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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Military suicides from 2012 more than entire Vietnam War?

Military suicides from 2012 more than entire Vietnam War?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 16, 2013

We can pretend all of this is new. That somehow young men and women entering into the military are more prone to suicide, or whatever excuse the military has been offering so far, but excuses do not explain what is going on.
Military suicide problem hits home at MacDill
Tampa Tribune
By Howard Altman
Tribune Staff
Published: July 15, 2013

Douglas Caldas was the life of any party, according to his brother and girlfriend, a guy who could bring two disparate groups together just by pulling off a joke. He was a hard worker with track record of success at his job.

But on Friday, the Air Force senior airman from New Jersey, who had been stationed at MacDill Air Force Base for four years, stabbed himself to death, according to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office. Caldas, one of more than 100 confirmed military suicides so far this year, was 25.

Suicide is a problem the military is struggling to handle. There were 488 confirmed military suicides around the globe last year and another 27 suspected, compared with 298 deaths in combat. The trend is continuing this year - 102 confirmed and 66 suspected suicides, compared with 75 combat deaths, according to figures compiled by the Tribune last month from records kept by the individual services.

Last year, the Pentagon introduced a suicide prevention plan that called for increased responsibility by military leaders; improved quality and access to health care; elevated mental fitness; and increased research into suicide prevention.

Yet men and women continue to kill themselves.

"There have been so many (suicides) lately," said Wynn Dressler, 28, an Air Force staff sergeant, who had been living with Caldas for the past 10 months. "When I was in Turkey, there were three when I was there. I know another girl who was here prior, she committed suicide. Another guy came back and his wife was cheating on him. He blew his head off in base police cop car."
read more here

Gee that sounds really bad but also wrong. For starters, the DOD has not released the suicide reports for May or June yet. They are also wrong because they have not completed the Suicide Event Report for 2012. All we can do right now is guess based on what they do end up telling reporters. The facts are in the comprehensive reports researchers have been waiting for.

First we need to look at the Vietnam War to see what has been missed by journalists.
Number of Records

ACCIDENT
9,107

DECLARED DEAD
1,201

DIED OF WOUNDS
5,299

HOMICIDE
236

ILLNESS
938

KILLED IN ACTION
40,934

PRESUMED DEAD (BODY REMAINS RECOVERED)
32

PRESUMED DEAD (BODY REMAINS NOT RECOVERED)
91

SELF-INFLICTED
382

Total Records
58,220


382 Confirmed "self-inflicted during the entire Vietnam War. Last year alone the DOD reported more than that number for 2012. While the full Department of Defense Suicide Event report has not been released for last year we do have an idea of what had been happening before the record high number of suicides.

From THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR
2003 Army 79 26 while deployed
2004 Army 67 13 while deployed
2005 Army 87 25 while deployed
2006 Army 99 30 while deployed
(Army Suicide Prevention Program Fact Sheet, Army Public Affairs, August 17, 2007) 2007 Army 115 36 while deployed (50 deployed prior to suicide and 29 not deployed)

The following is from the Department of Defense Suicide Event Report.
Air Force Suicides Confirmed and Pending (2011 page 93)
2008 45
2009 43
2010 60
2011 50
241 Airmen who attempted suicide in 251 separate incidents.
Army Confirmed and Pending Suicides (2011 page 128)
2008 140
Suicide attempts 570 Of the 140 suicides, 34 (24%) occurred in OIF-OEF. One hundred sixteen suicide attempts (12%) were reported to have occurred in OIF-OEF. Nineteen percent of Soldiers with completed suicides, and 14% of Soldiers with suicide attempts, had a history of multiple deployments to Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Of suicide events reported as occurring in theater, the majority was reported to have occurred in Iraq.


2009 164
Army DoDSERs Submitted for Non-Fatal Events 2,047 Army DoDSERs for non-fatal events were submitted for 2009. Of these, 502 (25%) were submitted for suicide attempts, 347 (17%) for instances of self-harm without intent to die, and 1198 (59%) for suicidal ideation only


2010 160
DoDSERs provide data on suicide attempts for 400 individuals. Two attempts were reported (DoDSERs submitted) for 11 (2.75%) individuals, and three for one individual (0.25%). Additionally, four Soldiers with a 2010 suicide attempt DoDSER subsequently died by suicide in 2010 and were also included in the preceding section.


2011 167
440 DoDSERs for 2011 Army suicide attempts. As indicated in Table 5.29, these DoDSERs provide data on suicide attempts for 432 individuals. Two suicide attempt DoDSERs were submitted for 8 (1.85%) individuals 2011 Army suicide attempts 432 individuals with 440 attempts


Marines Confirmed and Pending
2008 42
2009 52
2010 37
2011 32
2011 156 Marines who attempted suicide in 157 separate incidents
Navy Confirmed and Pending
2008 41
2009 47
2010 38
2011 52
2011 87 Navy suicide attempts
Department of Defense Suicide Event Report for 2011
For 2011 there were 935 attempted suicides in the military with 915 individuals trying to kill themselves. 896 tried once, 18 tried twice and 1 tried three times.

It is important you know those numbers because of what is in this book. For 2012 it was reported that there were 179 attempted military suicides and the headlines all seemed to read the same way. 349 suicides were successful.
These are the deaths from suicides for 2012.
Army 182
Army National Guards 96
Army Reserves 47
Marines 48
Air Force 59
Navy 60
492 total reported suicides from one year alone.

While these numbers continue to be revised, again, the full report has not been released including the number of attempted suicides.

During the Vietnam War, many were drafted and were forced to be there but the war produced less suicides than when the US began an all volunteer force. So what makes the numbers higher now? Considering since 2006 the Congress and the DOD have funded billions every year in "prevention" you would think there would have been hearings as to what is causing the increase. Then again, you'd also have to believe they are willing to open their eyes, figure out what they got wrong and actually fix it. When we end up with one year's worth of military suicides higher than during the entire Vietnam war after they started to address it, every journalist in the country should be jumping all over this, but they ignore it.

The military loves to play a little game of hide and seek. If they discharge them, they don't have to count them. Then they get lumped into the veteran suicide figures instead of ending up on the DOD accounts. If you read just a few of the links under military suicides, you'll find some of their stories. All of them would have had the "prevention" training and subjected to testing before they were discharged. The DOD wants us to think they have nothing to do with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder even though most of the news reports we read are tied to PTSD among combat veterans.

There is one more frightening aspect to all of this. While at least 22 veterans a day commit suicide, the majority of them are Vietnam veterans. Considering the explosion of active duty suicides already, many more graves will be filled because no one asked for the answers and no one was held accountable.

5 comments:

thomas fulton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thomas fulton said...

I get your perspective of military suicides buy I think you need to know the facts before assuming Caldas committed suicide due to the military. It was SSgt Dressler who was the driving force to Caldas committing. Caldas told Dressler he was depressed BC she broke up with him BC she was very jealous. Last week before he committed be was drinking heavy and telling her he was depressed and he wanted to talk. She ignored him. Had she gave him the time and used the tools the air force taught her to not ignore signs he would have been alive today. He had been making threats all week. Her lack of regard to his life is what is making her live with this guilt for the rest of her life.

thomas fulton said...

Its time people realize that SSgt Dressler is playing victim. She took this situation as a joke and she and the leadership at her sq the 6 MDSS are to blame. Col Vietas, Col Ayers and MSgt Yolanda Brazele. They knew these two were in a unprofessional relationship and their failure to give them a direct order to stop it caused a young , innocent Airman death.

Kathie Costos DiCesare said...

There is a lot of things going on that are not new compared to Vietnam. What is "new" and different is that PTSD and suicides have had the military spending billions a year on prevention but they have increased beyond the point when nothing was being done. That screams what they are doing is doing more harm than good. They can use any excuse they want but the facts are still facts.
During Vietnam there were sexual assaults, hazing, you name it and just as many excuses. They can twist the data anyway they want but they can't open their eyes to see what everyone else sees.
I hope justice comes for all the families hit by this.

Wynn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.