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13 July 2012

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Matthew

Col: Any idea what the suicide rate is in the British Army or other forces with personnel who have deployed/not deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan?

What was the suicide rate between 1980 and 1990? I'm really curious about the data set.

turcopolier

Matthew

No idea. pl

Tyler

I think there were a lot of people let in who should not have been there in the first place. I remember a lot of drug use, a lot of 'I don't give a fuck', and a lot of chickenshit.

You are on the money, Sir, when you say that if these mothers raised thier children like this, then this is what they deserve. If only thier children had the grace to not wrap themselves in the cloth of the soldier as an excuse for thier actions which would result in an otherwise unremarked upon death.

Al Spafford


ahhh, a lot of conjecture here so far on "mommies boys" in that 52%---without a micro-bit of data to support. For those families who have lost a son or daughter to military duty suicide very UNDESERVING, Mr. Tyler!

turcopolier

Al Spafford

Ah. social "science" crap. Tyler and I know soldiers. Do you? pl

Al Spafford

Yes I served in the 60s.

Al Spafford

Also, many family member's who have served in military going up to '90s and going back to GreatGreatGrandfather, I00th Illinois Volunteers Infantry Regiment who died at Chickamauga.

turcopolier

AS

Yes, well that was he and not you. As for your service in the 60s, did anyone in your unit kill himself? pl

Al Spafford

My 1st reply must not have gone thru--I did serve in the 60s, non-combat and stateside, like the status of those 52%--and never contemplated suicide.

Tyler

What is your conjecture? That they were just poor misunderstood boys? The type of person who was always on suicide watch was the exact type of person that the Colonel spoke of. Waaah, I can't make my bed. Waaah, I have to be at formation. Waaah, the sergeant called me a mean name. They're at the unit for two months out of basic and already saying "fuck the Army", as if they know what the Army is.

The media loves to make up narratives about these boys, but they're weak, plain and simple. Alan Seeger was a the kind of romantic soul that people imagine these types to be, but he went and took a bullet for the French Foreign Legion. Siegfired Sassoon went into the trenches and came back ready to light some fires under the collective asses of the British people. They may have been 'misunderstood', but they were still strong at heart, unlike these others.

Will Reks

This is undoubtedly true. That said, the Army doesn't seem to dig very deep into people's backgrounds and accepts what people put down on the application unless you choose a mos requiring a ts clearance.

Even a minimum stress environment like tradoc causes many to crack.

E L

In the civilian population, 85+% of the suicides have drugs and/or alcohol in significant quantities in their systems. I suspect the same is true for the military.

Bill H

My father was career USA, USAAF and USAF, 43 years. He didn't do that without dedication to the service. My mother pretty much hated the service and was always after Dad to become a civilian. They were still married when he died of cancer ten years after he finally did retire. I watched this conflict as a child without understanding it at all, knowing only that it was conflict. I grew to admire Dad's dedication to his country, to the service and to his marriage as I became an adult. He had to really work at it, and he paid a hell of a price. It would not surprise me if a man would be unable to deal with it, and I would not be critical of him.

We never know wht brings a man to that choice, and we should be slow to judge.

turcopolier

Bill H
Your father had nothing to do with the 52%. pl

Tyler

Your father sounds like a good man, and he knew what duty and sacrifice were. I am sorry for your loss.

The boys we are talking about break under the first sign of stress. They talk about killing themselves the first time they get dropped in the front leaning rest by a Specialist for not having their boots polished, shocked that no one has any sympathy for thier inability to do a task correctly.

A sniper sergeant from my old unit committed suicide last year - wife, kids, and he shot himself. I don't know what demons he had, but I do know that suicide does claim some of the 'good ones' who life is just too big for.

Al Spafford

Did you know the families of those on suicide watch? If so, you must have been very busy traveling and assessing those families to determine the "mommies' boys" scenario . Your cause and effect reasoning perhaps very limited, if not.

Yohan

I would be curious to see how many of the 52% were deeply in debt.

The abundance of credit and the amount of indebtedness seems to be something relatively new in the military, or were there always so many pay-day loan places around Ft. Bragg?

turcopolier

yohan

Yes, indebtedness of junior enlisted men was always a major problem. Even during the draft we used to process junior soldiers out of the army for unsuitablility if they did not respond to counseling about debt. pl

Bill H

I'm not suggesting he did, Col, for one thing he was in the European Theater in WW2, including Battle of the Bulge, and ran a MASH unit in Korea. I'm just saying that we do not know. Relocations and military life place stress on marriage, among other things that can test a man in ways we don't understand.

Even back when I was in boot camp (60 years ago!), I experienced what others have mentioned, the spoiled generation who could not follow orders, keep uniforms in order, make beds and the like. It was about then that I began to appreciate who my old man was and what he had done for me.

We still don't know why Junior Seau killed himself.

turcopolier

Bill H

There were weaklings then and there are weakling now. IMO there are a lot more now.. Society has changed and there are many fewer demands placed on young people today. There are not enough kids who find a way to work, who are required to do chores regularly or who do some really difficult thing like going to swimming practise every day before school.

You are not doing it but some here are enablers of weakness of character. pl

Al Spafford

Not aware of any suicides back then--several discharged for drug use, though, even "glue sniffers" that I still shake my head at for their stupidity. I enlisted as I found my 1st yr at college not for me (nor them) and military service was a respected path in our family. As a young man the military gave me positive structure which I responded to. I would estimate that 20-25% of fellow recruits did not respond satisfactory back then. But no suicide or even attempts by them that I was aware of.

turcopolier

Al Spafford

I was a rifle platoon leader from 1962 to 1964. The riflemen werea nearly all draftees or draft induced volunteers. The senior NCOs were regulars and all about 15 years older than I, 44 men in all. Two men attempted suicide in the two years, both privates and both because they were gay and found it impossible to live with all these men. One slashed his wrists and the other strapped an artillery simulator to his abdomen and pulled the pin. This resulted in a bad burn. i went to see them in hospital along with the platoon sergeant who was a closeted gay. i told these fellows that if they wanted we would process them for discharge. They did, and we did. I believe that thay received 'unfit" discharges. the platoon sergeant eventually retired into the NY State Police. plpl

Amir

For those that are actually interested in some facts:
http://www.afhsc.mil/viewMSMR?file=2012/v19_n06.pdf#Page=7

Basilisk

Amir,
Fascinating data. I worked with a guy who always said "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem." I suspect that it is really a whole mosaic of problems, and the problems look more insoluble from the inside than from the outside.

It appears that there is a clustering in the white, male, 20-29 with a significant bump for divorced/separated, though the correlation of marital status to age is not clear. I doubt there is really enough data to support the conclusions about "momma's boys."

I would say give it a rest lest you should be accused of social science crap.

turcopolier

Basilisk

You're right. Most of today's kids would do very well in the Air Force. pl

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