Suicides in the U.S. Air Force up 40% from last year
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy reports that more personnel have committed suicide so far in 2012 than have been killed in combat.
to the Air Force Times
, Roy believes the figures are "worrisome," and the Air Force is addressing the problem through its Suicide Prevention Program and its Comprehensive Airman Fitness Program. Many of the suicide victims were experiencing a number of hardships directly and indirectly relating to their service, including financial and legal trouble, as well as problems with personal relationships, according to Roy.
In a related story, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki recently announced that Veteran's Affairs (VA) would add 1,900 mental health nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to the VA’s South Central Health Care Network, which includes facilities in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The Cypress Times
quotes Shinseki as saying,
As the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to anticipate the needs of returning Veterans. History shows that the costs of war will continue to grow for a decade or more after the operational missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended. As more Veterans return home, we must ensure that all Veterans have access to quality mental health care.
In 2003 Shinseki, then Army chief of staff, had told Congress that a quick and decisive win in Iraq would require a far greater number of troops on the ground than was planned. The New York Times reports
that deputy to the secretary of defense Paul D. Wolfowitz dismissed his testimony as “wildly off the mark,” but by 2007, President Bush was forced to admit that Shinseki's estimates about the costs of war had been correct.