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Combat is the single highest-risk life event known to mankind. So much so that as many as 96 percent of the men who stormed Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day of WWII were killed or wounded. And if you consider the mental state of the four percent who were not physical casualties… well, where did the percentage lie then?

The four-percenters from the first wave at Omaha Beach. 3rd Batallion, 116th Regimental Combat Team (RCT).

High-risk training is how the military attempts to simulate the arduous conditions of combat. But how risky should the high-risk training be, and how does the military quantify the level of risk to which it is exposing troops? This is done by coming up with the casualty rate incurred during training events; that is, the risk is weighed against the percentage of casualties the military is willing to accept for the training of troops.

The flaming question now, is what number — the magic percentage — of casualties in training does the military accept? I’ll only tell you that it is in the vicinity of five percent, though the exact number is not available for us to know. I’ll also tell you that by comparison, the Russian military accepts ten percent casualties in training in its armed forces. Numbers of course are all relative, sure, but ten percent is high, in the realm of shocking, in comparison to our own military doctrine.