I’m a military guy, spent eight years in the Marine Corps, served in the Gulf War. I didn’t see actual combat, didn’t see killed or wounded, only had rockets fired in the direction of our bomb dump that sent us running for the bunker numerous times. We did spend a lot of time loading munitions on helicopters that expended it on Iraqi soldiers. I want to share the following stats with you. The stats from each encompass all branches of the military.
War Length Served Killed Wounded % Total on Disability
WWII 3.5 yrs 16 million 450,000 671,846 8.6%
Korea 3 years 1.8 million 36,751 103,284 5.0%
Vietnam 10.8 yrs 3.4 million 58,303 153,303 9.6%
Gulf War 6 months 700,000 293 467 25%
Iraq/Afghan 8.8/13.2 yrs 2.4 million 6,802 52,000 31%
Does anyone besides me see a pattern here?
Jim Benson, a VA public relations officer, said the numbers are higher now days because “we have a greater ability to assess combat and theater related injuries”. What kind of injuries is he talking about? Not the physical, that’s for sure. He is talking about PTSD type “injuries”. Now I don’t deny the existence of PTSD, people can experience some brutal stuff in war and not deal with it well. But look at that list of wars, the three previous to the Gulf War were meat grinders that made the Gulf War and Iraq/Afghanistan look like a preschools preschool.
There are one of three things going on here, or maybe a combination. 1. They are over diagnosing war related mental issues just to increase the government dependency roster ($129 to $2,816 a month are the range of disability payments). 2. The general population, to include the military, wants freebies. 3. We are becoming a nation of complete wusses, and the wussdom is crossing over to the military. Personally, I think it’s all three, or different combinations of those three.
There are plenty of bad asses still serving, guys who will go above and beyond to help their buddy, county, or to defend the little guy. Naturally there were cases of people who mentally couldn’t handle what happened in the wars they served, but by and large veterans from the wars before the Gulf War sucked it up, they fought, endured some horrible crap, then they came home and forged ahead, had families and made a lives for themselves.
Final thought. Out of the total served in each conflict, how many were combat troops, and how many were in supporting roles far from the action (Air Force), or out on a ship, away from IEDs and flying bullets. Me for example, I was in theater, but I was working in a bomb dump 20 miles from the Saudi/Kuwait border, in other words, a kind of supporting role.