Thursday, March 04, 2010

Some interesting statistics on the Vietnam War.

In the event you have busy getting along with your life these past few decades since you returned from Vietnam, the clock has been ticking. The following are some statistics of interest...

"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."

Only 1/3 of all the U.S. Vets who served in Vietnam are still alive. This is the kind of information we are used to reading about WWII and Korean War vets. So for the last 14 years we have been dying too fast and, perhaps, only a few will survive by 2015...if any. If this is true, 390 Vietnam Vets die every day, on average. So in 2190 days from today, you're lucky to be a living Vietnam Veteran.....

The following statistics were taken from a variety of sources, including The VFW Magazine, the Public Information Office, and the Forward Observer


* 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- and 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 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 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 old.

Of those killed, 17,539 were married.

Average age of men killed: 23.1 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(Infantry) : 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.


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 Draft: 42,633.

Last man drafted: June 30, 1973.


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 Northwest 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%


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%.


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 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 discharged.

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...

This is REALLY interesting...


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..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.


Suldog said...

I'm a big-time stats geek, so this was fascinating, especially the high number of liars.

Sarge Charlie said...

I'm with Suldog, there are those that did and those that say they did. Damn, I am 72.5 years, must not have much longer to live.

Sarge Charlie said...

I did a shout out for this post.

*Goddess* said...

I remember seeing/hearing something about the Vietnam War NIGHTLY on the NBC news. Now here we are, more connected than ever, and days go by and you don't see one thing about the Iraq war on the news. Sadly, you'd never even know we were there.

AirmanMom said...

I stopped by after visiting Sarge...
Sad, very sad!

Amazing Gracie said...

Came over from Sarge's, too.
I lost quite a few classmates in Viet Nam. I hated the war, mainly because I was a young wife and mother. But I was also a young Republican, so I defended all of you. I still do...

Kacey said...

I'm another one of Sarge Charlie's faithful....we go anywhere he tells us. This is definitely one of his best referrals. The teenager who babysat for my children, grew up and married her sweetheart. He was deployed to VietNam while she was pregnant with her first child. She didn't even make it to her delivery date before he was killed. I think it was within the first month of his service. It's hard to believe that people who protested that "police action", now claim to have served there. Thanks for this post!

Mushy said...

All I know is, we were winning when I was there.

The war is still killing vets with it's suicide and agent orange repercussions.

FHB said...

Thanks folks, for all the great comments.

I grew up during the war, part of a generation that knew what it was to lose a war and see everyone's trust in our country dissolve. It still haunts me. I think, one day, the real story of the war, stripped of media hype and false anti-war "conventional wisdom", will be told. It's already being told.

I'm reading a book now... A Better War, The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years In Vietnam, by Lewis Sorley.

It's an excellent telling of the history of the later years. The Abrams years, after LBJ and Westy left.

Check it out.

BRUNO said...

All I'll add it that it was NOT LOST due to lack of military might, or firepower, whatever you prefer to call it. Nor was it lost due to troops' lack of morale, for the most part. It was lost in the MEDIA. Just MY opinion.

And we'll be "lucky", in a manner of speaking, if this current-war doesn't suffer the same indignity soon, due to "Political-Correctness". And this, too, is just one of MY opinions...

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