"In June 1997, the Boston Globe reported that DoD experienced more than 29,000 deaths in other than combat or terrorist incidents since 1979. As a result of the articles, Senator John F. Kerry requested that DoD consider the implication of the articles on DoD. The Secretary of Defense tasked the Inspector General, DoD, to begin an evaluation of deaths in DoD, with the exception of those resulting from aviation accidents, combat, or terrorism. In 1997, the Washington Headquarters Services reported that about 30,000 active duty personnel died from nonhostile and nonterrorist events during the 17-year period that ended on September 30, 1996. The total included about 18,200 deaths from accidents, 5,500 deaths from illness, 4,100 deaths from suicide, 1,700 homicides, and 500 deaths from undetermined causes. Our evaluation initially focused on 6,790 of the 18,200 accidental deaths. We did not evaluate accidental deaths that occurred prior to 1988 because detailed records were not complete or readily accessible. During our evaluation, we learned that the General Accounting Office was performing a similar review of accidental deaths that occurred during on-duty hours. To avoid duplication, we concentrated on the 4, 698 accidental deaths that occurred during off-duty hours from 1988 through 1996. The General Accounting Office plans to issue its report addressing accidental on-duty deaths in the summer of 1998."
Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General, Report No. 98-153
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/