U.S. military suicides remain high for 7th year


The Pentagon reported Friday that 265 active-duty service members killed themselves last year, continuing a trend of unusually high suicide rates that have plagued the U.S. military for at least seven years.
The numbers of suicides among troops was 145 in 2001 and began a steady increase until more than doubling to 321 in 2012, the worst year in recent history for service members killing themselves.
The suicide rate for the Army that year was nearly 30 suicides per 100,000 soldiers, well above the national rate of 12.5 per 100,000 for 2012.
Military suicides dropped 20% the year after that, and then held roughly steady at numbers significantly higher than during the early 2000s. The 265 suicides last year compares with 273 in 2014 and 254 in 2013. By contrast, from 2001 through 2007, suicides never exceeded 197.

U.S. military suicides remain high for 7th year

Could it be the atmosphere soldiers have to endure with rules of engagement that get them killed and if wounded knowing that they may not get health care which may be needed the rest of their lives?

Could it be soldiers are thought of as raving manics with right wing tendencies bent on killing civilians though it is not true?

Could it be soldiers told they can not practice their christian faith and are inundated with muslim propaganda are sick of it? And more?


Few issues bring me to tears quicker than the abuse of veterans. I have seen it in Canada for decades, veterans often treated like garbage, veteran affair ministers who are unfit and insulting, even confrontational with World War II veterans if you can believe it (Julien Fantino, maybe the worst politician in the history of Canadian politics). He took offense to one of these feisty old heroes daring to point their finger at him…but I disgress.

Forget all of the entitlements people want and believe they should receive, no citizen is more deserving of assistance and is more in need of resources than those who put their lives on the line and experience horrors first hand. Every citizen on both sides of the border owe a debt to these veterans. This issue of suicide is rampant and it needs to be addressed! As much as such a tragedy can.

The excuse in Canada has always been that the resources exist but veterans don’t use them, I’m not sure of the circumstances in the U.S, but it has been a prevailing issue that won’t go away.


Could it be the atmosphere soldiers have to endure with rules of engagement that get them killed and if wounded knowing that they may not get health care which may be needed the rest of their lives?
Could it be soldiers are thought of as raving manics with right wing tendencies bent on killing civilians though it is not true?
Could it be soldiers told they can not practice their christian faith and are inundated with muslim propaganda are sick of it? And more?

While those “could” be causes I find them doubtful. A much more logical & common problem our soldiers face is deployments…Lots of deployments. You see our serving men & women have been rotating in & our of war zones at a tremendous rate & that causes stress. Put yourself in their place. How would you like to leave your family for 2 or 3 years within a 5 year period? How would your spouse feel about it? What strain would it put on your marriage or for that matter personal life just being gone that much? Oh & many of those places that your going to those missing years have people trying to kill you. That brings on stress to.
When people look at the total numbers of our military they tend to forget that a lot of them are support personal. Remove those people from combat type jobs & there’s a real shortage in the military. Even at our little base when our people were tasked to go over local civilian guards were hired to keep the base secure. Think about how short you have to be to have to do that?


I lean towards your thinking. What I believe is there some key factors.

When I got drafted Jan '67, they did draft married folks, nor could you be married in the Army until you made the rank of Sgt E 5 IIRC. They enforced this by having you live on post. Granted there were soldiers who lived off post with a wife, but they did NOT draw housing pay and the pay was very low your first couple of years at the bottom ranks.

FACTOR 1: The bottom ranks are full of married soldiers. They are young with young wives, they are both immature and are facing some challenges that few folks in civvy life ever will.

When my dad went to war WWII, he left the day after Pearl and did not return until the war was already over. He had no commo with my mother other than mail, there were not cell fones, face time, face book etc When I left for Vietnam it was a 13 mo assignment unlike my dads. I like my dad fought a war, there were few restrictions on us out in the field and I like my dad went out and stayed out. Today the combat soldier goes out and often comes back at night to a warm/cool quarter, hot meal, drinkable water and a shower.

FACTOR 2: War is hell and this back and forth stuff puts a lot of UNCERTAINTY into ones life and that is bad for anyone.

FACTOR 3: Like my dad who did a Pacific Island tour, I stayed outside the wire my entire time and I knew we were go after the bad guys like crap goes thru a goose, were going to mop the rice paddies with azzes and for everyone of them who killed one of our gusy we were gonna kill a hundred of theirs. We were winners on the battlefield. Today, the only winners are the bad guys, we can’t go here, can’t go there, can’t shoot in that direction, can’t shoot unless fired upon…WHY the hell am I over here if I cannot fight and win, that is the American way since the 1700’s.

Add it up and look at it: Wife and kids back home and the soldier is only 20 years old, fighting a war he is not winning because the guy in the WH is not a winner, and that 20 year old kid and not even pray in his own foxhole, while being fed a line of crap about Muslims who he is his enemy. He like me and my dad stroked a check to the US of A that we would give all and all meant our very life for our country and yet we don’t even allow them to fight for it.

Suicide, can you blame them?

SOLUTION: Go back to pre Volunteer Army. You live in a barracks with 40 other guys, you barely have enough pay to buy beer, if sent to fight you go to kill every SOB in the rice paddy, the desert or where ever the hell the bad guys are, you figh and you win and when you go, you go till the job is finished, then you come home. If you decide to stay in the military, in about 3 years or so you make Sgt and it brings with it one hellva payday, now you buy that new car, now you can afford to get married. And for those who chose not to stay, if you do go to fight a war when you come home and get out you got a full ride scholarship that will give you an education to the Masters level and PhD on approval.


For those that don’t know … When I said deploy 2 or 3 times in a 5 year period, those deployments could be for a year at a time. And of course here I’m talking about being deployed. That’s not always the case in all career fields. Just the other day I watched a video on Navy Seals wives. One wife pointed out that she had been stationed at the same place for years. BUT they go out on missions. Her husband had been out on missions 235 days the prior year. He had come home early because of an IUD which broke both legs in 2 different places. Again, military equals stress. Higher suicide rates & higher alcoholism rates. They go with the job.


I don’t know what service you were in, but I was in the Army from 1960 through most of 1968. There were NO RESTRICTIONS on marrying for ANYONE. Yes, as an E4 it was difficult, but I rented a little 1 bedroom bungalow at first and later moved into on-post housing at the Presidio of Monterey when I started language school as an E5. I bought my first car as an E4, fresh home from Korea, too. (A 1962 Galaxy 500 Sunliner with a 390 ci engine!) After I received my direct commission, things got markedly better, but still not great.


I was talking to a COL not long ago and he was going on his 12th deployment. I said WTH, 12 YEARS that is crazy as I looked at his wife. He no, not 12 years, just 12 depolyments, then he told me they run anywhere from 20 to 180 days, but most of his were about 60 days…Ohhh…

I was at Ft Monre Va, TRADOC HQ from '85 to '94. Almost unheard of in the Officer ranks. But I sat in the only Software engineering slot they had and in those days there were not a lot of SW engineers in the military. That said, I was in a travel status almost 52 weeks per years, I racked up over 2 MILLION air miles in that time. Worked for me as I was single.


Don that reminded me of a neighbor that I had. He worked on planes & was TDY very very often. (Basically where his planes went, he went). We were stationed at a forward base where the planes couldn’t really go any closer (without attacking). After 14 months of being there his wife sat him down & told him that he needed to either go TDY or back away from trying to “run” the household. She was so used to him not being there that she had the house running like a smooth running machine. When he would come home she would treat him like a God for a couple of months & then he’s be off again. Only this time he was there all the time & he was driving her crazy trying to “help” with everything.
It takes a special kind of woman (or spouse) to be married to someone in the military. I know my ex wasn’t one of them.