During the month when Americans recall the horrors of September 11, 2001, it’s important that we pause and reflect on the ultimate cost of war — not in terms of dollars, but something much more valuable — the lives of our brave service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the “War on Terrorism.”
As of August 2, 4,683 brave Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) on October 7, 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom, which began with the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003. Of the total deaths, 3,708 were due to hostile fire, and the remainder due to non-hostile actions (such as accident, suicide, or illness).
In contrast, during the First Gulf War (1990-1991), 382 American service members died in-theater, 147 (38%) of those a result of direct combat.
During the Vietnam War (1964 to 1975), there were 47,413 U.S. Military battle-related deaths, and 10,785 service members died from other causes.
In the five years of World War II (1940-1945), 291,557 American troops lost their lives in combat, and 671,846 were wounded.
The Army (including the Army National Guard and Reserves) comprises 48.8% of the total DOD force, but sustained 73.2% (2,716) of the combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Marine Corps (including the Reserves) makes up only 10.8% of the total DOD force, but experienced 23.3% (867) of the combat related deaths. The Navy (including Reserves) make up 18.9% of the total DOD force, and sustained 2.2% (84) of the total combat casualties. The Air Force (including Air National Guard and Reserves) comprises 21.5% of the total DOD force, and experienced 1.1% (40) of the total casualties. There has been one Coast Guard combat casualty.