Army Desertion Rate High and Getting Higher

Multiple lengthy deployments lead to 80% jump over 2003
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2007 6:09 PM CST
U.S. soldiers of 3rd Brigade combat team of the 101st Airborne Division watch as their colleagues dig Friday Nov. 16, 2007, during a search for the bodies of two soldiers, who went missing after an ambush...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Army desertion rate for 2007 is up 43% over last year and a whopping 80% since the 2003 Iraq invasion, figures out today show. The rate is the highest since 1980, the AP reports. Moreover, it's increasing: Nearly two-thirds of this year's desertions were in the second half of the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, Army Times reports.

The number—a total of 4,698, which translates to nine in every 1,000 soldiers—is still lower than during the Vietnam War, but military leaders have acknowledged the figures reflect the Army's overextension. Efforts are under way to add troops and increase the length of time between tours of duty.