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AP National Security Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press has learned that suicides in the US military surged to a record 349 last year. That far exceeds the 295 American combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2012 and compares with 301 military suicides in 2011.

Some private experts predict that the trend will worsen this year. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and others have called military suicides an epidemic.

The Army had the highest number of suicides among active-duty troops last year at 182, but the Marine Corps had the largest percentage increase – up 50 percent to 48.

The Air Force recorded 59 suicides and the Navy had 60.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

1/14/2013 12:46:12 PM (GMT -5:00)

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