LONDON, July 10 -- Nearly half of the members of British armed forces regularly think of quitting, according to a major Defense Ministry survey that comes amid concerns that sustained war in Iraq and Afghanistan is hurting morale.
In a survey of nearly 9,000 people in the army, air force and navy, the first of its kind, respondents cited the impact of overseas tours on personal life, pay and job opportunities outside the military as top reasons to leave. Excitement and pensions were listed as reasons to stay.
"There is a difference between thinking about leaving and leaving," Defense Minister Derek Twigg told reporters. He noted that half also said they wanted to continue or extend military service. Twigg said there were many positive signs, including that military personnel
overwhelmingly said they were proud to serve (93 percent of army officers and 76 percent of soldiers).
But Patrick Mercer, a member of Parliament from the opposition Conservative Party and a former army officer, called the findings worrisome. "British forces are very much up for the fight, but they are getting extremely tired of endless operational tours," he said in an interview.
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