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From 2001 to 2014, the rate of suicide among veterans who use VA services increased by 8.8%, while the rate of suicide among those who do not use VA services increased by 38.6%, according to new data released by Department of Veteran Affairs.
Additionally, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among all veterans increased by 32%, and the data was particularly worrisome for female veterans, with the age-adjusted rate of suicide increasing by 85% in that time period.
Another key finding of the study, which will be released in full in late July, showed that 20 veterans committed suicide daily in 2014, in contrast to the frequently quoted “22 a day” statistic from a 2010 VA report. Additionally, the study revealed that while veterans make up less than 9% of the U.S. population, they accounted for 18% of all suicides in 2014. Further, that same year, 65% of veterans who died by suicide were aged 50 years or older.
Additionally, the study found that the risk for suicide among female veterans was 2.4 times higher than their civilian peers in 2014.
“We needed this data. And this data, for our members, is alarming,” said Judy Patterson, the chief executive officer of Service Women's Action Network, a leading nonprofit advocacy group for female veterans and servicewomen.
The study is the most comprehensive analysis of veteran suicide rates in the U.S. to date, drawing from more than 55 million veterans’ records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the country.
“This database really represents for us the most comprehensive data on veteran suicide that’s been available and will help our researchers be able to figure out what’s working, what we can do better, and how we can serve veterans better,” said David Shulkin, the under secretary of health for the VA during a summit on veterans’ health and bridging the civil-military divide in Washington, D.C., on July 7.
According to the study, for male veterans not using VA services the rate of suicide increased by 35%. For female veterans not using VA services, the rate increased by 98%.
“Suicide is not only a veteran issue, it’s really an American public health crisis. It’s an American issue,” explained Shulkin. “And much of what we’re learning in VA we think we can help transfer to the greater American public health system and we see our role as leading this.”
According to Brian Duffy, the senior vice commander-in-chief with Veterans of Foreign Wars who was a panelist at the summit, it’s paramount that the information from the study be framed and presented accurately.
“I think getting that data out is what’s going to be critical. … the more we talk about it and the more we make sure that this message gets transmitted effectively is better for veterans,” Duffy said.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.
R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.
Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.
The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.
These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.