Artillery: June 18, 2004


Pregnancy among female troops in Iraq appears to be increasing the losses (troops sent home for illness or injury conditions) by as much as four percent. The U.S. Department of Defense is refusing to disclose exactly how many female troops are being sent home early from Iraq because of pregnancy. This has always been a touchy subject, as,  for many years, some female soldiers have deliberately gotten pregnant to either avoid overseas duty, or to get sent home early. Military regulations do not allow a pregnant soldier to stay in a combat zone or aboard a warship at sea. During the 1991 Gulf War, one support ship (the USS Arcadia) had ten percent (36) of its female sailors sent home due to pregnancy. Currently, about eight percent of the troops in Iraq are going home early because of medical conditions. About two thirds of these evacuations are for illness and accidents, the rest for combat injuries. Past experience has shown that one to ten percent of female troops leaving a ship, or overseas combat zone, because of pregnancy. The variation in pregnancy depends on the quality of commanders, and morale among the female troops. About ten percent of the troops in Iraq are female. Its most likely that only a few percent of them are getting sent home early because of pregnancy. So the pregnancy is apparently  increasing the medical evacuations by about four percent (430 women over a 12 month period). Eventually, the Department of Defense will release the actual numbers, and it will be interesting to see exactly what this particular morale indicator was during the Iraq operations.


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