October 11, 2005

Reserves, Guard deaths mounting

More than half of all U.S. deaths in Iraq in past two months have come from Army National Guard and Reserves.

AP, Washington -- The National Guard and Reserves are suffering a strikingly higher share of U.S. casualties in Iraq, their portion of total American military deaths nearly doubling since last year.

Reservists have accounted for one-quarter of all U.S. deaths since the Iraq war began, but the proportion has grown over time. It was 10 percent for the five weeks it took to topple Baghdad in the spring 2003 and 20 percent for 2004 as a whole.

The trend accelerated this year. For the first nine months of 2005, reservists accounted for 36 percent of U.S. deaths, and for August and September, it was 56 percent, according to Pentagon figures.

The Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve accounted for more than half of all U.S. deaths in August and in September -- the first time that has happened in consecutive months. The only other month in which it even approached 50 percent was June 2004.

Casualties in Iraq have shifted toward citizen soldiers as their combat role has grown to historic levels. National Guard officials say their soldiers have been sent into combat in Iraq in numbers not previously seen in modern times -- far more than were sent to Vietnam, where active-duty troops did the vast majority of the fighting.
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