U.S. War Dead in Afghanistan Have Tripled in Less Than 3 Years Under Obama

Edwin Mora | October 3, 2011 | 10:51am EDT
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A Marine carry team loads a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. Christopher Diaz into a transfer vehicle Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Diaz, 27, of Albuquerque, N.M., died Sept. 28, 2011 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

(CNSNews.com) President Barack Obama has not yet served three full years as commander in chief, but the number of U.S. casualties in the 10-year-old Afghanistan war has now tripled since Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009.

On that day, the total casualty count for the then-7-year-old Afghan war was 569. As of Sept. 30 of this year, it was 1,698.

The 1,129 additional U.S. casualties in Afghanistan since Obama took office equals 66.5 percent of all U.S. casualties there for the duration of the war.

With three months still to go, 2011 is already the second deadliest year of the war.

From January through September 2011, 340 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan--only 22 fewer than the 362 who were killed  during the same span in 2010, which was the deadliest year so far for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The top three deadliest years of the war -- 2010 (497 deaths), 2011 (340), 2009 (303) -- have occurred under President Obama’s tenure.

At least 38 U.S. troops died in Afghanistan in September, making last month the second deadliest September of the war, exceeded only by September 2010, when 42 Americans died.

August 2011 was the deadliest month of the conflict, according to CNSNews.com’s tally. Seventy-one U.S. troops died in August, including 30 on a helicopter that was shot down by insurgents on August 6.

The top five deadliest months of the war, which began October 7, 2001, have taken place under Obama’s presidency -- August 2011 (71 deaths), July 2010 (65), June 2010 (60), October 2009 (58), and August 2010 (55). Historically, the Afghan summer months of June to September have seen the most fatalities.

Of the total 1,698 U.S. military deaths in the decade-old Afghanistan war, at least 1,129   (65 percent) have happened since Obama officially became president three years ago. The 1,129 military fatalities under Obama’s watch are almost double the 569 that took place under the eight years of the Bush administration.

The average monthly fatality rate for U.S. military forces serving in Afghanistan has increased more than 5-fold since Obama became commander-in-chief, rising about 6.5 deaths per month under President George W. Bush to more than 34 under Obama.

Of the 1,698 total U.S. military deaths reported so far, about 88 percent (1,488) have been combat-related. The remaining non-combat deaths occurred as a result of accidents, illnesses, drowning, or other non-combat incidents. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), are the number one killer of U.S. forces.

CNSNews.com’s detailed count of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is derived from official casualty reports issued by the Department of Defense and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan, augmented by information taken from media accounts.

The database includes all U.S. troops who died or were fatally injured in and around Afghanistan while supporting military efforts against insurgents under Operation Enduring Freedom, which covers multiple countries.

CNSNews.com’s total count of U.S. fatalities in and around Afghanistan includes 12 U.S. troops who died in Pakistan and three who died in the Arabian Sea while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. The death count of 1,698 could be revised, given the lag time in Defense Department reporting.

On Sept. 22, in his final testimony to Congress before retiring as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, , Adm. Mike Mullen accused the Pakistani government of “exporting violence” to Afghanistan.

He said that “extremist organizations serving as proxies of the government of Pakistan are attacking Afghan troops and civilians as well as U.S. soldiers” and that those organizations “are hampering efforts to improve security in Afghanistan.”

President Obama announced in December 2009 that he was temporarily increasing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan by 30,000 troops. On June 2 of this year, the president announced that 10,000 troops would be out of Afghanistan by December 31, and another 23,000 would be withdrawn by September 2012. That would leave around 60,000 soldiers in Afghanistan.

During his final testimony to lawmakers, Mullen also said the president’s plan to withdraw 33,000 U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of next summer increases the “military risk” for U.S. forces, but he later added that he “absolutely” supports Obama’s drawdown proposal and that the risk is “manageable.”

U.S. military officials, including Mullen, have indicated that despite the expected reduction in forces, the U.S. will maintain a military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014.


Following is a list of the U.S. military personnel who gave their lives serving their country in Afghanistan during September 2011. The list includes the hero's name, age, hometown and date of death as reported by the Department of Defense.

-- Sgt. Chester G. Stoda, 32, of Black River Falls, Wis., died Sep. 2, 2011
-- Spc. Christopher J. Scott, 21, of Tyrone, N.Y., died Sept. 3, 2011
-- Pfc. Christophe J. Marquis, 40, of Tampa, Fla., died Sept. 4, 2011
-- Spc. Koran P. Contreras, 21, of Lawndale, Calif., died Sept. 8, 2011
-- Pfc. Douglas J. Jeffries Jr., 20, of Springville, Calif., died Sept. 8, 2011
-- Petty Officer Brian K. Lundy, 25, of Austin, Texas, died Sept. 9, 2011
-- Sgt. Bret D. Isenhower, 26, of Lamar, Okla., died Sept. 9, 2011
-- Spc. Christopher D. Horton, 26, of Collinsville, Okla., died Sept. 9, 2011
-- Pfc. Tony J. Potter Jr., 20, of Okmulgee, Okla., died Sept. 9, 2011
-- Pfc. Brett E. Wood, 19, of Spencer, Ind., died Sept. 9, 2011
-- Staff Sgt. Keith F. Rudd, 36, of Winder, Ga., died Sept. 10, 2011
-- Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Quintana, 30, of Huntington Park, Calif., died
Sept. 10, 2011
-- Sgt. 1st Class Danial R. Adams, 35, of Portland, Ore., died Sept. 13, 2011
-- Sgt. Rodolfo Rodriguez Jr., 26, of Pharr, Texas, died Sep. 14, 2011
-- Cpl. Michael J. Dutcher, 22, of Asheville, N.C., died Sept. 15, 2011
-- Sgt. Mycal L. Prince, 28, of Minco, Okla., died Sept. 15, 2011
-- Staff Sgt. Michael W. Hosey, 27, of Birmingham, Ala., died Sept. 17. 2011
-- Sgt. Garrick L. Eppinger Jr., 25, of Appleton, Wis., died Sept. 17, 2011
-- Spc. Ryan J. Cook, 29, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., died Sept. 18, 2011
-- Spc. Chazray C. Clark, 24, of Ecorse, Mich., died Sept. 18, 2011
-- Sgt. Timothy D. Sayne, 31, of Reno, Nev., died Sept. 18, 2011
-- Spc. Jakob J. Roelli, 24, of Darlington, Wis., died Sept. 21, 2011
-- Spc. Robert E. Dyas, 21, of Nampa, Idaho., died Sept. 21, 2011
-- Lance Cpl. Terry C. Wright, 21, of Scio, Ohio, died Sept. 21, 2011
-- Sgt. Rafael E. Bigai Baez, 28, of San Juan, Puerto Rico., died Sept. 23, 2011
-- Pfc. Carlos A. Aparicio, 19, of San Bernadino, Calif., died Sept. 23, 2011
-- Lance Cpl. Franklin N. Watson, 21, of Vonore, Tenn., died Sept. 24, 2011
-- Sgt. Tyler N. Holtz, 22, of Dana Point, Calif., died Sept. 24, 2011
-- 1st. Lt. Andres Zermeno, 26, of San Antonio, Texas, died Sep. 25, 2011
-- Spc. Garrett A. Fant, 21, of American Canyon, Calif., died Sept. 26, 2011
-- 1st Lt. Ivan D. Lechowich, 27, of Valrico, Fla., died Sept. 28, 2011
-- Spc. Steven E. Gutowski, 24, of Plymouth, Mass., died Sept. 28, 2011
-- Pfc. David A. Drake, 21, of Lumberton, Texas, died Sept. 28, 2011
-- Lance Cpl. John R. Wimpey Cagle, 19, of Tucker, Ga., died Sept. 28, 2011
-- Staff Sgt. Nicholas A. Sprovtsoff, 28, of Davison, Mich., died Sept. 28, 2011
-- Sgt. Christopher Diaz, 27, of Albuquerque, N.M., died Sept. 28, 2011
-- Spc. James A. Butz, 21, of Porter, Ind., died Sept. 28, 2011
-- First Sgt. Billy J. Siercks, 32, of Velda Village, Mo., died Sept. 28, 2011

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