The US Marine Forces Reserve are losing soldiers and aviation crew chiefs at an alarming rate- and it isn’t due to combat.
Suicides and retention woes are plaguing the Reserve force, according to Marine Corps Forces Reserve Commander Lt. Gen. Rex C. McMillian.
With five suicides this year and twelve the year prior, the Marines are focused more on treating the issue, though it might not always be related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“It is not as prevalent now as it was during the height of OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom] and OEF [Operation Enduring Freedom],” McMillian said.
Interestingly enough, the suicides generally occur when Reservists are at home, often tied to finance, relationships and other hardships that seem to hit servicemembers particularly hard.
“It’s the other 28 days in the month when we don’t see them,” McMillan noted.
According to the Marine Corps Times, the service is also having a hard time keeping crew chiefs, with current levels at about 55-65% of what they should be.
“Where I do have a gap is in my crew chiefs, particularly in MV-22s and Hueys,” McMillian told lawmakers at a Tuesday Senate hearing on reserve and National Guard appropriations.
McMillan added that the Reserves can train crew chiefs, but it takes “a lot bit of time” to grow them into Marines.
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