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Oklahoma carrying above-average burden in armed forces, study finds

Representative Kevin Hern addresses Soldiers of Bravo Company, 834th Aviation Support Battalion, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard and their families during the unit's departure ceremony at the OKARNG Army Aviation Support Facility 2 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oct. 13. (Oklahoma National Guard Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones)
November 25, 2019

A recently-released study indicates Oklahoma is carrying an above-average share of the nation’s defense.

The study, “States Carrying the Greatest Military Burden,” by the consumer analysis firm Security.org, found Oklahoma has the 17th-highest concentration of active and reserve military members of any state, with 867.7 service members per 100,000 residents. The national average is 780 per 100,000.

“As the U.S. population has continued to expand rapidly, the number of Americans bearing the burden of service to their country has fallen, concentrating the sacrifices of military life in fewer and fewer hands,” according to the report.

About 2% of Americans in 1968 were serving in the military; today, that percentage is closer to 0.4%, according to the study.

“Military enlistment has declined dramatically over the past several decades, falling from about 3.5 million at the height of the Vietnam War to just 1.3 million active-duty service members today,” according to the report. “Yet, with hundreds of thousands of men and women deployed across the world and some-7,000 lives claimed in the war against terrorism, the stakes for military families have never been higher.”

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Hawaii has the largest concentration of troops, at 3,696 per 100,000 population, followed by Alaska, District of Columbia, Virginia and North Dakota.

In sheer numbers, California has the greatest number of military members, with 151,597 troops stationed there, followed by Virginia, Texas and North Carolina, all of which have more than 100,000 troops stationed there.

The top five largest military bases in the nation are: Norfolk Naval Base, Va., 46,687 personnel; Fort Bragg, N.C., 45,379 personnel; Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., 38,441 personnel; Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., 37,084 personnel; Fort Hood, Texas, 35,308 personnel.

Oklahoma ranked 10th overall in percentage of the state population who are veterans, at 9.1%.

To read the full report, go to https://www.security.org/resources/states-highest-military-burden.

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© 2019 the Enid News & Eagle