THE PROBLEM – The core of our military families is crumbling as over and over again military members are deployed overseas. Some young families have dealt with as many as seven deployments. Families are not together for the arrival of a first child, for wedding anniversaries, for special occasions and for children’s events. All too often when a service member comes home from deployment their own children run away in fear because they don’t remember, or perhaps have never seen, the returning member. Carrying the scars and the recent horrors of combat is expected but facing the fear of one’s own
family is devastating.
Issues Facing Today’s Troops, Veterans and Families
- One of the biggest differences between Iraq / Afghanistan is that over 600,000 troops have served multiple combat tours.
- Due to manpower shortages and dramatically revised military strategies, some members have been called back to active duty after leaving the military and others have been held on active duty beyond their expected exit date. This reality has been a tremendous strain on the force and on the families of those serving.
- Troops with severe and often untreated psychological and neurological issues compounded with reintegration problems are causing suicide rates to increase in unprecedented levels. The number of suicides have increased every year since 2003.
- These psychological effects of war are severely impacting families. Military divorce rates have increased. Over 2 million children have been affected by the deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan; more than half of the military spouses report increased levels of fear, anxiety and behavioral problems in their children.
Comparison of Demographics of Vietnam Troops vs. Iraq / Afghanistan Troops
|Deployed||Gender||Average Age||Married||Average Length of Deployment|
Iraq or Afghanistan
|1.92 Million (to date) Volunteer||89% Male 11% Female||60% under 30 85% under 40||50%||Multiple Tours of Various Lengths|
|3.4 Million Draft||99.8% Male 0.02% Female||19||Less likely to be married||One Year Long Tour|