Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2007

Army suicides at highest rate in 26 years

August 16, 2007


— Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release today, found there were 99 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers during 2006, up from 88 the previous year and the highest number since the 102 suicides in 1991 at the time of the Persian Gulf War.

The suicide rate for the Army has fluctuated over the past 26 years, from last year's high of 17.3 per 100,000 to a low of 9.1 per 100,000 in 2001.

Preliminary numbers for the first half of this year indicate the number of suicides could decline across the service in 2007 but increase among troops serving in the wars, officials said.


janeb 10 years, 10 months ago

Who cares if a soldier dies

Take a man and put him alone, Put him twelve thousand miles from home. Empty his heart of all but blood, Make him live in sand, in mud. This is the life I have to live, This the soul to God I give. You have your parties and drink your beer, While young men are dying over here. Plant your signs on the White House lawn;"Lets get out of Iraq" Use your signs and have your fun, Then refuse to use a gun. There's nothing else for you to do, Then I'm supposed to die for you? There is one thing that you should know; And that's where I think you should go! I'm already here and it's too late. I've traded all my love for all this hate. I'll hate you till the day I die. You made me hear my buddy cry. I saw his leg and his blood shed, Then I heard them say, "This one's dead". It was a large price for him to pay, To let you live another day. He had the guts to fight and die, To keep the freedom you live by. By his dying, your life he buys, But who cares if a Soldier dies!

sean63g10 10 years, 10 months ago

I am a vet from 03-04 and when I returned to the united states I was left in doubt and and unsure, confused. there is no help programs the "buddy system" is a broken sysytem and policing your own doesn't work. I am ashamed to admit I attempted suicide in 05'

Confrontation 10 years, 10 months ago

It's really sad that more mental health services aren't being provided to those in the military. These men and women would be blessed if they could receive the services that are available to the daughters of Dubya and children of the Congressmen. Best of luck to you, sean63g10.

staff04 10 years, 10 months ago

After 6+ years of slashing away at the benefits of veterans and active military, are we really surprised that the resources aren't there for these guys?

Sorry, r_t, but your attempt to make a point failed.

Sure, when the soldier signed up he knew there were risks and consequences. But when you say that there are no surprises, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. When he signed up, he signed up with the understanding that certain benefits and resources were going to be made available to him, only to have the rug yanked out from under him as soon as he finished that last pen stroke. I'd call that a surprise...and an all too common one.

kmat 10 years, 10 months ago

I wanted to post on here something for RT and the others that have so blindly supported this mess they call a war. You always say you support the troops and liberals don't. Supporting the troops would be providing them with the mental care they need after returning home from battle. I just think this little rant from my buddy, ex-special ops, needs to be read by all. It sums up the hypocrits that say they support the soldiers, but really don't. Maybe if we all really supported the troops like we should, we wouldn't be seeing headlines like this one.

"Now, in the work that I did a few years back, support our troops meant that I was supposed to call in reports up until the time that our other teams were inserted a day or two later. Or, it meant I was to alternate suppressive fire with my buddy at another M60 machine gun position. Or, it meant "air support" and I would call in a fire mission from an orbiting gunship. "Support our troops" also meant being put on a plane to take my dead buddy's boots and beret to his Mom and Dad, and by the way, that was back in the days before they handed out berets to cooks, clerks, and f*ck all everybody else who could fit (some just barely) into BDUs. I wish I could mandate that each and every citizen with "patriotic" stickers provide a biometric registration with DOD. I would then direct them to drive their SUVs to a nearby military installation, sign the vehicle over to a transportation officer, then assist the loadmaster to strap it down in a Lockheed C-5 bay, and then go up and take a seat topside with the other inductees. Following arrival for deployment, each citizen would be issued a map (no cheating with GPS), a helmet, a worn-out road guard vest, and an old National Guard rifle with 10 rounds of 5.56mm ball (not to be confused with nice new SS109 rounds for M4s), and proceed to "support our troops" by driving a patrol route with their "support our troops" bumper stickers proudly displayed (and providing a nice, bright center of mass marker for the stadia of an RPG sight). To protect against small arms fire, they can hang plates on the doors just like the real troops do when they "go to war with the Army you've got" as Rumsfeld has soldiers do to fight for the rhetoric that he calls "freedom."

Got any comments RT? These guys signed up for service, but signed up believing they would only be put in harms way to protect our country and that they would be given everything they need to complete the mission, which includes their care when they return. Bush Co. hasn't kept their side of the deal and these high suicide rates are one of the consequences. They were sent to battle for lies and oil money and now can't even get basic services when they are allowed to finally return. But Bush and Cheney get great medical care!

Flap Doodle 10 years, 10 months ago

Oh, LJW, 1991 was 16 years ago, not 26 years ago.

chet_larock 10 years, 10 months ago

"That's really all I can muster."

Big surprise there.

EXks 10 years, 10 months ago

3, 4, and 5 tours of duty and extending tours of duty from 12 months to 16 months and beyond.....

Recruiters are now missing their quota goals, Who wants to wager as to when the draft will be reinstated, especially since "W" has war plans for Iran??

funkdog1 10 years, 10 months ago

sean63g10: There's no shame in trying to commit suicide.

right_thinker: So people should "know" what they're getting into when they sign up for war, huh? Were you so brilliant at 18, 19 or 20 years old? Because I know I wasn't. I can remember plenty of stupid things I did at that age. That's what's so horrible about recruiting...the people who are old enough to know better manage to convince those who don't that going to war is a glorious thing.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 10 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle If you reread the article you may realize that the "26 years ago" and "1991" are not necessarily, or even likely referencing the same year and numbers...

Flap Doodle 10 years, 10 months ago

So what was going on in 1981 that caused such a high suicide rate?

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 10 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle This is a rather brief blurb without much information... I'm guessing that there are lengthier articles available other places on line that maybe would answer your question... And... you could be right... that the article is in error and was meant reference the same year and numbers, with a ten year discrepancy... but I doubt it...

Flap Doodle 10 years, 10 months ago

For comparison, a CDC study looking at data for 2003 from six states found a suicide rate of 19.42 per 100,000 people for males between the ages of 19 and 64. I'll look for a longer version of this story & see what turns up.

SloMo 10 years, 10 months ago

Right(eous) "thinker",

I fully support your first ammendment rights, but your response to Sean was awfully slimey, even for you.

However, you did say "with all due respect," so I guess that make it OK (welcome to Idiocracy).

Flap Doodle 10 years, 10 months ago

After a little searching, I found that the military has only been tracking suicide rates since 1981. More info at: and

LJW's four paragraph blurb doesn't seem adequate.

Kodiac 10 years, 10 months ago

"LJW's four paragraph blurb doesn't seem adequate."-- snap

Not sure what the confusion is over? There is a difference between the suicide "rate" vs. the number of suicides. So it is possible to have a higher rate of suicide but a lower "number" of actual suicides (meaning that there is a lower number in the overall total population). It is also possible to look at the "rate" suicide for this year and extrapolate for the rest of this year and make a prediction of what the number of suicides will be in a given area. I am wondering why you think it isn't adequate?

Bill Chapman 10 years, 10 months ago

This may only be a side issue, but some of those reservists have been coming home to find that they no longer have jobs. Sometimes it is because the business closed, had a layoff, or some other "legitimate" reason for firing someone who is supposed to have their job when they get back from duty.

Were it not for a medical condition, I would most likely be over there right now. I am one of those people who was counting on joining up, doing one or two tours of duty, and then going to college. A relative of mine was hit by a sniper during a patrol's stop to investigate a possible IED. He survived(with injuries that keep him from any military duty), but has received little help in post-service job or education assistance. He now works 2 part-time jobs because his injuries make it difficult to keep a full-time job.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 10 months ago

It might have been more clear to say "The suicide rate of military personnel reached a new high in 2006. The previous highest rate was recorded in 1991. In 1981 the US military began keeping records of suicides." And then go on to give some data on suicide rates for the general population to give some perspective.

beatrice 10 years, 10 months ago

"So what was going on in 1981 that caused such a high suicide rate?"

Easy. Reagan was President.

Kodiac 10 years, 10 months ago

"There are no surprises" -- RT

"This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adven-ture to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war." From "All Quiet on the Western Front"

I can't imagine what it would mean to be a soldier, someone who is confronted with the possibility of being blown to pieces at any moment and has to kill human beings to survive. I can't imagine what it means to be injured and traumatized by war and have my selfhood pretty much annihilated. I probably never will. I do imagine that there is no amount of "teaching" or "training" that can prepare you for anything like that. No, no surprises, just a lifetime of trying to deal with grief, fear, and despair.

purplesage 10 years, 10 months ago

I heard this story earlier. What I heard made it sound as if this suicide rate was the "highest ever". Only later was it acknowledged that the numbers had only been kept for the last 25 or so years - exclusive of Viet Nam, the draft, Korea, etc.. I wonder what impact the constant bashing of the war effort by the media?

These young volunteers sign up for a variety of reasons. Money. College money. A job. Patriotism. A sense of invincibility and glory. Half a world away from home, reality sets in and war shows what it really is.

General MacArthur stated, on the decks of the Missouri, that we had had our last chance, that there must be discovered a different manner of solving disputes. Over 60 years later, nations and persons are still at it. Wars cost lives - and some, at least, of those who take their own lives are war's victims, too.

ctrmhero 10 years, 10 months ago

I am one of those soldiers that came home to lost income and bills do as soon as I came off of active duty. I have been in the same battalion my entire guard career. We have had more suicides within the time from when we returned from Iraq till now than in my previous 15 years. Dispite the continued rhetoric, when you come back the Army at least tries to talk you out of getting the mental health or physical treatment you need. This issue touches very close to me because in June my roomate from Iraq had just returned from duty in Greensburg and killed himself. He was struggling but didn't know where or to who to go. I will likely blame myself for that till I die. Even though he was not in my company any longer. R.I.P. DJ

Tychoman 10 years, 10 months ago

Beatrice you beat me to it.

RT once again you're the master of senseless generalizations.

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