Divorce rates edged upward last year in both Marine Corps and Army

Two branches of the nation's military continue to push programs to help service members strengthen their marriages as divorce rates increase among their ranks.

Divorce rates among married members of the Marine Corps and the Army increased during the 2008 fiscal year, according to statistics released last week by the Pentagon. The fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

The Corps experienced the largest increase of all, with 3.7 percent of the more than 84,000 married Marines getting divorced in 2008, up from 3.3 percent in 2007, according to the Defense Department.

The divorce rate among the Army's 287,000 married troops rose to 3.5 percent, up from 3.3 percent last year.

Long and repeated combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq have had an undeniable effect on the home lives of the nation's troops, said Kelly Hruska, deputy director of government relations for the National Military Family Association, a Fairfax, Va.-based nonprofit group.

"The operational tempo is extremely high," she said. "Few people were surprised by this news. I think we would have been surprised, if (divorce rates were declining.)"

Marines and soldiers have been the largest part of the fighting force on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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