NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Epidemiological characteristics of U.S. fatalities during Desert Storm.

Helmkamp JC
Mil Med 1992 Mar; 157(3):A7
A letter to the editor presented a summary of the epidemiological characteristics of United States (US) fatalities incurred during the Gulf War. Fatalities were grouped in three phases: a Prewar phase from August 11, 1990 to January 15, 1991; a War phase from January 16, 1991 to February 27, 1991: and a Postwar phase from February 28, 1991 through May 31, 1991. Of the nearly 540,000 active duty and reserve service personnel, 374 were killed; 148 (including four women) were killed in action, and 226 (including ten women) were killed as a result of nonhostile action. Nearly 25% were victims of friendly fire. Of the male fatalities, 197 were in the Army, 67 in the Marine Corps, 48 in the Navy and 48 in the Air Force. Of the women, 13 were in the Army, and one in the Navy. Crude fatality rate was highest during the Prewar phase (46.2 per 100,000), and decreased markedly to 26.2 during the Postwar phase. During the Prewar phase, the Navy experienced the highest fatality rate (116.1) which included sailors who died in a commercial ferry that sank near Israel. If these deaths had been determined to be nonwar related, the Navy fatality rate would have dropped to 48.4, and the total military rate to 36.2, which was only slightly less that the overall war rate. Therefore, although overall risks were similar, causes of death were quite different during each phase. In the Postwar phase, fatality rates ranged from 3.8 for the Air Force to 34.1 for the Army. The author concludes that these figures form only a geographic subset of all US military deaths during this period.
NIOSH-Author; Accident-statistics; Military-personnel; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Risk-factors; Mortality-data
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Military Medicine
Page last reviewed: February 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division