The death toll among National Guard and Reserve troops in Iraq has plunged this year as citizen soldiers play a smaller combat role against an insurgency that increasingly targets Iraqis.
Thus far in August, five members of the Guard and Reserve have died in Iraq, compared with 44 at this point in August 2005, the deadliest month of the war for the Guard and Reserve.
The number of Guard and Reserve deaths for the year totals 54 - less than one-third of the 189 recorded at this point last year. In the comparable period in 2004, the death toll was 92, according to Defense Department casualty records.
The death count for all U.S. forces in Iraq - both active and reserve - has slid from an average of a little over two per day last year to a little under two per day so far this year.
The main reason for the decline in reservist deaths is that fewer are being sent to Iraq. They comprise a little under 20 percent of the 138,000 U.S. troops now there, compared with about 40 percent last year.