Some interesting Vietnam War Stats

This is from the latest issue of VFW Magazine, which cited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation as their source.

  • Contrary to popular belief, only 25% of the total forces that served in Vietnam were draftees; in fact, this was a MUCH LOWER percentage than in WWII, when 66% of the personnel were draftees. To be fair, many of those people volunteered in anticipation of being drafted, but at the end of the day, a super-majority of those that served in Vietnam were TECHNICALLY volunteers.

  • There were a total of 58,275 KIAs. Of these, 47,238 were the result of hostile action, and 10,747 were non-hostile.

  • The KIAs were nearly all-male. Only 59 females were killed; 8 female nurses were killed, 1 of those was the result of hostile action.

  • 303,704 were wounded; amputation or crippling wounds to the lower extremities were 300% higher than in WWII, and 70% higher than in Korea (WOW!!!); I wonder if this reflects the tactics of the enemy

  • 5,771 reservists and 95 national guardsmen were killed; being in the Guard, though not a 100% guarantee of avoiding the war, was comparatively safer than being on either active duty, or in the reserves

  • 88.4% of personnel that served were Caucasian (including Hispanics), 10.6% were Black, and 1% were from other races

  • 86.1% of KIAs were Caucasian, 12.4% were Black, and 1.5% were either other races or non-reported

  • 12.1% of deaths from hostile action were Black; 14.1% of non-combat deaths were Black

  • 76% of those that served in Vietnam were from middle or working class backgrounds; 75% were from backgrounds that were above the poverty level

  • 61% of KIAs were aged 21 or younger

  • Average age of Vietnam War GI: 22

  • 79% of Vietnam Vets were HS grads or above, compared to only 63% of Korea Vets, and only 45% of WWII Vets

  • 91% of Vietnam Vets and 90% of those that saw heavy combat said that they were proud to have served

  • 66% of Vietnam Vets said that they would serve again if called.


We lost 60,000 men. For what?

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Mines and booby traps using repurposed explosives were widely used by the VC. Patrols would frequently go for long periods of no contact yet lose man after man to these.

Related to that is the fact that we had troops on the ground in a relatively small area for almost 20 years, where we were in Korea for about 3. Geography and climate also played a role, in that there was a lot more cover for guerilla tactics in Vietnam.

The closest I’ve ever been to combat is dinner with my in-laws. How can a KIA be non-hostile?

Vehicle accident, friendly fire, snakebite, etc. Combat zones are extremely dangerous even without engaging the enemy

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An accident or illness in the combat zone. More rarely, friendly fire.

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An unsuccessful attempt to stem the tide of Communism in SE Asia.

As a two time Vet of America’s least successful war (Afghanistan), I can say that war is a lot like sports……ya win some, ya lose some.

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Drug overdoses too.

Had to call medics when 2 guys came to my tent, shot up and passed out. They survived and were shipped out that week.

When i was growing i remember this song,
Paul Hardcastle - 19 (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Did the stats change, how come the info you posted says 22?

Ryon…with great respect, I congratulate you for your service to our country. You are a highly accomplished person, committed to your chosen profession, not to mention a very loyal Coog fan.

Unfortunately, I consider it somewhat cavalier to compare Vietnam with sports cliché, win some or lose some.

When sports are played, athletes generally give it their all to play to win and at the end of the contest players, both winners and losers, shake hands and leave the field of competition to their homes, friends and families.

This wasn’t the case with Vietnam, which resulted in a very high cost of human lives, torn bodies and emotional toll on the soul of the soldiers and our nation.

The war ripped the social and moral fabric of our nation in the 60s and 70s. It cost us human treasure, financial treasure and most of all, the treasure of trust that young Americans had in their country.

Fear of communism? Yes. But, fast forward to today, we are doing business with communist Vietnam and China.

My thought is this…

If countries engage in war, they better have the moral justification to enter it, the support of the citizenry to sustain it and the political and military imperative of will to win it.

IMO, we were not committed to win it. Vietnam became a political war and the politicians who promoted it cleverly seduced the minds and hearts of the American people that America was the only hope of stopping the spread of that dreaded political ideology.

The winners? Vietnam. They drove the foreign interventionist out of their country.
The winners? The American military industrial complex.
The winners? China, Russia.

The losers? The American political establishment.

Somewhere in between were the American soldiers who bravely answered the call of their country to fight a foreign campaign without the support of the American people and were unjustly vilified for doing so. Every soldier who served in the Vietnam war deserved the metal of honor of respect, courage and patriotism.

There was only one way to win the war in Vietnam, but it may have caused WWIII and heaven only knows what would have resulted in ultimate outcome.

So…here we are today, three generations later discussing the statistics of lives lost without examining the moral justification for engaging in that war. It’s just a little to clinical for my taste.

It’s one thing to study history and another thing to live it.

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Don’t trust a pop song for historical facts.