For many, Veterans Day will bring parades honoring those who have served as well as a chance to pause and reflect upon those who are willing to pay, and have paid, the ultimate cost of service to the nation. This year, however, a disturbing trend should also be noted: For the second year in a row, however, more U.S. troops were lost to suicide throughout the force than to combat in Afghanistan or Iraq. A new report (.pdf) by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) highlights the severity of this troubling problem:
- An active service member takes his or her life every 36 hours. For veterans, the number might be as high one person every 80 minutes.
- Soldier suicides reached record-high numbers this July, with 33 active and reserve member deaths. The Army’s trend lines have been climbing since 2004, and Marine Corps suicides rose from 2006 to 2009 before dropping slightly in 2010.