Marcus Aurelius: 82nd Airborne Not Happy in Garrison

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Marcus Aurelius

This is a very fine piece of reporting at multiple levels.

82nd Airborne Paratroopers Unhappy With Iraq, Afghanistan Troop Withdrawals

David Wood

Huffington Post, 11 July 2011

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Among the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, there’s a sinking feeling the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will fade away. Instead of an exciting and challenging combat tour, they’ll be relegated to the dread “garrison life” here at Fort Bragg.

. . . . . .

Garrison life can be more dangerous than living in Afghanistan. In a major study released last year, the Army reported that a small but growing number of soldiers who perform credibly in combat turn to high-risk behavior at home, including drug abuse, drunk driving, motorcycle street-racing, petty crime and domestic violence.

The study, commissioned by Gen. Peter Chiarelli, assistant chief of staff, estimated that 40,000 soldiers are using drugs illicitly, and misdemeanor offenses are rising by 5,000 cases a year. Among the growing number of Army suicides — which soared past the civilian rate and reached a record 300 cases last year — almost half had never deployed from garrison.

In addition to the suicides, the Army study noted there were 107 fatal accidents among its active-duty soldiers and 50 murders in 2009, part of an ugly toll of 345 active-duty, non-combat deaths — about 100 more than were killed in combat that year.

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