TAPS ISSUES STATEMENT ON U.S. SERVICE MEMBER DEATH TOLL IN AFGHANISTAN REACHING 2,00020,000 People Significantly Impacted by U.S. Military Deaths in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)Nonprofit Issues Estimates on Number of Widows, Parents, Children, Siblings, and Others GrievingSurvivors Face 5-7 Year Journey to Reach “New Normal” But Must Cope with Loss for a Lifetime
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 14, 2012
WASHINGTON – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) issues the following statement on the U.S. military service member death toll in Operation Enduring Freedom reaching 2,000 today on the official count maintained by the Pentagon.
Our hearts and thoughts go out to the 2,000 families whose loved ones serving with the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan and other locations part of Operation Enduring Freedom since 2001.
While many assume that all deaths reported in the 2,000 figure are “KIA” (killed in action) losses, this is often not the case. The Department of Defense reports that 1,575 deaths in Operation Enduring Freedom were due to hostile action and 425 deaths were due to non-hostile action. These non-hostile deaths may include accidents, sudden illnesses, or other causes of death during deployment.
With at least ten people significantly impacted by each military death, approximately 20,000 people have been affected by U.S. service member deaths in Operation Enduring Freedom. They are mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, and a host of other relatives, significant others and battle buddies.
TAPS provides the following estimates, based on its survivor database and other resources, on the number of families left behind following US service member deaths in Afghanistan:
People significantly impacted by these deaths: 20,000 peopleSurviving spouses: 1,100Surviving parents: 4,000Surviving children: 1,440Surviving siblings: 1,640Surviving grandparents: 6,000
According to research, it takes survivors grieving the sudden death of a loved one 5-7 years to reach a “new normal”. Survivors learn to function while carrying their pain and begin to move forward in their lives, but they do not “get over” the death or forget their loved ones. They continue to carry the impact of the death for a lifetime.
As the national nonprofit organization offering comfort and care since 1994 to anyone grieving the death of a military service member, regardless of where or how the death occurred, TAPS provides support for the grief journey – no matter how long it takes. Through Memorandums of Agreement with the military services, TAPS is engaged in the immediate aftermath of a death to offer comfort and care to all those loved ones left behind.
News media coverage of a milestone such as this can trigger a ripple of concern, grief and secondary trauma, among some military survivors. TAPS advises the media to use sensitivity when approaching survivors for public comments, especially if their loss has occurred recently or within the last year.
The TAPS Call Center is open today and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for survivors of our fallen military who need care and support. Call toll-free at 1-800-959-TAPS (8277). Get more information about TAPS at www.taps.org.
About TAPSThe Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivor (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 35,000 surviving family members of our fallen military since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, seminars for adults, good grief camps for children, case work assistance, and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call 800.959.TAPS (8277).
Media contact: Ami Neiberger-Miller, Public Affairs Officer, 202.588.8277, email@example.com
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc., Tax ID# 92-01522683033 Wilson Blvd. Suite 630, Arlington, VA 22201
202-588-8277 (Headquarters) 571-385-2524 (Fax) - © 2013 Copyright All Rights Reserved