This article quotes a man who says that it was millions! That sounds way off.

Since the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, about 2.5 million members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and related Reserve and National Guard units have been deployed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, according to Department of Defense data. Of those, more than a third were deployed more than once.

In fact, as of last year nearly 37,000 Americans had been deployed more than five times, among them 10,000 members of guard or Reserve units. Records also show that 400,000 service members have done three or more deployments.

“When I say 2.5 million people have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, jaws drop,” said Paul Rieckhoff, the chief executive officer of the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “I know which lines are going to get gasps, and that’s one of them. I don’t think they appreciate how many people have served, and particularly the number who have had repeated deployments. You’ve had an unprecedented demand on a small population. The general public has been incredibly isolated from those who served.”

If these numbers are correct how are they being counted? Is there double counting, where a soldier deployed twice is counted twice?

  • 1
    2.5 million people for an occupying force of 2 countries for 12 years is pretty small if you think about it.
    – Ryathal
    Mar 18, 2013 at 20:52
  • that number seems low to me - but that's just me
    – warren
    Mar 22, 2013 at 19:21
  • For those who don't know. When ever a service member is deployed to a country of interest upon arrival the soldiers ID card is swiped through a computer on the date of arrival and the date of departure. So the numbers that the government gives you is correct. They can tell you everything you want to know. Down to race, gender, and religious preference and time in hours and minutes servered to include time that the service had between their deployments from one to the next. Thank you, from a five deployment Army soldier.
    – user17888
    Mar 1, 2014 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


That's an accurate count of actual individuals that were deployed, not the number of deployments. Many of that 2.5 million were deployed more than once. The stats at Veterans for Common Sense are from 2011, and support Paul's numbers.

  • 2,226,056 Total Service Members Deployed
  • 941,743 Deployed Twice or More (42%)

Disclaimer: I know Paul although you'd have to jog his memory for him to remember me.


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