As many as 38 U.S. service members killed themselves in July, making it the worst month for suicides among both active- and non-active-duty soldiers since the Army began releasing statistics in 2009.
Of all the soldiers who took their own lives last month, 26 were currently serving in the military, according to Lt. Col. Lisa Garcia, an Army spokeswoman.
The Marine Corps had eight suicides in July, up from six in June. The July figure was its highest monthly total of 2012 and pushed its total for the year so far to 32 – equal to the Marines’ total for all of 2011.
The Air Force said it had six in July, compared with two in June.
The Navy had four in July but its June figure was not immediately available. In total, there were 24 suicides among service members in June.
The Army’s suicide numbers have been higher than the other services, in part because it is substantially larger than the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. The Army also has had more members in combat over the past decade. It was the main ground force in Iraq and has a preponderance of the U.S. troops today in Afghanistan.
For the first seven months of 2012, the Army recorded 116 suicides among active-duty soldiers. If that pace were maintained through December the year’s total would approach 200, compared with 167 for all of 2011.