Facts on Vietnam Service…

This from 2009…  I found it buried in my email while looking for something else on Nam…


Subject: [Chapter61DisabledRetirees] Fw: Vietnam War Stats.UPDATE]

To all who served and are now serving — Thank you for your service.

RVN class of 66-67
USMACV Phan Rang

Here are some updated statistics concerning Vietnam era service. I am surprised at the survivors update at the beginning of the stats.

In case you haven’t been paying attention these past few decades after you returned from Vietnam, the clock has been ticking. The following are some statistics that are at once depressing yet in a larger sense should give you a HUGE SENSE OF PRIDE.

“Of the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam, Less than 850,000 are estimated to be alive today, with the youngest American Vietnam veteran’s age approximated to be 54 years old.”

So, if you’re alive and reading this, how Does it feel to be among the last 1/3rd of all the U.S. Vets who served in VietNam?!?!? …don’t know about you guys, but kinda gives me the chills, Considering this is the kind of information I’m used to reading about WWII and Korean War vets…

So the last 14 years we are dying too fast, only the few will survive by 2015…if any.. If true, 390 VN vets die a day. so in 2190 days…from today, lucky to be a Vietnam veteran alive….. in only 6 years..

These statistics were taken from a variety of sources to include: The VFW Magazine, the Public Information Office, and the HQ CP Forward Observer – 1st Recon April 12, 1997.


* 9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era (August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975).

* 8,744,000 GIs were on active duty during the war (Aug 5, 1964-March 28,1973).

* 2,709,918 Americans served in Vietnam, this number represents 9.7% of their generation.

* 3,403,100 (Including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the broader 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 – March 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, 1968).


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.

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 acco unt for the changing total.

8 nurses died — 1 was KIA.

61% of the men killed were 21 or younger.

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

Total Deaths: 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

Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.

The oldest man killed was 62 years old.

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 limbs; 1,081 sustained multiple amputations.

Amputation or crippling wounds to the lower extremities were 300% higher than in WWII and 70% higher than 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 captivity)

As of January 15, 2004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.


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 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.


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 North-west 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 militar y age was 13.5% of the total population.

Religion of Dead: Protestant — 64.4%; Catholic — 28.9%; other/none — 6.7% SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS:

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.

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 in Vietnam had a high school education or better when they entered the military service. 63% of Korean War vets and only 45% of WWII 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%.


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 li fe.


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.

74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome.

87% of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in high esteem.

Worth thinking about… As we now have a ‘new’ generation of warriors who have done ten years in combat…  

Especially in light of the treatment (or lack of) we’re getting from the VA.  

Remember those who didn’t make it back, THAT is what this weekend is all REALLY about…  

WWII vets are dying at the rate of 16,500/mo, Korea vets 13,500/mo, Nam vets 11,700 mo..


Facts on Vietnam Service… — 22 Comments

  1. Some 23% of Vietnam vets had fathers with professional, managerial or technical occupations.

    I found that the most interesting stat of all. One wonders what that figure is today, just for comparison’s sake. That said, all the stats are very interesting and I thank you for puttin’ ’em up.

    I was in for the whole shootin’ match, if one uses the 1964 date as the starting point. The strangest thing, personally, is the fact I never set foot “in country” during that whole time, even though I had an active volunteer statement in from 1966 – ’68. I changed my volunteer status when my second son came into the world in ’68.

  2. It gets worse. The U.S. Population from 1960-1970 ran from 180 Mil to 203 Mil. Which means during the ‘Nam years, about 5% of the TOTAL Population wore a Uniform. 2000-2010 Population ran from 280 Mil to 309. In Uniform? About 2 Mil, including Guard and Reserve. Breaks down to LESS than 1% of the TOTAL Population. Remove the Grandmas, Babies, Illegals, etc who can’t serve, that means over 98% of those who could Serve, don’t.

    Guess Rudyard was right. “So it’s Tommy this and Tommy that…”

  3. Thank you for the data. What I need, as with any “data” is the source.

    My father, career Army, retired 1st Sgt., was in country with Air Cav during ’66-’67. He passed in ’87 from a heart attack.

    Thank you to all you guys for your service and God bless you with many years of healthy life.

  4. And somewhere in Heaven, probably catching up with some of his old friends, Lu’s dad is saying Amen.

    Miss you Sarge. God bless you and all your comrades.

  5. It was decided that agent Orange was/is the source of my heart problems.

  6. Agulia- I wish I could give you that, all I had was the email. Thoughts and prayers in memory of your Dad.

    Six- Amen

    gfa- You’re welcome. I feel it’s the least I can do, since I made it back.

  7. These numbers are mind blowing.
    Thank-you for your service.
    I will cross post this.

  8. Also RVN 66-67, also Phan Rang (and a lot of road time between there and Cam Ranh Bay).

    Still alive and kicking
    and remembering
    and not forgiving those who killed the will.

    The Wall is very real.

  9. I was an Air Force Forward Air Controller who flew 300 combat missions in 1971. About one in 10 FACs were killed or went missing in combat. (223 of approximately 2,400 FACs who went to Vietnam). Low and slow in an unarmed Cessna, finding the enemy, running airstrikes, and supporting ground troops in hot contact was not conducive to a long life expectancy.

    What may be the final FAC reunion will take place later this year. Fewer and fewer of us still around every year — but every one of us proud of what we did and how we did it.

  10. USMC Vet In-country in 1968-69. Very stunning stats and scary.
    I have buried 3 close Viet Nam Vet friends in the last 1 1/2
    years. Suspect it was left overs from being in-country.
    To all you other vets, stay healthy and be proud of what we tried to do and support each other. Thanks for your service.

  11. Thank you for your service,Im honored to have a brother who served in Viet Nam.

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