“Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service. In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.””
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Most people think of Memorial Day as a way to honor those who died in battle. Unquestionably they are deserving of our undying gratitude. This year I would like to bring to your attention those who lost their lives while serving but not in battle. Many of those people listed in the stats below died while engaged in or because of serving their country. They and their families are also deserving of our gratitude.
Many times when accidents happen in the military it involves weapons and/or big vehicles. Helicopter malfunctions and other aviation accidents happen. I remember a few incidents at Grafenwoehr, West Germany involving tank vs. jeep and also artillery. Back in the day, Jeep rollovers were common for that awesome but famously unstable vehicle.
Suicides for active military and veterans are a problem.
Congressional Research Center – Trends in Active-Duty Military Deaths Since 2006 (Updated May, 2021)
“Between 2006 and 2021, a total of 18,571 active-duty personnel have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. (Throughout this In Focus, the designation “active duty” refers to all active duty troops, including mobilized Reserve and Guard components.) Of those that died, 25% were killed while serving in OCO operations—primarily within the territory of Iraq and Afghanistan. The remaining 75% died during operations classified in this In Focus as Non-Overseas Contingency Operations, or Non-OCO…
Approximately 13,969 service members have died in circumstances unrelated to OCO operations since 2006. On average, this amounts to approximately 918 non-war-related deaths each year(excluding 2021). Personnel perished in approximately 75 countries (and at sea), with the majority (93%) of deaths occurring in the United States. Other locations included Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and the United Kingdom…
Generally, service members died as the result of accident, self-inflicted wounds, or illness. Approximately 15% (2,146) involved vehicles. Alcohol or substance abuse was a factor in 7% of all accidental deaths…
Approximately 4,602 military personnel have died in (or as the result of) OCO operations in 28 countrie sand locations at sea. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) caused approximately half (45%) of all U.S. deaths in operational war zones. The lethality of IEDs closely tracked surges of troop deployments to OCO operations, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan.”