One-Third of US Military Injuries in Iraq, Afghanistan Were Non-Combat

Accidents also caused about 1 in 10 deaths for US troops

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a paper analyzing the causes of US non-combat injuries over the course of 12 years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. They found accidents to be an enormous and consistent cause of casualties.

Over the 12 years, they found that roughly 33% of the 30,000 US soldiers wounded in the wars were actually wounded in accidents or other preventable non-combat injuries. 11.5% of all deaths were also non-combat.

This is an increase over past generations, with about 13% of Vietnam War hospitalizations being unrelated to combat, and 25% in Operation Desert Storm. In the current study, 21.3% of the wounded were from falls, and 18.8% from automobile accidents. 6.8% of the non-combat injured were injured while participating in sports.

Doctors said that the study should be a “wake up call,” as the three leading causes of injuries were all mostly preventable. Meanwhile, incidents you think would be more common, like unintentional gunshot wounds, were very low, despite the countries being awash in weapons.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of