Little known facts…

A little history most people will never know about the wall.

SOMETHING to think about – Most of the parents of these men are now deceased.

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.

Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E – May 25, 1968), then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the earth (numbered 70W – continuing May 25, 1968) and ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war’s beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle’s open side and contained within the earth itself.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth , Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.

12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam .

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam .

31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers on the Wall attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . I wonder why so many from one school.

8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.

Beallsville , Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.

The Marines of Morenci – They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest . And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale – LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam . In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 – 2,415 casualties were incurred.

For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

h/t Frito


Little known facts… — 26 Comments


    The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, that the vast build up of the war was predicated on, was a lie crafted by Pres. Johnson.

    Because I was around at the time, I also assert that key people in the Bush Administration had a well founded understanding that there was a STRONG LIKELIHOOD that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – the stated predicate for the Iraq war.

    When I see the wall, I think of those things.

    • “To enhance his chances for election, [Johnson] and McNamara deceived the American people and Congress about events and the nature of the American commitment in Vietnam. They used a questionable report of a North Vietnamese attack on American naval vessels to justify the president’s policy to the electorate and to defuse Republican senator and presidential candidate Barry Goldwater’s charges that Lyndon Johnson was irresolute and “soft” in the foreign policy arena.”

  2. Pollen, too much pollen.
    My high school supplied at least one of the names on that wall.

  3. Edison High is/was located in a poor urban area. I’m guessing a lot of those boys volunteered or were drafted as college wasn’t an option for them.

  4. My uncle, PFC C S Bryant, USMC is on that wall.
    May 68, 19 years old, just a couple weeks in country.
    Operation Allen Brook.

    His was the first funeral I remember attending. I still have the brass I policed up from that day. Still can’t hear taps without choking up.

    Rest easy, Uncle Steve.

  5. Amen, Thank you for this. One of your best posts IMO. I would like to link this from my blog with your permission.

  6. It took me all of five seconds upon seeing the half size traveling “Wall” in San Jose, CA. to choke up and cry. My father was a career Army man who went to Vietnam at age 36 as a First Sergeant. I think he survived both physically and mentally compared to all those young men because of his military training and experience. He was part of the build up after the Battle of Ia Drang and served with the Air Cav at An Khe. So many names … so many lives. Politicians have no shame.

  7. Lets not forget the men who were killed by this war who never got to the wall. My stepfather(32 years regular Army) who served one tour with the 1/9CAV. in 1965 and Three tours with 5SFG and SOG, and his last as an advisor to the ARVN Rangers.(he stayed to the very end in 1975 trying to “get my people out” (My mother(a WO-5 US Army Ret.) said she fell in love with him over that) and who died a slow death from 2-4-5-T Dioxin(agent orange), or my friend “Russ”(USAF) who will soon pass from the same thing. Or my best friend and our band’s bass player in the 70,s “Butch” Piere (USMC infantry 1968) who ended his own life in 1984 “because I can’t make the nightmares stop” Let us not forget. Not all the dead made the wall. Not all the wounded got reported.

  8. My uncle was a lifer in the army also. Korea and Vietnam. Agent Orange played a part in his death as well. Rest easy, Glen. I will never forget you.

  9. LP- Understood, and agreed.

    Ray/pigpen- Oh yes, my friend Ken Tryner died three years ago, he was a brown water sailor… Sadly, we may never know the ‘true’ numbers…

  10. Every American should visit that memorial, every politician should remember those names when they contemplate foreign intervention.

    And well put about those whose lives were shortened because of that war.

    A thoughtful and moving post and reminder, many thanks.

    • +1. My father was a CBI vet. He felt the height of stupidity was getting involved in an Asian land war. Can’t say he was wrong. He would have been appalled to have a grandson in Afghanistan.

  11. I was a drilling Navy reservist (Intel) when a group of us TAD’ed to DC for a conference/training seminar. The wall was dedicated just a few years earlier, none of us could handle seeing that memorial – some of the group had been there… We talked about it, but none of went to see it. It wasn’t till many years afterwards that I visited it to see my classmates who were on the wall. Thanks for the posting, very strong emotions still, when we can identify the men and women who were lost during that war.

  12. Have a cousin and an uncle with names on there. Two high school football teammates (they were seniors when I was a sophomore). The Boss has a high school classmate on there (who was awarded the MOH) and just lost her brother to liver cancer, courtesy of Agent Orange. Too many, for no good reason.

    Damn, it’s dusty in here!

  13. Dad (two tours ’65-’66, ’69) visits the wall alone.
    Two of his men are there.
    USPS rangers can get immediate release from posting at The Wall. Comes from seeing all those personal items left by family. Not as many now as in the past. And the boots. All those boots.

  14. Stretch- Yes, that is the part that gets to folks. ALL the things left. USPS actually collects it all, and it’s stored in a warehouse.

  15. I remember the protests, and how a good friend was ushered through a back door of the airport to avoid the crowds. After a year of serving his country in the Cavalry, he returns to crowds spitting on soldiers. He didn’t deserve that, and after decades, the hurt is still there.

    • When I see that cap that says Vietnam Vet, or just the service ribbon, I make it a point of tell them, Welcome Home!

      They deserve that, and I want to make sure they get it.

  16. I used to live in Washington DC (long story), and The Wall was my favorite of all the memorials, simply because of the way the Veterans had taken it away from the Virtue Signalers. It was conceived as an insult to the fallen. Oh, if challenged, the people who so conceived it would deny that hotly, but it was supposed to be a place for the Anti-War Protesters to come and feel superior. The Vets took it from them and made it holy ground.

    I was not – by about ten years – of an age to be drafted. The men who died in Vietnam did so on my behalf, and I am and always will be grateful. I would be sand in the gears of any military enterprise. Thank you to those who have served.

    As for the Perpetually Protesting; *spits*

  17. Like STxRynn I also try to greet and Welcome Home Vietnam Vets.
    I did not know much about the facts you posted.
    I am putting this on my blog with a link back to you.

  18. I had forgotten about the Fitzgibbons. I grew up in the same neighborhood in N. Weymouth, though I was a generation younger. Lots of nephews and cousins. We all went to the local Catholic grade school.