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Unnecessary military training deaths

Posted by John Reed on

Men die unnecessarily in military training. Why? Because the military is a bureaucracy and bureaucracies make otherwise normal people behave as if they were stupid or uncaring. More people die in the military bureaucracy than in other types of bureaucracies because the military has a macho self-image and their efforts to live up to that image often mean taking imprudent chances or being biased in favor of dealing with all difficulty or danger with toughness. In many cases, no amount of toughness could have saved the military personnel in question from injury or death.

I hope that by calling attention to these stupid injuries and deaths that I will help get the military to clean up its act. But I will not hold my breath. This crap has been going on for centuries in the military. Second best result would be to save the lives of prospective military personnel who will read this and decide these clowns are too incompetent for me to trust them with my life.

Death of Army Sergeant Lawrence Sprader at Fort Hood, TX 6/8-07 from heat stroke during map-reading exercise in desert

V.I.P. Demonstration deaths

The email that circulated in March, 2008 about the number of active-duty military deaths in the last five administrations
Below is a table from a report that has been partially circulated through emails. The email version shows the totals, but not the causes of death and thereby suggests that George W. Bush had fewer military deaths per year than his four predecessors in spite of the Iraq and Afghan wars. True, but I immediately wanted to know the causes of the deaths in the non-war years. Accident is the main cause of active-duty serviceperson deaths except during the Iraq/Afghan years. The fact that there have long been too many deaths by accident in the U.S. military is the point of this article and of the two articles to which there are links above.

I read the entire report and found the table below which breaks the deaths down by cause. One interesting thing that I found was that only about 2,500 have died as a result of hostile action in Iraq and Afghanistan, not the 4,000-dead Iraq-only figure the Left loves to talk about.

Also, the main reason for the relatively high numbers of non-hostile-action deaths in the Reagan years is the relatively large size of the U.S. military back then—about 2,000,000 active duty personnel. Since the end of the Reagan Administration, the number on active duty in the U.S. military has declined gradually to the current level of approximately 1.4 million. The deaths caused by accident as well as homicide, illness, suicide have generally been proportional to the number of people in the military. A similar chart could probably be made for the U.S. Postal Service with similar numbers of deaths per thousand employees. The only meaningful columns are those for “Hostile Action” and “Terrorist Attack” (which I would have thought was a hostile attack).

By the way, in spite of urging readers to check the FAS.org Web site to confirm the numbers, the email has incorrect figures for 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006.

Table 5. U.S. Active Duty Military Deaths, 1980 Through 2006,
Part II, Cause of Death

Calendar
Year

Total Deaths

Accident Hostile Action Homicide Illness Pending Self
Inflicted
Terrorist
Attack
Undetermined President
1980 2,392 1,556   174 419   231 1 1 Carter
1981 2,380 1,524   145 457   241   13 Reagan
1982 2,319 1,495   108 446   254   16 Reagan
1983 2,465 1,413 18 115 419   218 263 19 Reagan
1984 1,999 1,293 1 84 374   225 6 16 Reagan
1985 2,252 1,476   111 363   275 5 22 Reagan
1986 1,984 1,199 2 103 384   269   27 Reagan
1987 1,983 1,172 37 104 383   260 2 25 Reagan
1988 1,819 1,080   90 321   285 17 26 Reagan
1989 1,636 1,000 23 58 294   224   37 Bush I
1990 1,507 880   74 277   232 1 43 Bush I
1991 1,787 931 147 112 308   256   33 Bush I
1992 1,293 676   109 252   238 1 17 Bush I
1993 1,213 632   86 221   236 29 9 Clinton
1994 1,075 544   83 206   232   10 Clinton
1995 1,040 538   67 174   250 7 4 Clinton
1996 974 527 1 52 173   188 19 14 Clinton
1997 817 433   42 170   159   13 Clinton
1998 827 445   26 168 10 161 3 14 Clinton
1999 796 436   37 150 13 145   15 Clinton
2000 758 398   34 138   151 17 20 Clinton
2001 891 437 3 49 185 1 140 55 21 Bush II
2002 999 547 18 51 190 6 160   27 Bush II
2003 1,228 440 344 36 207 16 167   18 Bush II
2004 1,874 604 739 46 270 19 188   8 Bush II
2005 1,942 632 739 49 281 72 150   19 Bush II
2006 1,858 465 753 30 205 238 155   12 Bush II


Source: Defense Manpower Data Center, Statistical Information Analysis Division,
[http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/Death_Rates.pdf], accessed on June 27, 2007.
Note: As of February 28, 2007 (reflects preliminary counts for 2006 and revised figures for 2004 and 2005).


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