- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
- HONORABLE SERVICE:
- 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.
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.
Vietnam Wall Facts
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
~ Ronald Reagan
These are amazing – and heartbreaking – facts! A little history most people will never know.
Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
- 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 55 (62) years since the first casualty.
- 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, 1965.
- There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
- 39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
- 8,283 were just 19 years old.
- The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.
- 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 day in Vietnam.
- 31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
- Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
- 54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I 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 Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.
- Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
- 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 most 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, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.
by Fred Childs
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