News Details

Overall Army suicides down 10% for 2011

Source: Army Times
Published: Monday 30 January, 2012

Active-duty suicides, however, reach new high; ‘Gold Book’ unveiled.


Here is a closer look at the numbers:

Soldiers on active duty:

  • 164 soldiers killed themselves; 140 of the deaths were confirmed as suicides and 24 are pending a final determination.
  • 153 were men, 11 were women.
  • 95 were married, 56 were single, 11 were divorced, and two were widowed.
  • 12 were officers, including seven captains.
  • 70 were noncommissioned officers.
  • 33 had never deployed.
  • 23 were deployed when they died.

Soldiers not on active duty:

  • 114 soldiers killed themselves; 102 cases were confirmed as suicides and 12 are pending a final ruling.
  • 107 were men, seven were women.
  • 41 were married, 66 were single, and seven were divorced.
  • Two were warrant officers.
  • 38 were NCOs.
  • 49 had never deployed.

The Army reported 278 suicides in the active force, National Guard and Reserve in 2011, a nearly 10 percent decrease from the previous year and the first time those numbers have declined in four years.

However, within that total, the number of active-duty soldier suicides reached an all-time high of 164, five more than 2010 and two more than 2009.

The Army also continues to battle — and make headway against — high-risk behavior among soldiers as part of its multifaceted effort to drive down the number of soldier suicides.

This campaign attacks a “very complicated problem that had many lines of operation,” Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the vice chief of staff of the Army, said Jan. 19 as he announced the 2011 suicide numbers and unveiled the Army’s Gold Book, which summarizes the progress made in enhancing the health, discipline and readiness of the force.

The Gold Book is a follow-up to the Red Book released in 2010, and is part of the Army’s ongoing campaign to help the service heal after 10 years of war.

Chiarelli was assigned in January 2009 with the difficult task of stemming the Army’s rising suicide numbers as soldiers shouldered the burdens of two wars and multiple deployments with little time at home in between.

“We fought a war for 10 years with a totally volunteer force,” Chiarelli said. “The second- and third-order effects that have grown out of this, our nation has never experienced before.”

Today, the Army boasts a resilient force that continues to work on taking care of soldiers and their families, Chiarelli said.

“Taking care of soldiers and families is non-negotiable in the United States Army, and you’ve got to be able to see yourself in order to do that,” he said.

The Gold Book paints an honest and transparent picture of where the Army stands today, Chiarelli said.

“This is written for commanders, leaders and providers,” he said. “These reports posture us to identify those second- and third-order effects as early as possible.”

In 2011, 164 active-duty soldiers committed suicide, five more than the 159 who did so in 2010. Of those 164 deaths, 140 have been confirmed as suicides, and 24 remain under investigation.

In addition, 34 Army Reserve soldiers and 80 Army National Guard soldiers who were not on active duty, 13 active-duty dependents and 24 Army civilians also committed suicide.

The total for the year, including the uniformed force, civilians and dependents, was 315, 10 percent fewer than the 350 who killed themselves in 2010. However, it was higher than the 274 deaths reported in 2009.

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