !
Daniel 13 years ago
The Pentagon report has actually statistically shown that soldiers with fewer deployments are more at risk than those who have been deployed numerous times. It looks more like domestic problems started by disregard for consequences of criminal activity compounded by the stress of the military lifestyle and a lack of discipline from the victim's commanding officer is to blame for the suicides than is guilt at heinous acts of war. If you don't believe me, I recommend you watch this video and come to your own conclusion: However, I will also say this explains how the same trend could be happening in the National Guard and Reserves. It is fairly clear as well whether you're in the "guilt trip" camp or the "domestic problems" camp that there is an absence of leadership among the CO's. There are stories of CO's not even knowing their own people committed suicide until three or four weeks after the fact.
Anonymous 13 years ago
How would you feel if you woke up and realized you were the bad guy?
Mike 13 years ago
It isn't rocket science to understand that when you put people into situations where they are forced to go outside of themselves and commit heinous acts of violence upon their fellow human beings, be it from peer pressure, orders to do so from higher command and/or for survival itself you are going to get individuals that cannot cope with the fundamental realities of what they have seen and done on the battlefield. Top this predicament off with the fact that if a soldier goes to the medical staff seeking help and proclaiming they are having psychological disturbances due to combat stress, they are often looked down upon by fellow soldiers, put on heavy mind numbing medication and left to come to terms with whatever is causing these disturbances, alone. Once these people return to what is supposed to be a "safe" place and have the opportunity to decompress and reflect on what they did while deployed in combat, guarantees the fact that a certain percentage of these people will be unable to deal with reality and conclude that their best option is to commit suicide.
Baal 13 years ago
In the army, it's called an acceptable statistics. Since your job is to kill, loosing less than 1% of your force per year is normal.
Major Variola (ret) 13 years ago
These own-goals won't get their names on the US's first and only memorial to ongoing wars --the pillars in Irvine, Ca. The monument has space for 8K names, will be done this fall, and will be updated with new names yearly.
Fawkes21 13 years ago
I wonder how many of these suicides were in the 101st Airborne. Last year the division's commander essentially ordered all members NOT to kill themselves. (No info on the penalty for disobeying -- posthumous court-martial and retroactive dishonorable discharge, perhaps.) "It is against Roman law to take one's own life. The penalty is death." -- from "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"

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