Vietnam Veterans Day March 29

New York State Honors Vietnam Veterans

 

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Vietnam War Statistics

Please note that these numbers change as more information is uncovered.

Personnel

9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era

8,744,000 personnel were on active duty during the war

3,403,100 (including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the SE Asia 
Theater
2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam
Another 50,000 men served in Vietnam between 1960 and 1964
7,484 women served in Vietnam, of whom 6,250 or 83.5% were nurses
Peak troop strength in Vietnam was 543,482, on 30 April 1969.

Casualties:

Hostile deaths: 47,359
Non-hostile deaths: 10,797
Total: 58,156 (including men formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez casualties).  (This number changes as MIAs are located)
Highest state death rate: West Virginia--84.1. (The national average death rate for males in 1970 was 58.9 per 100,000).
WIA: 303,704 - 153,329 required hospitalization, 50,375 who did not.
Severely disabled: 75,000, 23,214 were classified 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 in Korea. Multiple amputations occurred at the rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in WWII.
MIA: 2,338
POW: 766, of whom 114 died in captivity.

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 KIA: 5,977
National Guard: 6,140 served; 101 died.

Ethnic background:

88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian, 10.6% 
(275,000) were black, 1.0% belonged to other races

86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (including Hispanics)
12.5% (7,241) were black.
1.2% belonged to other races

170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2%) of whom died there.

86.8% of the men who were KIA were Caucasian
12.1% (5,711) were black; 1.1% belonged to other races.
14.6% (1,530) of non-combat deaths were black
34% of blacks who enlisted volunteered for the combat arms.

Overall, blacks suffered 12.5% of the deaths in Vietnam when the percentage 
of blacks of military age was 13.5% of the population.

Socioeconomic status:

76% of the men sent to Vietnam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds
75% had family incomes above the poverty level
23% had fathers with professional, managerial, or technical occupations.
79% of the men who served in 'Nam had a high school education or better.

Age & Honorable Service:

The average age of the G.I. in 'Nam was 19 (26 for WWII) 97% of Vietnam era vets were honorably discharged.

Pride in Service:

91% of veterans of actual combat and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are proud to have served their country. 66% of Viet vets say they would serve again, if called upon. 87% of the public now holds Viet vets in high esteem.

Helicopter crew deaths accounted for 10% of all Vietnam deaths. Helicopter losses during Lam Son 719 (a mere two months) accounted for 10% of all helicopter losses from 1961-1975. 

There were also many myths associated with the War in Vietnam; here are a few from http://www.uswings.com/vietnamfacts.asp:

 

Myth: Common belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.
Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.

Myth: The media have reported that suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 - 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.
Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. "The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans' group.

Myth: Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.
Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better.

Myth: The common belief is the average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19.
Fact: Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age.

Myth: The common belief is that the domino theory was proved false.
Fact: The domino theory was accurate. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand stayed free of Communism because of the U.S. commitment to Vietnam. The Indonesians threw the Soviets out in 1966 because of America's commitment in Vietnam. Without that commitment, Communism would have swept all the way to the Malacca Straits that is south of Singapore and of great strategic importance to the free world. If you ask people who live in these countries that won the war in Vietnam, they have a different opinion from the American news media. The Vietnam War was the turning point for Communism.

Myth: The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II.
Fact: The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter. One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,148 were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.7 million who served. Although the percent that died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds were 300 percent higher than in World War II. 75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled. MEDEVAC helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted (nearly half were American). The average time lapse between wounding to hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result, less than one percent of all Americans wounded, who survived the first 24 hours, died. The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility. Without the helicopter it would have taken three times as many troops to secure the 800 mile border with Cambodia and Laos (the politicians thought the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords or 1962 would secure the border).

Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972 (shown a million times on American television) was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang.
Fact: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on the ground. The Vietnamese pilot who dropped the napalm in error is currently living in the United States. Even the AP photographer, Nick Ut, who took the picture, was Vietnamese. The incident in the photo took place on the second day of a three day battle between the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) who occupied the village of Trang Bang and the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) who were trying to force the NVA out of the village. Recent reports in the news media that an American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are incorrect. There were no Americans involved in any capacity. "We (Americans) had nothing to do with controlling VNAF," according to Lieutenant General (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth, the Commanding General of TRAC at that time. Also, it has been incorrectly reported that two of Kim Phuc's brothers were killed in this incident. They were Kim's cousins not her brothers.

Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam.
Fact: The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. General Westmoreland quoting Douglas Pike (a professor at the University of California, Berkeley), a major military defeat for the VC and NVA.

 

 

MEMOY OF:

Army Sergeant Stanley Richard Tokarski was lost to the war on October 23, 1969. He was 20 years old when he died. My friend, My brother in arms, always in my thoughts. New York and Greenpoint miss him.