Admiral McRaven: Suicide Among Special Forces at Record Levels

Friday, 18 Apr 2014 06:09 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Suicides among U.S. special operations forces, including elite Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, are at record levels, a U.S. military official said on Thursday, citing the effects of more than a decade of "hard combat."

The number of special operations forces committing suicide has held at record highs for the past two years, said Admiral William McRaven, who leads the Special Operations Command.

"And this year, I am afraid, we are on path to break that," he told a conference in Tampa. "My soldiers have been fighting now for 12, 13 years in hard combat. Hard combat. And anybody that has spent any time in this war has been changed by it. It's that simple."

It may take a year or more, he said, to assess the effects of sustained combat on special operations units, whose missions range from strikes on militants such as the 2011 SEAL raid that killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden to assisting in humanitarian disasters.

He did not provide data on the suicide rate, which the U.S. military has been battling to lower. In 2012, for example, more active duty servicemen and servicewomen across the U.S. armed forces died by suicide - an estimated 350 - than died in combat, a U.S. defense official said.

Editor's Note: CIA Global Forecast: Prepare for the Worst

That trend appears to have held in 2013 although preliminary data is showing a slight improvement, with 284 suicides among active duty forces in the year to Dec. 15, the official added.

McRaven's command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, oversees elite commandos operating in 84 countries.

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations commands comprise about 59,000 people, according to Pentagon documents.

Special operations forces have been lionized in popular culture in recent years, in movies such as "Zero Dark Thirty," about the hunt for bin Laden, and "Act of Valor," as well as a National Geographic special.

Kim Ruocco, who assists the survivors of military members who commit suicide, said members of the closely knit special operations community often fear that disclosing their symptoms will end their careers.

Additionally, the shrinking size of the U.S. armed forces has put additional pressure on soldiers, whose sense of community and self-identity is often closely tied to their military service, said Ruocco, director of suicide prevention programs for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, an advocacy group for military families.

Editor's Note: Alarming Global Forecast: What You Won’t Hear on the Nightly News

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

NY Post: Scared Hospital Workers Take an Ebola 'Sick-Out'

Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 18:43 PM

An extraordinary number of frightened Bellevue Hospital workers have taken a sick-out, including one woman who even  . . .

Nurse Scared by Ebola Quarantine as 'No One Seemed to be In Charge'

Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 17:45 PM

A Texas nurse who served with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone is furious and frustrated over the disorganized, d . . .

Poll Watchers on Both Sides Keeping Close Eye on Voter ID Laws

Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 16:41 PM

Poll watchers for both liberal and conservative groups will be battling over voter ID laws on Election Day, with Democra . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved