Facing South

Memorial Day: Southern base towns suffer brunt of Iraq losses

Facing South
Facing South
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Graveyard.jpgThis Memorial Day is going to be especially hard in places like Fort Hood, Texas, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Fort Campbell, Kentucky.Why? Because, as I show in a short report [pdf] we just released at the Institute, these and other Southern base towns have lost more soldiers than any other part of the country--about half of all the U.S.-based troops killed in Iraq so far.

You can check out the full report here [pdf].

Four states stand out as having lost the most: Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Texas. Military bases in those four states alone have lost 38% of the troops killed in Iraq so far.

As you can imagine, the impact of these losses is devastating for the South. When you're stationed in a base town, you become part of the community. The loss leaves behind broken families and neighborhoods.

The issue will only become more salient as the South's share of military bases continues to grow. In a 2002 study, the Institute found 56% of U.S. troops were stationed in the South. The South's share has only increased since then: A follow-up report we did in 2005 found that, during the Pentagon's latest round of closings and realignment, Southern states actually gained 15,000 military personnel at over 50 bases.

 

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re: Memorial Day: Southern base towns suffer brunt of Iraq losse

Thank you for showing that once again, the small rural communities always give the most and suffer the consequences.

re: Memorial Day: Southern base towns suffer brunt of Iraq losse

OK--Are you allocating all Fort Campbell deaths to Kentucky? I'd point out that the fort actually straddles the KY-TN state line, with soldiers living in both states--probably the bulk living around Clarksville, TN, a city much larger than Hopkinsville, KY. I suspect that, all told, Tennessee has suffered a larger impact than Kentucky.

re: Memorial Day: Southern base towns suffer brunt of Iraq losse

David -- You raise a very good point. As people can see from this Google Map, at least 1/3 of Fort Campbell is on the Tennessee side of the line:

http://tinyurl.com/o7dk8s

But because the base headquarters are on the Kentucky side, they count all those from Fort Campbell who have been killed in Iraq as having been based in Kentucky. But the reality is far more complicated, as you point out. Thanks. - Chris

re: Memorial Day: Southern base towns suffer brunt of Iraq losse

What you say is true as far as it goes... but many of thiose soldiers stationed in the south are from far flung places throughout the United States. While they become part of their base community, they are still part of their hometowns...