Suicides in US Army

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by stab23, Jan 30, 2009.

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  1. US Army suicides are at a new record high:

    Whilst there has been the occasional suicide amongst British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rate is extremely low compared to US. What could they learn from us?
  2. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Tour lengths.

    Remember our tour lengths have varied over the years as they tried to work out how long was long enough considering the stress that an individual would come under. 4mths? 9mths? 1yr?

    We eventually settled for 6mths for good reason.

    The US tours of 15mths and more, are in my mind, too much, particularly for combat arms. I met enough guys coming down from Mosul (10th Mountain Div, I think) who were shot away at the end of their tour. They had been been in contact pretty much every time they went out the gate for the year they had been there and it showed.

    With US Marine tour lengths being shorter than Army (7mths, I think), I wonder if there is a way to compare the suicide rates between them. It might tell us a lot.
  3. I think that you are correct that tour-lengths is a factor, but I don't think it is the entire answer. Whenever I have met US soldiers or marines there is never the same level of self-deprecating banter as in British army - the relationships always seem much more competitive and denigrating. I wonder whether that may be a factor too.
  4. I suspect tour lengths account for a significant proportion. Added to this is the very limited R&R (just 2 weeks in 365 day tour). Compound this with multiple tours, often with just a year in between.

    Perhaps most significantly, the UK's Regimental system shows its strength in being able to provide a safety-net within its ranks.
  5. Compulsary mobilisation for National Guard may be a clue..
  6. American R&R is a long haul back ot the states, and it starts the moment the soldier hits American territory. Imagine a bloke living in detroit, but landing in Florida first. There is two days gone straight away.
  7. do their guys go through any kind of 'decompression' post tour?
  8. the length of training may also be a factor
  9. The Septics also have a major RAPE problem in theater
  10. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Have you got a link that backs that statement up? I lived and worked with them in Baghdad and the only sexual problem that happened at Victory was a Capt getting done for prostitution and a PFC sent home for shagging the iraqi bloke who ran the dodgy film shack
  11. Our(U.S.Army) End Strength is over 1 million men and women(Active, Reserve, National Guard, IRR)- 128 committed Suicide last year, 44 of them had never even deployed to a Combat Zone (guess PTSD is out for them)

    Theres many reasons a Joe may Kill Himself

    Financial Problems
    Marital Problems
    UCMJ action

    Say I'm a National Guardsman Making almost $4K per month tax free while in Iraq. Wifey buys new car, furniture, etc. I come back, Demob and now am bringing home $380USD a week working for Home Depot- Cause Problems with the wife? You Betcha cause Problems with the Creditors?

    Or Come home to find Wifey had been playing Rotisserie with the UPS & FEDEX men while I'm away.

    Speaking only for My experience. My Battalion came home from Iraq in 2005. We had just under 600 Men all told.

    Of that 19 were KIA, 87 were WIA, substantial number were NBI (accidents, falls, Disease, etc). My Company started off with 124 Men in October 2004, by June 2005 we were down to 85 Effectives before the first replacement arrived.

    In the Time we have been back, there hasnt been 1 suicide from the men of the Bn.

    Our Sister Infantry Bn. has had no suicides either, nor has our supporting Artillery Bn. from the Bde.

    In fact I dont know of 1 suicide throughout the Division since well before the WTC attacks.
  12. Returned American soldiers and off duty soldiers have ready access to firearms; British soldiers usually don't. how many ex British squaddies might have reached for their pistol in the small hours, after a bottle of scotch, if they had a gun at home?

    I knew a few that did - and I suspect that if we owned guns the way the Yanks do, figures might be a lot higher.
  14. its gotta be the tour dates definately too long for them