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The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are presumed to be factors in the increasing rate of divorce among couples with one or both spouses in the U.S. Army or Marine Corps. The stress of repeated deployments, active combat duty, and relocations has been too much for many marriages to bear, and the military's records confirm the upward divorce trend.
Confirmed Increase in Divorce
The Army and Marines have been providing the majority of the U.S. troops for the two wars. Marine spokesman Col. David Lapan noted that the Marine Corps leadership understands the strain that is put on military families during times of war. He said officials are paying aerious attention to the situation. Data gathered by the Corps show that 3.7 percent of the more than 84,000 married Marines divorced in the last year, up from 3.3 percent.
In the Army, the divorce rate rose from 3.3 percent to 3.5 percent among the 287,000 married soldiers, according to Department of Defense data. Army spokesman Paul Boyce said, "With increasing demands placed on Army families and soldiers — including frequent deployments and relocations — intimate relationships are tested." He also noted that 58 percent of the soldiers in the Army are married.
The Military's Figures May Be an Underestimated
Veterans groups contend that the military's divorce figures are too low, since they don't account for all the divorces that take place after members leave the service. Moreover, the data do not consider the number of military marriages that are at or near the breaking point.
Divorce More Common When Wife Is in Military
When it's the wife of a couple that is in the military, the risk of divorcing is higher; it's been this way for a long time, and the same phenomenon was seen again in the latest statistics. Female Army members divorced at the rate of 8.5 percent; male soldiers' divorce rate was 2.9 percent. For the Marines, the corresponding numbers are 9.2 vs. 3.3 for females and males.
(Source: Associated Press)
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