The number of suicides among active duty service members, across all four military branches, reached a record high of 349 in 2012, compared with 301 in 2011.
The Associated Press first reported the new numbers, pointing out that the 2012 suicide total was higher than the number of U.S. servicemembers killed in Afghanistan last year. The number for Operation Enduring Freedom – the war in Afghanistan — was 313 dead.
The Army reported the highest number of suicides — 182 — among active-duty troops last year, according to the Pentagon, compared with 167 in 2011. The Marine Corps reported the sharpest increase — 48, compared with 32 in 2011. The Air Force reported 59 suicides, compared with 50 in 2011; and the Navy, 60, compared with 52 the previous year.
Historical information from the Pentagon’s Suicide Event Report for 2011 showed that about 90 percent of the military suicides that year were among those serving at bases in the United States, not in Afghanistan or Iraq.
A study released last spring found the rate of Army suicides had “soared” since the start of the Iraq War in 2003.