1,892 American flags are installed on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on March 27, 2014 to represent the veterans and U.S. service members who committed suicide this year. Credit: Getty Images
Suicides among active duty U.S. forces fell 18 percent in 2013 from a peak in 2012 but climbed among reserve forces, the Pentagon said on Friday as it unveiled figures showing suicide still far outpaced combat deaths among U.S. military personnel.
Preliminary data showed 261 suicides among active duty service members, down from 319 suicides in 2012, which was the highest on record, the Pentagon said. In the National Guard and reserve, suicides increased to 213 last year from 203 in 2012.
The latest Pentagon figures represented a change in methodology from how they were calculated that separates out all reserve and guard forces, even if they have been called to active duty. Still, the trends for active duty and reserve forces were consistent with previously disclosed estimates.
The decline in overall active-duty suicides compares with a far sharper decline in hostile deaths among troops overseas as the United States winds down the war in Afghanistan. The Pentagon reported 91 hostile deaths overseas in support of that war last year, compared with 237 in 2012.