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 a larger sense, should give you a HUGE SENSE
"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
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
I don't know about you guys, but kinda gives me
the chills, considering this is the kind of information I'm 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 2015, if any. If true, 390 VN vets die a
day. So, in 2190 days from today, if you're a live Vietnam veteran,
you are lucky... in only 6 years.
These statistics were taken from a variety of
sources to include: The VFW Magazine, the Public Information Office,
and the HQ CP Forward Observer - 1st Recon April 12, 1997.
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 28,1973).
* 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 Vietnam between 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 attack.
* 7,484 women (6,250 or 83.5% were nurses) served
* Peak troop strength in Vietnam: 543,482 (April
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 total.
8 nurses died -- 1 was KIA.
61% of the men killed were 21 or younger.
11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years
Of those killed, 17,539 were married.
Average age of men killed: 23.1 years
Total Deaths: 23.11 years
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: 18,465 - 22.55 years
Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.
The oldest man killed was 62 years old.
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 died.
Total draftees (1965 - 73): 1,728,344.
Actually served in Vietnam: 38% Marine Corps
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
86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were
Caucasian (includes Hispanics).
12.5% (7,241) were black; 1.2% belonged to other
170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2%
of total) died there.
70% of enlisted men killed were of northwest
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
34% of blacks who enlisted volunteered for the
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%
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 percent.
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 backgrounds.
Some 23% of Vietnam vets had fathers with
professional, managerial or technical occupations.
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 separation.
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
85% of Vietnam veterans made successful transitions
to civilian life.
82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly
believe the war was lost because of lack of political will.
Nearly 75% of the public agrees it was a failure of
political will, not of arms.
97% of Vietnam-era veterans were honorably
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
87% of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in
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 (census figures).
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 day.
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 24/7/365).
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. - Nixon Presidential Papers.
Any man or woman who may be asked in this century
what they did to make life worthwhile in their lifetime....can respond
with a great deal of pride and satisfaction,
served in the United States Military"