Vermont assumes a heavy burden in Iraq war
By JOHN CURRAN, Associated Press Writer
BENNINGTON, Vt. – Vermont, a bastion of ex-hippies and Ben & Jerry liberals, has another distinction seemingly at odds with its peace-loving, tie-dyed politics: It has suffered more deaths per capita in the Iraq war than any other state.
Beginning with Chief Warrant Officer 4th Class Erik Halvorsen on April 2, 2003, a total of 22 Vermont men have perished in roadside bombings, firefights, sniper attacks and helicopter crashes during the six-year-long war.
"The losses we've had in Vermont have touched most of the state because we're so close-knit," said Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie, commander of the Vermont National Guard. "Almost everyone knows someone — or they know someone who knows someone — who's been affected by our losses."
The casualties give Vermont, pop. 621,000, a rate of 3.54 deaths per 100,000 people.
The high rate speaks more to Vermont's small size than it does to the actual number of deaths. With such a small population, it doesn't take a large number of deaths to produce a high per-capita rate. Vermont is followed on the list by Montana (2.87), Wyoming (2.57), Nebraska (2.50), and South Dakota (2.46).
The state has lost only one soldier in Afghanistan, ranking 45th in per-capita losses for that war.