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The American Veteran Experience and the Post-9/11 Generation

For many veterans, combat experiences strengthened them personally but also made the transition to civilian life difficult – “What it means to be a military veteran in the United States is being shaped by a new generation of service members. About one-in-five veterans today served on active duty after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Their collective experiences – from deployment to combat to the transition back to civilian life – are markedly different from those who served in previous eras. Roughly three-quarters of post-9/11 veterans were deployed at least once, compared with 58% of those who served before them. And post-9/11 veterans are about twice as likely as their pre-9/11 counterparts to have served in a combat zone. Because they are more likely to have been deployed and to have seen combat, post-9/11 veterans are also more likely to bear the scars of battle, whether physical or not. Roughly half say they had emotionally traumatic or distressing experiences related to their military service, and about a third say they sought professional help to deal with those experiences. In addition, 36% say that – regardless of whether they have sought help – they think they have suffered from post-traumatic stress (PTS), according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. military veterans…”

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