A US military official says suicides are at record levels among American special operations forces, including elite Navy SEALs and Army Rangers.
Admiral William McRaven, who leads the Special Operations Command, said on Thursday that the suicide rating is the result of more than a decade of “hard combat.”
The number of suicides in the special operation forces has stayed at record highs for the past two years, according to the admiral.
“And this year, I am afraid, we are on path to break that,” he told a conference in Tampa.
“My soldiers have been fighting now for 12, 13 years in hard combat. Hard combat. And anybody that has spent any time in this war has been changed by it. It’s that simple,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
From strikes on militants to assisting humanitarian disasters, the special operation units suffer by the operations that may take a year or more to assess the effects of sustained combat, he said.
McRaven did not provide any numbers on the suicide record levels.
The US military has been struggling with suicide for a long time.
In 2012, more active duty soldiers across the US died by suicide – an estimated 350 – than in combat, according to a US defense official.
McRaven’s command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, oversees elite commandos operating in 84 countries.
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations commands comprise about 59,000 people, according to Pentagon documents.