The Cost of War:
During the time when Americans recall the horrors of September 11, 2001, it's important that we pause and reflect on the ultimate cost of war
-- not in terms of dollars, but something much more valuable -- the lives of our brave service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice
in the "War on Terrorism."
As of March 22, 2010, 5,403 brave Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan)
on October 7, 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom, which began with the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.
Of the total deaths, 4,218 were due to hostile fire, and the remainder due to non-hostile actions (such as accident, suicide, or illness).
In contrast, during the First Gulf War (1990-1991), 382 American service members died in-theater, 147 (38%) of those a result of direct combat.
During the Vietnam War (1964 to 1975), there were 47,413 U.S. Military battle-related deaths, and 10,785 service members died from other causes.
In the five years of World War II (1940-1945), 291,557 American troops lost their lives in combat, and 671,846 were wounded.
The Army (including the Army National Guard and Reserves) comprises 48.8% of the total DOD force, but sustained 73.2% of the combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Marine Corps (including the Reserves) makes up only 10.8% of the total DOD force, but experienced 23.3% of the combat related deaths.
The Navy (including Reserves) make up 18.9% of the total DOD force, and sustained 2.2% of the total combat casualties.
The Air Force (including Air National Guard and Reserves) comprises 21.5% of the total DOD force, and experienced 1.1% of the total casualties.
There has been one Coast Guard combat casualty.
The active duty forces comprise 55% of the total DOD force and has experienced 81.5% of the total deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Reserve forces (Reserves and National Guard) make up 45% of the force, and received 18.4% of the total casualties.
Enlisted personnel make up 83.4% of the total force, and experienced 89.9% of the total casualties. Officers (including Warrant Officers) comprise 16.6% of the DOD force and had 10.1% of the casualties.
2.4% of the total fatalities were women, who make up 16% of the total DOD force. Men, who make up 84% of the total force experienced 97.6% of the deaths in the two theaters of operation.
Among age groups:
Ages 18-21 -- 28.2% of the deaths
Ages 22-24 -- 23.7% of the deaths
Ages 25-30 -- 25.6% of the deaths
Ages 31-35 -- 10.4% of the deaths
Over 35 -- 12.1% of the deaths
Some in recent years have espoused that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan affect minorities more heavily than whites. The DOD data dispels that notion.
Whites make up 75.6% of the U.S. population (ages 18-44), and 67% of the total DOD force, but experienced 75.2% of the combat casualties.
Among the 18-44 age-group, Blacks make up 12.2% of the U.S. population, 17% of the total DOD force, and experienced 9.3% of the total casualties.
Hispanics comprise 14.2% of the population, 9% of the total DOD force and had 10.4% of the casualties.
Wounded in Action
31,732 U.S. service members have been wounded due to combat actions in Iraq and 5,264 in Afghanistan (36,996 total).
The Army experienced 70.0% of those casualties, the Marine Corps 26.6%, the Navy .5%, and the Air Force 1.4%.
The Army had 1,515 officers and 19,664 enlisted Soldiers wounded in action. The Marine Corps had 420 officers and
8,178 enlisted Marines WIA. The Navy experienced 35 officers who were WIA, and 621 Sailors. The Air Force statistics
include 44 officers WIA and 430 enlisted Airmen WIA.
Active duty personnel comprised 79.4% of the WIA, with 20.5% Guard/Reserve personnel WIA.
The Army had 533 female WIA, the Marine Corps had 41, the Navy had 5, and the Air Force had 27 females WIA in the two combat areas.
Whites made up 77.0% of the WIAs, blacks comprised 8.0%, and hispanics made up 6.3% of those wounded in action.
The Real Cost of War
What is the real cost of war? On just one day in September 2001, 2,792 people lost their lives when the twin towers fell in New York.
Military, political, and world affairs experts will long be debating the wisdom and necessity of the "Iraqi War." Was the invasion necessary to the
security of the United States, or even necessary for humanitarian or other essential reasons? "Experts" on both sides of the debate continue to disagree.
One thing is certain. The one thing we can never forget is the cost. of war -- any war -- is high. The price tag is not measured only in dollars.
It's measured in the loss of the most valuable asset of all -- the price of war is measured in the loss of human lives.
"On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack."
- George W. Bush, 9/20/01
God Bless these brave men and women, and...
God Bless America.
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