Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Vietnam War

I found some statistics on the Vietnam War a few days ago and thought I would share them with all of you. The information comes from the Veterans Administration.

Source: U.S. Government (VA Web Site Stats)

Vietnam Vets: 9.7% of their generation

9,087,000 Military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era. Aug. 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975.

8,744,000 GIs Were on active duty during the war. Aug. 5, 1964 - March 28, 1973

3,403,100 (Including 514,300 Offshore) Personnel served in the 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 - Mar. 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 in Vietnam.

Peak troop strength in Vietnam: 543,482 (April 30, 1969)

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

Married men killed: 17,539

61% of the men killed were 21 or younger..

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 limb; 1,081 Sustained multiple amputations.

Amputation or crippling wounds to the lower extremities were 300% higher than in WW II and 70% higher than Korea. Multiple amputations occurred at the rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in WW II.

Missing in action: 2,338.

POWs: 766 (114 Died in captivity.)

25% (648,500) Of total forces in country were draftees.

Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.

Reservist 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.

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 Vietnam had a high school education or better when they entered the military service. (63% Of Korean War Vets and only 45% of WW II 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.

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%

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.

66% Of Vietnam Vets say they would serve again if called upon.

87% Of the public now holds Vietnam Veterans in high esteem.

All told, some fairly surprising information. I believe that it dispels a great deal of what we have been told about the Vietnam War. One of the most interesting myths that it shatters is the Civil Rights-era idea that the government sent black soldiers to the front line specifically to get black men killed and save the lives of whites. As you can see, the numbers simply do not bear out this theory. In fact, it quite clearly shows that the opposite was true. The numbers prove that African Americans served in Vietnam, served in combat and were killed in action at much lower rates than Caucasians and served in smaller numbers than their proportion of the population. This is not meant to cast any disparagement on anyone who did serve, but merely to disprove a vicious and divisive lie that has pretty much been accepted as the truth for the last 40 years. and Anyways, food for thought.

For those of you who wish to know more, visit the site that I got the info from:


  1. Very interesting thank you Mr.Kevlar

  2. "The numbers prove that African Americans served in Vietnam, served in combat and were killed in action at much lower rates than Caucasians and served in smaller numbers than their proportion of the population"

    You're right on one thing: blacks were not singled out to be sent to Vietnam - on the contrary: the number of blacks serving in VN should have been 13.5% (as per the population) - it actually was 10.6%

    However, they had a greater chance to die: of all casualties (hostile action) it then should have been 10.6% as well - but, it is 12.1%. Reversely, 88.4% of the serving men was white, yet 86.8% of the hostile dead were white.

    Realise, that the Air Force seemed mainly white: I don't think I have seen more than 1 or 2 black pilots (in pics - I was never in Nam). Perhaps there were many black doorgunners, but I have not seen them either. Meaning, most deads there (and it was a dangerous job) were white.

    That means that most black deads were on the ground - the grunts. Which then means, that they got killed disproportionally (as they didn't get killed in the Air Force, yet ended up being 12.1% of the casualties - not 10.6%). So, what got them killed more often? Did they have to walk point (also a high-risk job) more often than the white guys? (ordered by white commanders). Were VC snipers targeting blacks (to create social unrest)? Did black pointmen more often trip booby traps? Or walked into more ambushes? Were they easier targets, in the jungle? Did they freeze up more often when under fire, so they got killed more easily?

    14.6% Of Non-Combat deaths were black - it should have been 10.6% - interesting to find out where that discrepancy comes from: drugs? Diseases? Fighting among each other? Racial murder? Suicide? Prone to accidents?

    I'm just asking questions - I saw these stats before, but never got any scientific answers. Only the left-wing slur about discrimination - which is only good for propaganda and loosing wars...

    Interesting article - good blog!

  3. My only regret serving as a fighter pilot during VN was that I did not kill more to protect American lives. In country Mission of Choice, TIC's; In country weapon of choice, Nap and 20mm cannon fire, in country target of choice, Viet Cong or NV Regs in a tree line. Mameshki VN 69-73 three tours

  4. Thank you so much for this article!

    My father was in MAC-V SOG and fought at the Battle of Ahn Khe South. He served two tours in Vietnam, along with a tour in Korea as a part of the United States Army Security Agency Field Station, and served as an MP in Ethiopia.