October 21, 2011

War and Sacrifice in the Post-9/11 Era

60 vs. 48

Veterans of the post-9/11 wars found extra rewards as well as greater hardships stemming from their deployments. Six-in-ten said the experience of being deployed had a positive impact on their financial situation and nearly half (48%) said it put a strain on their marriages.

Veterans who served after 9/11 are more likely to have been deployed from their home bases during their service careers than earlier generations of military. And for six-in-ten recent veterans, at least one of these deployments was to Iraq, Afghanistan or another combat zone.

A comprehensive survey of post-9/11 veterans conducted July 28-Sept. 4, 2011 by the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project found that these deployments brought extra rewards — and greater hardships — for those who served.

Post-9/11 veterans were nearly twice as likely as earlier generations of military to say their deployment has had a positive impact on their financial situation (60% vs. 32%). Depending where they are sent, troops can qualify to receive Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay, Imminent Danger or Hostile Fire Pay and a cash bonus if they re-enlist while serving in a combat zone. In addition, they do not have to pay federal income tax on their military earnings while serving in a combat zone.

The burden of deployment in the post-9/11 era has fallen particularly hard on married service members. Nearly half of all recent veterans (48%) who were married while in the military say their deployments put a strain on their marriages; this view was shared by just 34% of married veterans in previous eras. Additionally, 16% of post-9/11 veterans say the impact of long separations on their marriages was positive –33% report no impact. Read More