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Posted on Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:55 a.m.

Our military: Do you recognize Faces of the Fallen?

By Wayne Baker


Click here to visit the Washington Post’s ongoing ‘Faces of the Fallen’ project.

Editor's note: This post is part of a series by Dr. Baker on Our Values about core American values. This week Dr. Baker is discussing our military.

“Faces of the Fallen” is a Washington Post collection of individual photos and biographies of the U.S. service men and women who have “died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Enduring Freedom.” It is updated weekly from a variety of military and media sources. As of today, there are 6,648 photos and bios.

Have you visited Faces of the Fallen? Do you know someone in the gallery of faces?

The Washington Post presentation of the data includes statistics and graphics. These are often abstract, but with the thousands of faces shown above them, they are poignant reminders of the human cost of war. Here are a few highlights …

  • The highest number of casualties occurred in 2008, when 1,019 service men and women died as a result of these wars. 2013 won’t be as high, but if trends continue, it will be higher than the previous year or two.
  • Most of the fatalities are young men. Ages 20-24 are the largest group, with 2,980 deaths, followed by the next age cohort (24-29 with 1,608 deaths), and the next (ages 30-39, with 1,255 deaths).
  • The most frequent cause of death is hostile action (2,579 deaths), followed by IEDs (2,499 deaths).
  • The army has suffered most of the casualties, 4,210 fallen soldiers. The Marines come next, with 1,379.
  • No state of the union has been spared. Service men and women from all the states have fallen in these wars.

Has a friend or family member fallen in these wars?

What’s your first reaction when you view the Faces?

Wayne Baker is a sociologist on the faculty of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Baker blogs daily at Our Values and can be reached at or on Facebook.


Adam Betz

Thu, May 30, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

Dr. Baker, thank you for writing about this and putting this in the spotlight. I visit this page almost weekly to see if any of my buddies who are downrange have been killed recently. It also allows me to visit buddies who have sacrificed their lives in the wars and see their photos. I sincerely hope one day the American people will be more in tune with what they have asked of us and put more pressure on Congress and the President to make it worthwhile and protect Americans when they put us into harms way. Thank you.