The deaths appear to be fairly evenly distributed among soldiers in the various stages of deployment and post tour.
It surprised me to learn that the US Military only started tracking this information around 1980. I imagine the rate during the Vietnam era was high as well.
In keeping with military tradition, the officials don't understand why their prevention programs are not working and promise to study the problem.
Some informal suggestions why soldiers give in to despair:
- Mental illness is ignored and regarded as a stigma, unamerican and unmanly.
- Their Command-in-Chief lied about the mission and created a deep social schism.
- Unable to get needed therapy because of neo-conservative attitudes to funding.
- Financial. Not enough pay. Not helping sick soldiers with their debt.
- Facing an enemy in Iraq who hated them and played dirty.