Double Y-axis column chart and statistics of wounded and amputation ratios of US forces in the principal wars they participated. The ratio of wounded to total deaths shows that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cause the most wounded per military killed, with respectively 7.3 and 4.5 wounded per 1 death, against an average of 2.3. They are also the wars in which a high number of wounded have to be amputated, with 1 amputation in every 43.5 wounded in Iraq, and 1 in 40.5 in Afghanistan.

The Afghan and Iraq wars collect high prices from US soldiers in terms of bodily suffering. Not only the number of deaths is relatively higher than in the other wars fought by the US in the last couple of decades (deaths in afghan war), but also the number of wounded per death reaches the highest values, all principal wars of the US history considered. With 31,454 wounded in Iraq and 3,372 in Afghanistan, the US forces have respectively 7.3 and 4.5 wounded per death, which is much higher than the average or the median of 2 (rounded to the unit) wounded per death of all the principal wars. To further the pain, 1 in every 44 (Iraq war) or 41 (Afghan war) wounded required amputation, which is the worst record after the Vietnam war (1 amputation in every 29 wounded) (see also Afghanistan war casualties).


Principal Wars in Which the US Participated
Casualty Ratios

Principal Wars







Revolutionary War 1775-17834,4356,188 1:1.4 
War of 18121812-18152,2604,505 1:2.0 
Mexican War1846-184813,2834,152 1:0.4 
Civil War (Union Forces Only)1861-1865364,511281,881 1:0.8 
Spanish-American War18982,4461,662 1:0.7 
World War 21941-1946405,399670,8467,4891:1.71:89.6 (0.01)
World War 11917-1918116,516204,0022,6101:1.81:78.2 (0.01)
Korea War1950-195336,574103,2841,4771:2.81:69.9 (0.01)
Vietnam War1964-197358,220153,3035,2831:2.61:29.0 (0.03)
Persian Gulf War1990-1991382467 1:1.2 
OEF ¹2001-present7513,372451:4.51:40.5 (0.02)
OIF ¹2003-present4,31931,4546641:7.31:43.5 ¦0.02)
¹ OEF = Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. OIF = Operation Iraqi Freedom.
² Deaths and Wounded figures for OIF and OEF as of 25 July 2009.
³ Amputations data as of December 2007. Wounded data have been synchronised for ratio computation purposes.



Sources: see CRS Reports and DoD Personnel Statistics.



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