Attrition: It's Not Combat That Will Kill You


August 27, 2007: The military has made enormous progress in reducing the number of fatal accidents the troops are subject to. So much so that the death rate in the military, even with combat casualties, is lower now than it was in the 1990s. The Department of Defense Medical Mortality Registry shows that, even now, combat deaths make up a minority of deaths in the military. Unlike World War II, where combat deaths out numbered non-combat deaths three to one, better training, weapons and equipment have greatly reduced the combat death rate. The big danger now is accidents and disease.

An example of this effort to reduce accidental deaths is how the military reacted to humvee rollovers. Two years ago, 54 troops were killed from these accidents. Since 2003, there has been a growing number of rollover fatalities. This was caused by the need to drive fast, and aggressively, in Iraq as a combat tactic. Examining the accidents, the military came up with new driving techniques, and has taught these to humvee drivers headed for Iraq. As a result, deaths from rollovers has declined by over fifty percent.


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