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Divorce Rates for Soldiers and Marines Are On the Rise

According to Pentagon data released on Tuesday, the divorce rate of enlisted soldiers and Marines remains higher in fiscal 2008 than any other year in the past 16 years.

The stress put on military families caused by years of multiple deployments of service members is a crucial element in why these rates are higher now, says chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. Many soldiers' tours were extended to 15 months in 2008 and after only a year at home, were deployed for another tour. Mullen has warned about the effects this stress has on the relationships of military members and their families.

These repeat and lengthened tours also have affected the suicide rate in the Army, which has reached record highs. Military doctors account for this rise in suicides as a direct reflection of service members' suffering relationships due to elongated and repeat tours. Another effect can be seen in the rising reports of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Pentagon reported divorce rates of about 4 percent in enlisted Army and Marines members. A better view of this can be seen in the actual number of divorces in the Army (8,842) and Marines (2,842) in 2008 alone. These staggering numbers reflect a steadily rising rate between enlisted soldiers since 2003 and Marines since 2005. Nearly 1,000 more divorces occurred in 2008 than 2007 among enlisted soldiers, according to Pentagon data.

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