Facts, Statistics, Fake Warrior Numbers, and Myths Dispelled
9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the official Vietnam era from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.
2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam
Vietnam Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation.
240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War
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.
58,148 were killed in Vietnam
75,000 were severely disabled
23,214 were 100% disabled
5,283 lost limbs
1,081 sustained multiple amputations
Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21
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
Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.
The oldest man killed was 62 years old.
As of January 15, 2 004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War
97% of Vietnam Veterans were honorably discharged
91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served
74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome
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.
87% of Americans hold Vietnam Veterans in high esteem.
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.
Interesting Census Stats and "Been There" Wanabees:
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 errored 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).
Fact: 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. 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.
Fact: Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.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.
Here are statistics from the Combat Area Casualty File (CACF) as of November 1993. The CACF is the basis for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
(The Wall): Average age of 58,148 killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years. (Although 58,169 names are in the Nov. 93 database, only 58,148 have both event date and birth date. Event date is used instead of declared dead date for some of those who were listed as missing in action)
Deaths Average Age:
Total: 58,148 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
Fact: The common belief is the average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19. 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.
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.
Fact: The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II. 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.
Fact: 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).
Fact: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi 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. 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.
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, Berkley a major military defeat for the VC and NVA. THE UNITED STATES DID NOT LOSE THE WAR IN VIETNAM, THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE DID. Read on........
The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam. The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973.
How could we lose a war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S. forces, limitation of both sides' forces inside South Vietnam and a commitment to peaceful reunification. The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives.
There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 then there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in Vietnam. Thanks for the perceived loss and the countless assassinations and torture visited upon Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians goes mainly to the American media and their undying support-by-misrepresentation of the anti-War movement in the United States.
Fact: There are a large number of people who believe, based on "live sighting" reports as well as satellite imagery which appear to show "evader signals", that North Vietnam and Laos still hold live American POWs.
Avilable evidence does support the belief the North Vietnamese did withhold some American POWs in 1973.
Consider that while it is possible that the North Vietnamese could have witheld Americans as a possible "bargaining chip" in the event that the U.S. violated the terms of the Paris Peace Treaty (the U.S. did not, the North Vietnamese did), what could they possibly have done with them after 1975? They could not very well announce to the world what they had done. Even Communists propagandists would have been hard pressed to explain the sudden appearance of six hundred-plus Americans who they had repeatedly denied existed. It is believed that the North Vietmamese and Pathet Lao forces did withold Americans, but many could have been starved them to death or murdered outright or have been sent to China or Russia in order to cover up their deceit.
It defies belief that the North Vietnamese would risk international condemnation (as weak and ambivalent as that would have been) by keeping these people alive in Laos or Vietnam. Since they were listed in most cases by U.S. Forces as "Missing, presumed killed", all the North Vietnamese had to do was simply remain silent and send them away or worse. Then they were "killed in action".
It is a horrible possibility that the many of the Americans listed as MIA today were intentionally murdered by North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao forces soon after their capture. After Action Reports of SOG teams who made insertions into Laos indicate that Americans who were taken prisoner were usually gratuitously tortured and then murdered soon after their capture by local commanders. Many who were captured alive were subsequently murdered by VC and NVA forces in the process of being marched to POW camps in Laos and North Vietnam. A good example is the case of an American missionary working at the Leprosarium in Ban Me Thout. Betty Olson was murdered by her North Vietnamese captors after she became ill from Dengue Fever. She received no medical treatment from her captors, and when she became too weak to walk they shot her.
This was apparently routine treatment by people who Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden refer to as "heroic freedom fighters". There is also a certain percentage of Americans downed in Laos who probably successfully evaded capture only to die of starvation or exposure in the wild jungles of eastern Laos. If you have never been to the mountainous Central Highlands area of South Vietnam, which extend westward into Laos, you have no appreciation as to just how wild and trackless the area is. It can, and did, hid divisions of troops. It is not hard to imagine downed pilots and SOG personnel wandering around in this wilderness unseen by friend and foe alike.
What is a sham is the North Vietnamese effort to help locate and return the remains of Americans listed as MIA. Totalitarian governments such as North Vietnam's record everything in minute detail. I believe that they have recorded the location of every single American aircraft lost over land in Southeast Asia during the war. I also believe that they have detailed records as to the fates of the crews and passengers aboard these aircraft.