|March 8, 2000 E-Mail from MRFA member, James Bledsoe
These are results of a new survey from THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL
FUND, Washington DC. It plays with preconceptions we may have
Vietnam Veterans really are.
A STATISTICAL PROFILE IN UNIFORM AND IN COUNTRY
* Vietnam Vets: 9.7% of their
generation. 9,087,000 military
personnel served on
active duty during the Vietnam era (Aug 5,
8,744,000 GIs were on active duty during the
war (Aug 5, 1964-March
* 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
* 2,594,000 personnel served within
the borders of South Vietnam
(Jan 1,1965-March 28,
* Another 50,000 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
* 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
formerly classified as MIA and Mayaquez
subsequently died of wounds account for the hanging
* 8 nurses died-1 was KIA.
* Married men killed: 17,539.
* 61% of the men killed were 21 or
* Highest state death rate: West
Virginia- 84.1 (national average
58.9 for every 100,000
males in 1970).
* Wounded: 303,704-153,329
requiring no hospital care.
* Severely disabled: 75,000-23,214
100% disabled; 5,283 lost
limbs; 1,081 sustained
* 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.
* Missing in Action: 2,338.
POWs: 766 (114 died in
DRAFTEES VS. VOLUNTEERS
* 25% (648,500) of total forces in
country were draftees. (66% of
US armed forces members
were drafted during WWII).
* Draftees accounted for 30.4%
(17,725) of combat deaths in
* Reservists killed: 5,977.
* National Guard: 6,140 served, 101
* Total draftees (1965-73)1,728,344.
* Actually served in Vietnam 38%.
* Marine Corps draft: 42,633.
* Last draftee: June 30, 1973.
RACE AND ETHNIC BACKGROUND
* 88.4% of those who actually served
in Vietnam were Caucasian.
* 10.6% were black.
* 1% belonged to other races.
* 86.3% of the men who died in
Vietnam were Caucasian (includes
* 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
* 70% of enlisted men killed were of
Northwest European descent.
* 86.8% of the men who were killed
as a result of hostile action
* 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 that 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
* 76% of the men sent to Vietnam
were from lower middle and
* 3/4ths had family incomes above
the poverty level; 50% were from
backgrounds. - Some 23% of Vietnam vets had
professional, managerial or technical occupations.
* 79% who served had a high school
education or better. (63% of
Korean War and only 45%
of WWII vets had completed high school
DEATHS BY REGION PER 100,000 OF POPULATION:
WINNING AND LOSING
* 82% of vets who saw heavy combat
strongly believe the war was
lost because of lack of
* Nearly 75% of the public agrees it
was a failure of political
will, not arms.
* 97% of Vietnam-era veterans were
* 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.