9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era (5 August 1965-7 May 1975)
8,744,000 personnel were on active duty during the war (5 August 1964-28 March 1973)
3,403,100 (including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the SE 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 ( I January 1965 – 28 March 1973).
Another 50,000 men served in Vietnam between 1960 and 1964
Of the 2.6 million, between 1 and 1.6 million (40-60%) either fought in combat, provided close combat support or were at least fairly regularly exposed to enemy attack.
7,484 women served in Vietnam, of whom 6,250 or 83.5% were nurses.
Peak troop strength in Vietnam was 543,482, on 30 April 1969.
Hostile deaths: 47,359
Non-hostile deaths: 10,797
Total: 58,156 (including men formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez casualties).
Highest state death rate: West Virginia–84.1. (The national average death rate for males in 1970 was 58.9 per 100,000).
WIA: 303,704 – 153,329 required hospitalization, 50,375 who did not.
Severely disabled: 75,000, 23,214 were classified 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 in Korea. Multiple amputations occurred at the rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in WWII.
POW: 766, of whom 114 died in captivity.
Draftees vs. volunteers: 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 KIA: 5,977
National Guard: 6,140 served; 101 died.
88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian,
10.6% (275,000) were black, 1.0% belonged to other races
86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (including Hispanics)
12.5% (7,241) were black.
1.2% belonged to other races
170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2%) of whom died there.
86.8% of the men who were KIA were Caucasian
12.1% (5,711) were black; 1.1% belonged to other races.
14.6% (1,530) of non-combat deaths were black
34% of blacks who enlisted volunteered for the combat arms.
Overall, blacks suffered 12.5% of the deaths in Vietnam when the percentage of blacks of military age was 13.5% of the population.
76% of the men sent to Vietnam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds
75% had family incomes above the poverty level
23% had fathers with professional, managerial, or technical occupations.
79% of the men who served in ‘Nam had a high school education or better.
63% of Korean vets had completed high school upon separation from the service)
Winning & Losing
82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly believe the war was lost because of a lack of political will. Nearly 75% of the general public (in 1993) agrees with that.
Age & Honorable Service
The average age of the G.I. in ‘Nam was 19 (26 for WWII) 97% of Vietnam era vets were honorably discharged.
Pride in Service
91% of veterans of actual combat and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are proud to have served their country. 66% of Viet vets say they would serve again, if called upon. 87% of the public now holds Viet vets in high esteem.
Helicopter crew deaths accounted for 10% of ALL Vietnam deaths. Helicopter losses during Lam Son 719 (a mere two months) accounted for 10% of all helicopter losses from 1961-1975.
Women Who Died In Vietnam
* 2nd Lt. Carol Ann Elizabeth Drazba
* 2nd Lt. Elizabeth Ann Jones
Lt. Drazba and Lt. Jones were assigned to the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon. They died in a helicopter crash near Saigon, February 18, 1966. Drazba was from Dunmore, PA, Jones from Allendale, SC. Both were 22 years old.
* Capt. Eleanor Grace Alexander
* 1st Lt. Hedwig Diane Orlowski
Capt. Alexander of Westwood, NJ, and Lt. Orlowski of Detroit, MI, died November 30, 1967. Alexander, stationed at the 85th Evac., and Orlowski, stationed at the 67th Evac. in Qui Nhon, had been sent to a hospital in Pleiku to help out during a push. With them when their plane crashed on the return trip to Qui Nhon were two other nurses, Jerome E. Olmstead of Clintonville, WI, and Kenneth R. Shoemaker, Jr. of Owensboro, KY. Alexander was 27, Orlowski 23. Both were posthumously awarded Bronze Stars.
* 2nd Lt. Pamela Dorothy Donovan
Lt. Donovan, from Allston, MA, became seriously ill and died on July 8, 1968. She was assigned to the 85th Evac. in Qui Nhon. She was 26 years old.
* 1st Lt. Sharon Ann Lane
Lt. Lane died from shrapnel wounds when the 312th Evac. at Chu Lai was hit by rockets on June 8, 1969. From Canton, OH, she was a month short of her 26th birthday. She was posthumously awarded the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Bronze Star for Heroism. In 1970, the recovery room at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, where Lt. Lane had been assigned before going to Viet Nam, was dedicated in her honor. In 1973, Aultman Hospital in Canton, OH, where Lane had attended nursing school, erected a bronze statue of Lane. The names of 110 local servicemen killed in Vietnam are on the base of the statue.
* Lt. Col. Annie Ruth Graham, Chief Nurse at 91st Evac. Hospital, Tuy Hoa
Lt. Col. Graham, from Efland, NC, suffered a stroke in August 14, 1968 and was evacuated to Japan where she died four days later. A veteran of both World War II and Korea, she was 52.
U.S. Air Force
* Capt. Mary Therese Klinker
Capt. Klinker, a flight nurse assigned to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, was on the C-5A Galaxy which crashed on April 4 outside Saigon while evacuating Vietnamese orphans. This is known as the Operation Babylift crash. From Lafayette, IN, she was 27. She was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal for Heroism and the Meritorious Service Medal.