Some Important Data and Statistics: Please read on...
In case you haven't been paying
attention these past few decades after you returned from
Vietnam, the clock has been ticking. The following are some
statistics that are at once depressing yet, in another
sense, should give one a sense of pride.
"Of the 2,709,918 Americans who
served in Vietnam; less than 850,000 are estimated to be
alive today, with the youngest American Vietnam veteran's
age approximated to be 54 years old."
So, if you're alive and reading
this, how does it feel to be among the last
1/3rd of all the U.S. Vets who served in Vietnam? Don't know
about you, but kinda gives me the chills, considering this
is the kind of information we are used to reading about WWII
and Korean War vets.
So the last 14 years we are dying
too fast, only a few will survive by
If true, 390 VN vets die a day, on
average. So in 2190 days from today, you're lucky to be a
Vietnam veteran alive..... In only 6 years..
These statistics were taken from a
variety of sources to include: The VFW Magazine, the Public
Information Office, and the Forward Observer
FOR YOUR INFORMATION,
STATISTICS FOR INDIVIDUALS IN
UNIFORM AND IN COUNTRY VIETNAM VETERANS:
* 9,087,000 military personnel
served on active duty during the Vietnam Era
(August 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975).
* 8,744,000 GIs were on active duty
during the war (Aug 5, 1964-March
* 2,709,918 Americans served in
Vietnam , this number represents 9.7% of their generation.
* 3,403,100 (Including 514,300
offshore) personnel served in the broader Southeast Asia
Theater ( Vietnam , Laos , Cambodia , flight crews based in
Thailand , and sailors in adjacent South China Sea waters).
* 2,594,000 personnel served within
the borders of South Vietnam (Jan.
1,1965 - March 28, 1973). Another 50,000 men served in
1960 and 1964.
* Of the 2.6 million, between 1-1.6
million (40-60%) either fought in combat, provided close
support or were at least fairly regularly exposed to enemy
* 7,484 women (6,250 or 83.5% were
nurses) served in Vietnam .
* Peak troop strength in Vietnam :
543,482 (April 30, 1968).
The first man to die in Vietnam was
James Davis, in 1958. He was with the
509th Radio Research Station. Davis Station in Saigon was
named for him.
Hostile deaths: 47,378
Non-hostile deaths: 10,800
Total: 58,202 (Includes men
formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez casualties). Men who
have subsequently died of wounds account for the changing
8 nurses died -- 1 was KIA..
61% of the men killed were 21 or
11,465 of those killed were younger
than 20 years old.
Of those killed, 17,539 were
Average age of men killed: 23.1
Enlisted: 50,274 22.37 years
Officers: 6,598 28.43 years
Warrants: 1,276 24.73 years
E1: 525 20.34 years
11B MOS(Infantry): 18,465 22.55
Five men killed in Vietnam were
only 16 years old.
The oldest man killed was 62 years
Highest state death rate: West
Virginia - 84.1% (national average 58.9% for every 100,000
males in 1970).
Wounded: 303,704 -- 153,329
hospitalized + 150,375 injured requiring no hospital care.
Severely disabled: 75,000, --
23,214: 100% disabled;
5,283 lost limbs; 1,081 sustained multiple amputations.
Amputation or crippling wounds to
the lower extremities were 300% higher than in WWII and 70%
higher than Korea .
Multiple amputations occurred at
the rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in WWII.
Missing in Action: 2,338
POWs: 766 (114 died in captivity)
As of January 15, 2004, there are
1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
DRAFTEES VS.. VOLUNTEERS:
25% (648,500) of total forces in
country were draftees.
(66% of U.S. Armed forces members were drafted during WWII).
Draftees accounted for 30.4%
(17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam .
Reservists killed: 5,977
National Guard: 6,140 served: 101
Total draftees (1965 - 73):
Actually served in Vietnam : 38%
Marine Corps Draft:
Last man drafted: June 30, 1973.
RACE AND ETHNIC BACKGROUND:
88.4% of the men who actually
served in Vietnam were Caucasian; 10.6%
(275,000) were black; 1% belonged to other races.
86.3% of the men who died in
Vietnam were Caucasian (includes Hispanics);
12.5% (7,241) were black; 1.2%
belonged to other races.
170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam
; 3,070 (5.2% of total) died there.
70% of enlisted men killed were of
North-west European descent.
86.8% of the men who were killed as
a result of hostile action were caucasian; 12.1% (5,711)
were black; 1.1% belonged to other races.
14.6% (1,530) of non-combat deaths
were among blacks.
34% of blacks who enlisted
volunteered for the combat arms.
Overall, blacks suffered 12.5% of
the deaths in Vietnam at a time when the percentage of
blacks of military age was 13.5% of the total population.
Religion of Dead: Protestant --
64.4%; Catholic -- 28.9%; other/none --
6.7% SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS:
Vietnam veterans have a lower
unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups.
Vietnam veterans' personal income
exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18
76% of the men sent to Vietnam were
from lower middle/working class backgrounds.
Three-fourths had family incomes
above the poverty level; 50% were from middle income
Some 23% of Vietnam vets had
fathers with professional, managerial or technical
79% of the men who served in
Vietnam had a high school education or better when they
entered the military service. 63% of Korean War vets and
only 45% of WWII vets had completed high school upon
Deaths by region per 100,000 of
population: South -- 31%, West --29.9%; Midwest -- 28.4%;
Northeast -- 23.5%.
DRUG USAGE & CRIME:
There is no difference in drug
usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of
the same age group. (Source: Veterans Administration Study)
Vietnam Veterans are less likely to
be in prison - only one-half of one percent of Vietnam
Veterans have been jailed for crimes.
85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to
WINNING & LOSING:
82% of veterans who saw heavy
combat strongly believe the war was lost because of lack of
Nearly 75% of the public agrees it
was a failure of political will, not of arms.
97% of Vietnam-era veterans were
91% of actual Vietnam War veterans
and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are proud to have
served their country.
74% say they would serve again,
even knowing the outcome.
87% of the public now holds Vietnam
veterans in high esteem..
INTERESTING CENSUS STATISTICS &
THOSE TO CLAIM TO HAVE "Been There":
1,713,823 of those who served in
Vietnam were still alive as of August,1995
During that same Census count, the
number of Americans falsely claiming to have served
in-country was: 9,492,958.
As of the current Census taken
during August, 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran
population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to believe,
losing nearly 711,000 between '95 and '00. That's 390 per
During this Census count, the
number of Americans falsely claiming to have served
in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE
WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.
The Department of Defense Vietnam
War Service Index officially provided by The War Library
originally reported with errors that 2,709,918 U.S. military
personnel as having served in-country. Corrections and
confirmations to this erred index resulted in the addition
of 358 U.S. military personnel confirmed to have served in
Vietnam but not originally listed by the Department of
Defense. (All names are currently on file and accessible
Isolated atrocities committed by
American Soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war
critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were
so common that they received hardly any media mention at
all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent
attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on
civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who
deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences
while Communists who did so received commendations.
From 1957 to 1973, the National
Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted
another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the
village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the
peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and
school teachers. - Source: Nixon Presidential Papers.
Statistics -- The Vietnam Wall
"Carved on these
walls is the story of America, of a continuing quest to
preserve both democracy and decency, and to protect a
national treasure that we call the American dream."
Something to think about: Most of the surviving parents of
the dead are now deceased themselves.
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black
wall, including those added in 2010.
The names are arranged in the order in which they were
taken from us by date and within each date the names are
alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of
North Weymouth , Mass., listed by the U.S. Department of
Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is
listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance
Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7,
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
39,996 soldiers on the Wall were just 22 years old or
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock, was 15 years old.
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam .
1,448 soldiers were killed on their last scheduled day in
31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
54 soldiers on the Wall attended Thomas Edison High School
in Philadelphia.... wonder why so many from one school?
8 Women are on the Wall -- nursing the wounded.
244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the
153 of them are on the Wall.
Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in
the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest
high school football and basketball teams that the little
Arizona copper town of Morenci
(pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed
roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses
along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache
National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of
Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci
High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service
began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom
Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three
consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and
Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They
played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all
went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all
three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov.
22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's
assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on
Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on
Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January
31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 ~
2,415 casualties were incurred.
For many Americans who read this they will only see the
numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who
survived the war, and to the families of those who did not,
we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers
created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these
numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands,
wife's, sons and daughters.
There are no noble wars.... Just noble warriors.