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There are currently more than 369,000 US military personnel on active duty outside the United States.  A large percentage of those are in combat zones.  Current Combat Zones, according to Wikipedia, include the following countries:


  • Persian Gulf
  • Red Sea
  • Gulf of Oman
  • Arabian Sea
  • Gulf of Aden

Veterans account for over 20% of the 30,000 US civilian suicides each year.  According to a leaked internal VA email, there are approximately 18 suicides committed every day by America’s 25 million veterans.  That amounts to a staggering 6,570 per year.  Between 2005 and 2007, the highest risk age group:

  • 18-29 the suicide rate rose an astonishing 26% .  Many point to the stress of extended tours and multiple deployments, but 40% of soldiers and 35% of Marines who commit suicide were never deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.  Equally confounding, the majority of those in Iraq and Afghanistan that commit suicide do so during their first tour.  In response the Navy Times suggest that it’s the constant relocation coupled with the financial and relationship stress this causes, not the destination itself.

SUICIDE is a severe example of behavior related to deployment, but the statistics above illustrate the extreme stress that deployment can cause for our military personnel and their families.


According to the 2008 survey of  ACTIVE DUTY SPOUSES conducted by the HUMAN RESOURCES STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (HRSAP) and the DEFFENSE MANPOWER DATA CENTER (DMDC), more than half of all respondents say multiple deployments creates difficulty for families.  For the children of those who have a parent deployed, large majority experience increased anxiety during that time.  Nearly half of all respondents, report experiencing feelings of depression and anxiety during their spouses’ deployment.  Nearly half of the family member surveyed experience serious emotional problems.

SHINE FAMILY FOUNDATION believes that any opportunity to ease their anxiety even if for a few minutes, hours, days, or weeks will be of great benefit to our military and their families.