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U.S. army experts sent to Iraq to study surging non-combat deaths
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09:47, October 17, 2007

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The U.S. military has sent a team of army safety experts to Iraq to investigate non-combat deaths surge, a senior military official said on Tuesday.

The team from the Army Safety Center was sent at the request of military commanders in Iraq to "analyze that and to map out the way ahead, to maintain focus on safety for all the troops on the ground," said Lieutenant General Carter Ham, operations director of the Joint Staff.

Pentagon statistics show that a total of 29 soldiers died in August for non-combat reasons and another 23 died in September, compared to 7 and 11 in August and September last year respectively.

The surge coincided with extended 15-month deployments for U.S. troops required by a surge in U.S. forces starting this February.

Although the U.S. military morale remains high in Iraq, "several leaders have said this, that for the army 15 months is a long hard tour," Ham said. "It's hard on the soldiers, it's hard on the families."

A solution has been brought up by the military leaders to give troops more time between deployment, he added.

Source: Xinhua

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