Whites Account for Most of Military’s Fatalities

Tony Perry, , Sept. 24

The majority of soldiers and Marines killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were young, white, enlisted personnel from active-duty units, according to a study released Friday by the federal Government Accountability Office.

The demographic study involved 1,841 service personnel who were killed and 12,658 who were wounded, as of May 28.

Whites, who constitute 67% of the active-duty and reserve forces, accounted for 71% of the fatalities. African Americans are 17% of the overall force and were 9% of the fatalities. Hispanics are 9% of the force and were 10% of the fatalities.

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The statistical report was requested by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.). The majority of the report deals with a racial breakdown of U.S. forces by job category and rank for each of the services.

Skelton and Rangel wanted the report to further discussion of the nation’s all-volunteer approach to military service.

Rangel has suggested the nation may need to return to a draft so that the burden of military service in wartime is equally shared.

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