Interesting Stats on Viet-Nam war Vs.. Media facts


Mi Staff Sergeant
MI.Net Member
Jul 17, 2006
Vietnam: Fact vs Fiction

By Slab

This was posted on a military-related message board that I visit from time to time. Some very interesting facts in here - I'll post some highlights and put the rest below the jump.
- 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.
- Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only one-half of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.
- As of the current Census taken during August, 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. 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.
- Myth: Common Belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.
Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.
Another very interesting article, by Dr. K.G. Sears, sheds even more light on the debt of gratitude we owe to our Vietnam veterans. They served with honor and distinction, and rarely received the recognition they were due. Thank you for your service.
Found here.
• 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).
• Isolated atrocities committed by American Soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers. - Nixon Presidential Papers Common Myths Dispelled: Myth: Common Belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted. Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. 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 a disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War.
• Fact: 86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races. Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their recently published book "All That We Can Be," said they analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during Vietnam "and can report definitely that this charge is untrue. Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia  a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war."
• 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. 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
• 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.
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. As with much of the Vietnam War, the news media misreported and misinterpreted the 1968 Tet Offensive. It was reported as an overwhelming success for the Communist forces and a decided defeat for the U.S. forces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite initial victories by the Communists forces, the Tet Offensive resulted in a major defeat of those forces. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the designer of the Tet Offensive, is considered by some as ranking with Wellington, Grant, Lee and MacArthur as a great commander. Still, militarily, the Tet Offensive was a total defeat of the Communist forces on all fronts. It resulted in the death of some 45,000 NVA troops and the complete, if not total destruction of the Viet Cong elements in South Vietnam. The Organization of the Viet Cong Units in the South never recovered. The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one front and that was the News front and the political arena. This was another example in the Vietnam War of an inaccuracy becoming the perceived truth. However, inaccurately reported, the News Media made the Tet Offensive famous.
Please give all credit and research to:
Capt. Marshal Hanson, U.S.N.R (Ret.)
Capt. Scott Beaton, Statistical Source
sal; Thanks for the Post, Most of what is there I've been aware of or suspected all along. Those soldiers were given the shaft. As for the media, F**K'EM those freakin' vultures.

I thank all, Aussie to American, who served there, fighting Communism.

sal; Bob

Thank you for clarifying many myths about the war. I participated as an army officer in Vietnam during 1968-69. I'm entering this comment in April of 2008, apparently when only 10% of those vets are alive !! I wonder if 10% of WW II. vets are still alive!?
This fact sheet has been around and went around for many years. I would hate to think that I had served in Vietnam and this "fact sheet" is my main source of information on the myths or statistics of the Vietnam War. Be careful what credence you give to any internet comprehensive paper/source, including this one, for definitive information on the Vietnam War. The American War Library is one source that I have found to have far too much personal bias and misinformation and manipulation of facts to not be suspect for me. I always look for more than one collaborating source, preferably unit records or after-action reports. For example, I believe the statistics given in this paper on the number of deceased and remaining Vietnam veterans to be very inaccurate and misleading. I also wish there was some discussion about the great disparity between combat and support personnel in Vietnam. It may be 5 to 1 or as high as 8 to 1, all I know is that our war was very different from those not in Marine and Army rifle companies. I'm sure you've all heard, usually from those in the rear, about how there were no lines and no safe areas in Vietnam and how rocket and mortar attacks could happen anywhere. All this is very true but these facts have little importance or merit with the man in actual combat with the enemy for his entire tour of duty. As far as sources go, there are many official records and personal experiences in the form of written books, non-fiction, that show the war on an intimate and personal level. It is a pity that so much indifference and misunderstanding of the Vietnam War and those who fought it, has now turned into a seemingly endless onslaught of Vietnam related trivia. Between these two extremes, somehow and somewhere, the truth has been lost or clouded over for the sake of a dollar or an unidentified source of information that can help sell the latest book or fact-sheet.
Semper Fi
I did not think that was from the American War Library, if it is the one from Gardenia Calif, I would not trust it either. We had a lot of problems from them in the later 90's. Alt.War.Vietnam Newsgroup.

My thoughts on this, is not so much understanding the Viet-Nam war but the politics of creating a climate of defeat. This is happening today. The Men and Women of our armed forces and their families are almost carrying the burden of this conflict. The politics of defeat is still on going. Murtha, Kerry, Pelosi, Obama etc all are playing partisan politics at the cost of those Men and Women. This is on going with our allies in the MNF also.

I don't think there is much we can do about our war, but we can do something today to support the Men and Women who are serving now. You can google Jessie MacBeth (SP?). Sounds much like Kerry and friends at the Winter Soldiers investigation. The anti-war movement and politicians played it to the max.

If there are errors in that fact sheet, please correct them. As with anything on the internet it is good to verify the information. Again, I think what is important is that the same tactics are being employed today to discredit our Military, that to me is intolerable.
yes sir 58,000 murdered lets see a Republican top that

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I have always opposed the use of statistics for political maneuvering or for the express intent of supporting a position based on unwarranted assumptions, deceptive exaggerations or down right lies. I have no reservations in saying that I do not adhere to the opinion that those heroes on the VietNam Memorial should be thought of as nothing more than "murdered" faceless names. They do, however, deserve no less recognition and honor than those names of our heroes from previous wars that the United States has fought, declared or otherwise. The vast majority of those names belong to brave men who under difficult circumstances and great personal risk served their nation, regardless of their personal opinion about the veracity or need of the war. The same can be said for our military that currently serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, regardless of the political climate back home. In VietNam, both draftees and volunteers paid the ultimate price for our nation and as for myself, one of those who enlisted and fought in VietNam, yet somehow survived, I must say that I not only vigorously disagree with your statement, "Yes sir, 58,000 murdered lets see a Republican top that", but I also take personal offense at what it implies about my service and that of my many buddies that reside in my heart and on the Wall. Many died, many more suffered grievous wounds and many returned with invisible wounds that still haunt us and remind me daily of what power this war has over me. I respect your right to say what you feel and believe, I expect no less from anyone else concerning my own thoughts on this subject.
Semper Fi
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03Fox, Well said. I am at a loss for words on that person's comment. The Viet-Nam war is probably one of the most confusing and misunderstood conflicts of our time, just because of the heavy politics. It was a War that went through several presidential administrations, finally ending with President Nixon.

I found this website long ago, it to is a collection of facts. I thought it was well done.

Best and Semper Fi

A belated thank you for your comments and for posting this info here. Also, although I disagree with some of the "facts" in this paper provided by SLAB, I won't be so presumptuous to presume that I am the source of facts that contest them. The facts are there if someone wants to dig deep enough and I have found it ever so sweet to finally hear the truth on subjects that have been so maligned and politically corrected for such a long time. I agree with your comments on creating a climate of defeat.
Semper fi
I'm still confused about what 'victory' meant in VN, and I sure as h*ll am confused about what 'victory' means in Iraq.
How many tours will the troops have to have before we "win?"
Back then it was 'vietnamization'...what now? "Iraqization?"
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I'm still confused about what 'victory' meant in VN, and I sure as h*ll am confused about what 'victory' means in Iraq.
How many tours will the troops have to have before we "win?"
Back then it was 'vietnamization'...what now? "Iraqization?"

Let me address Iraq, the war in Iraq, if I we can call it that, is more like Europe after WWII, specifically Germany. The War with Saddam's Army ended when his military was gone and President Bush said, "Mission Accomplish." What is following is a re-stabilization of Iraq. Just like when Germany was re-stabilized and eventually reunited. It took time. The win or loose in Iraq is completely in the hands of the Iraqi people. We, the MNF, did out part, now with our help, it is up the Iraqi to "win". Win, in this case is reclaiming their country from lawlessness. Iraq has seen major gains in internal stability.

Viet-Nam was part of the cold war. It was a battle in that war. Specifically it was to stop the communist from taking over all of South East Asia. The Communist might have won in Viet-Nam but they lost their over all bid for South East Asia. As the cold war went, the communist lost that.

Sort of like calling the retreat at Dunkirk a nazi victory and claiming they really won WWII. Our saving grace on D-Day was the media then was not the media today. There is a good parody on modern day media reporting on the D-Day invasion. I need to dig it up, Pretty much the media was calling it a defeat by 10:00 AM. To many casualties.

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