to Iraq only for the Marines. The postdeployment surveys indicated that during deployment in Iraq, on the average, 92% of the soldiers and Marines were attacked or ambushed; 95% were shot at or received small-arms fire; 94% saw dead bodies or human remains; 89% received incoming artillery, rocket, or mortar fire; and 86% reported knowing someone who was seriously injured or killed. Over 81% of the soldiers and Marines reported shooting or directing fire at the enemy, 57% reported being responsible for the death of an enemy combatant, and 21% reported being responsible for the death of a noncombatant. Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan reported far fewer combat experiences than those deployed to Iraq (see Table 3-1).

TABLE 3-1 Combat Experiences Reported by Members of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps After Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan

 

Army Groups

Marine Group

Experience

% in Afghanistan (n = 1962)

% in Iraq (n = 894)

% in Iraq (n = 815)

Being attacked or ambushed

58

89

95

Receiving incoming artillery, rocket, or mortar fire

84

86

92

Being shot at or receiving small-arms fire

66

93

97

Shooting or directing fire at the enemy

27

77

87

Being responsible for the death of an enemy combatant

12

48

65

Being responsible for the death of a noncombatant

1

14

28

Seeing dead bodies or human remains

39

95

94

Handling or uncovering human remains

12

50

57

Seeing dead or seriously injured Americans

30

65

75

Knowing someone who was seriously injured or killed

43

86

87

Participating in demining operations

16

38

34

Seeing ill or injured women or children and being unable to help them

46

69

83

Being wounded or injured

5

14

9

Having a close call, being shot or hit, but being saved by protective gear

Not asked

8

10

Having a buddy shot or hit nearby

Not asked

22

26

Clearing or searching homes or buildings

57

80

86

Engaging in hand-to-hand combat

3

22

9

Saving the life of a soldier or civilian

6

21

19

SOURCE: Adapted with permission from Hoge et al. (2004).

In the 2006 DoD Soldier and Marine Well-Being Survey of 1767 active-duty personnel stationed in Iraq, the troops reported being unable to respond to threats from Iraqis, such as having concrete blocks dropped on their vehicles from overpasses, by the rules of engagement. An important combat stressor that has increased during OIF is sniper attacks. Almost two-thirds of the soldiers and Marines reported having a member of their unit killed or injured (MHAT 2006b).



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