Attrition: Accidental Death Rate Dips Dramatically


February1, 2007: Last year, the U.S. Army suffered 804 deaths, but only 72 percent of them were from combat. The rest were from accidents. In 2006, 223 soldiers died from accidents. What was remarkable about that was that it was 21 percent less than the 262 accident deaths in 2005. Fatal accidents have always been a fact-of-life in the military. The equipment is dangerous. Training with the weapons and equipment is essential to reduce losses in wartime. So people get killed. Most of the dead are because of vehicle accidents. Last year's accident fatalities were about 37 per 100,000 troops on active duty. That's less than half the rate of half a century ago. Accident reduction has been approached somewhat obsessively since then. Last years reduction was exceptionally large, but just part of a trend that has been going on for several generations.


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