More active-duty Marines committed suicide last year than any year since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, although the suicide rate remained virtually unchanged because the Marine Corps is increasing in size, according to a report issued Tuesday.
Forty-one Marines are listed as possible or confirmed suicides in 2008, or 16.8 per 100,000 troops, the Marine Corps report said. Nearly all were enlisted and under 24, and about two-thirds had deployed overseas.
In 2007, 33 Marines committed suicide -- a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 troops. The Marine Corps is adding troops and calling in reservists to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other foreign bases and stateside.
The Marine suicide rate is still below that for civilian populations with similar demographics -- 19.5 per 100,000.
It is also less than that of the Army in 2007 (18.1 per 100,000). The Army suicide figures for 2008 have not yet been released, but officials said late last year they expected the number and rate to increase from 2007.