More than 6,800 troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. And more than 3,000 additional service members have taken their lives in that same time.
War used to be the leading cause of death in the military nearly every year between 2004 and 2011. Now suicides take that top spot, according to a bar chart published this week in a monthly Pentagon medical statistical analysis journal.
For 2012 and 2013, suicide outranked war, cancer, heart disease, homicide, transportation accidents and other causes as the leading killer, accounting for about three in 10 military deaths each of those two years.
Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said the stigmas attached to returning military members do not help matters. Rieckhoff said veterans are often split into two groups, “the crying wounded or the guy who jumps the White House fence to get to the President.”