Army suicides hit grim milestone: most self-inflicted deaths in a single month

Photo credit: expertinfantry

Army suicides hit a new single-month record in July, when 38 active-duty and reserve soldiers took their own lives, according to official figures released Thursday.

The toll, up from 24 in June, prompted a wave of renewed anger and frustration among Pentagon leaders and veterans advocates.

“I was pretty shocked when I saw the number,” said Tom Tarantino, legislative director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “This has been a continuous problem. This really stems from the military, and the [Department of Veterans Affairs], for that matter, basically the entire military and veteran community, really coming to this issue several years late.”

“It really wasn’t until 2007-2008, really 2009, that they started thinking about it at the level they need to be thinking about it,” he said.

Despite efforts from high-profile military leaders — including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and former Army Vice Chief Gen. Peter Chiarelli — the wider Army is losing this battle, critics say.

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