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  • Sweeney, Sean P.
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    Aaron M. Tribbett, an Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) cadet at The Citadel, S.C., has graduated from the U.S. Army Air Assault School and earned the honor of wearing the Air Assault Badge.
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    Air Force Airman 1st Class Wesley A. Mericle graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

Military suicides spiked in 2012, to record 349

WASHINGTON – The Associated Press has learned that suicides in the U.S. 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.