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Military training is a bigger risk than many people realize

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2020 | Veterans' Issues

When you consider the odds of being seriously injured or killed while in the military, do you assume that the risk comes from combat? It’s certainly the common assumption that most people make. They figure that one of the most stressful times in a soldier’s life is getting shipped out since he or she is now being deployed overseas to an area where combat danger is a real part of daily life.

Combat is dangerous, of course, but so is training. In fact, in some years, more soldiers pass away from injuries that they suffer while training than from injuries that are suffered in combat. In this sense, you could argue that they actually face greater risks on bases in the United States than they do when deployed to a combat zone in another country.

The issue is that training naturally has to push recruits to their limits. It is very labor-intensive and hard on the body. Some of the skills they’re learning — like how to parachute out of a plane — are inherently very dangerous. They also work around firearms, explosives, heavy machinery and vehicles much of the time. Any accident involving these tools of the trade can lead to serious injuries, disabilities and death. Accidents do happen, just as they do in any other occupation.

In short, it’s wise never to assume that the only risk of injury really comes from combat itself. A veteran could suffer life-altering injuries without ever spending a day overseas. Those who do get injured need to know about all of the options that they have.


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