Why are so many young Californian veterans dying?

The death rate for California veterans below the age of 35 is above that of active-duty soldiers and civilians, with 1,363 passing away between 2006 and 2011 alone.

Possible causes for that trend were all too apparent after a careful look into state records.

Veterans were more than twice as likely as other civilians to commit suicide. They were twice as likely to be a victim of a fatal motor vehicle crash and a quarter more likely to suffer other deadly accidents.

This isn’t the first time death rates for veterans returning home from war have spiked. Those who served during Vietnam and the Persian Gulf Wars were more likely to die after coming home - but studying and solving the phenomenon has largely been far from the government’s top priority.

Read our full report here.

Photos: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

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