A little history most people will never know. Interesting Veteran Statistics from the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.
They arranged the names 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 61 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 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 died on their first day in Vietnam.
1,448 soldiers died on their last day in Vietnam.
They list 31 sets of brothers 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 January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 – 2,415 casualties.
Most Americans who read this 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.
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Thank you for all your articles ❤️
“Nobody knows ‘crazy’ like the infantry” Joe Galloway
I know a retired Navy Chaplin, Capt. (Father) John Crews, that went back to Viet Nam with a group that excavated a helicopter crash site that was near a ‘Yar Village. The ‘Yars treated the site as a Sacred Site so it was undisturbed . They were able to DNA everyone that was on board. That said, I hope that all of their names have been added to “The Wall”.
Very interesting article. We all need the reminder of the tragedy. I was amazed to find out the youngest to be killed was only 15 years old. No words.
the statistic are very interesting.
Philip Huth a classmate ‘s name is there. I saw it on the portable wall when they brought it to San Antonio a long time ago. I wanted to see it on the wall in DC. The weather was a little rainy that day and the park employees decided it was too wet to report to work that day. What about the 500 hundred or so that could not see it that day/
And the tears still flow!
Those of us that walked the walk understand the pain and we love it every day. Rip Heroes 2/7. 1966. Garry Owen
Live it not love it
Hero’s, one and all.
I visited the wall in D C several years ago
I got halfway thru and had to leave. The emotions were the most intense I have ever had. I could hear the voices and see the carnage. War truly is hell!
Richard Troy U.S.Army 1963-1965
I went to see “The Wall” in 1990, it took me a while before I could walk up to it. While I served in ‘Nam ’64 to’65 in Da Nang I was one of the lucky ones, not so much as a scratch. I returned to VietNam (this time because I wanted to) in 2009. That did me a lot of good. To see the prosperity and the freedom(s) that the VNs have now is something to behold. I recommend to every Veteran I know to return at least once. If you need closure returning will be a step in the right direction.
These numbers and the young men and women they represent are chilling ,every time I see the flag or hear our nations anthem I see the faces of the ones I served with who didn’t make it home alive. I am deeply grateful for their willingness to serve even it it could cost them their lives.
As all of your articles continue to be. I didn’t make it to ‘Nam but I’ve read almost everything you’ve written over the years.
I attempted to enlist in 1958 but none of the Services wanted me due to a health issue. When I got to the US CoastGuard they said yes but I never made it past Groton Connecticut!
Keep up the good work.
Fort Pierce, FL
A few other facts about the Vietnam Memorial.
1. It was built entirely with private funds. One of the biggest donors being businessman and later Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot.
2. Maya Lin’s design was not well received by many veterans and funders, which prompted the adding of a specific monument depicting 3 American Servicemen facing the Wall, along with a flagpole.
3. Reagan’s controversial Secretary of the Interior James Watt refused to issue a building permit for the memorial’s construction. After much protest he reversed his decision.
4. The Interior Department waited until the last minute to accept and allow the dedication of the memorial.
5. The Vietnam Memorial Wall, along with John F. Kennedy’s gravesite are the two most visited monuments in Washington.
What does IWOA Army stand for?
I read this with tears in my eyes , embarrassed that as a survivor I weep, but proud I served . I will never forget you brothers !
Don’t ever forget the siblings left behind. We hurt just as much as all the others in the family.
While I have seen the wall in Washington, DC this article brought me back to the late night call when we learned my brother in law was KIA in March, 1968. My husband, then boyfriend, went over in December, 1967 with 8 close high school friends who all volunteered and by May, 1968 all but my husband and one other had been KIA
Many were lost in Cambodia, Laos & Thailand as we were advisors there but under gun fire!
It is an experience I hold dear for the ones lost, I cherish my service in RVN, and yet I would not like to do it again.
As I learn about the politics I get angry the way this involvement was conducted.
You need to do some fact-checking on this. Obvious error: 39, 996 KIA
under 22 , but8,283 19 year-olds + 33,103 18 year-olds = 41,386 18 or 19
– more than all under-22’s. Bottom panel says average age was 20. I also
don’t believe more 18 year-olds than 19 year-olds.
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Lots of history, so many young lives lost, we went over as boys, aged so fast, came home much older and wiser but our brothers and sisters who gave their all wii remain “Forever , Young”.
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These two lines have bothered me since this piece surfaced more than a few years ago:
“997 soldiers died on their first day in Vietnam.”
“1,448 soldiers died on their last day in Vietnam.”
They strike me as nonsensical statistics.
Possibly bureaucrat statisticians with incomplete data dumping KIA info into individuals’ first or last tour dates for convenience?
Does anyone know who determined these two numbers and how they were arrived at? They simply do not make sense.
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I have seen these KIA by age numbers many times and they make no sense yet keep getting published. Also the 1st/last day total of 2445 is ridiculous. Simply dividing 58267 by 365 x 2 (1st + last day) = 319 avg. total per day of the year for the whole war. Most guys were not even in the field on their first/last day in country further shooting holes in these numbers. That being said, I salute the 5 KIA’s from D/2/16, 1st Inf Div during my tour.
The day I arrived, April 11 at Saigon, the replacement depot had been mortared the night before. There were 11 killed, 5 new arrivals and 6 guys that were to go home on the plane I arrived on. Technically most of the KIAs in Nam were killed on their last day.
I get the “last day” technicality but of course it was meant as the last scheduled day of your tour. I’m not saying it never happened (example, your story) but the quoted number of 2445 is statistically absurd.
Thank you for all your articles. This one really tells the story of the war as well the wall
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Many Thanks for the great info and facts ….. I have been doing volunteer work with the Traveling Wall since 2009….. When I state the stats to folks, they are absolutely stunned, and say they had no idea of all of the casualties !!!!! Keep up the terrific work !!!!!
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