Vietnam War - Statistical Profile
- In Uniform and In Country Vietnam Vets: 9.7% of their generation. 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 (August 5, 1964 - March 28, 1973)
- 3,403,100 (including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the 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 (January 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, 1969).
- Hostile deaths: 47,418
- Non-hostile deaths: 10,811
- Total: 58,229 (includes men formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez casualties).
- 8 nurses died - 1 was KIA.
- Married men killed: 17,539
- 61% of the men killed were 21 or younger.
- Highest state death rate: West Virginia - 84.1 (national average 58.9 for every 100,000 males in 1970).
- Wounded: 303,704
- Hospitalized: 153,329
- Injured: 150,275
- Severely disabled: 75,000
- Completely Disabled: 23,214
- Lost Limbs: 5,283
- Multiple Amputations: 1,081
Amputations or crippling wounds to the lower extremities were 300% higher than in WWII and 70% higher than in Korea.
- Missing in Action: 2,338
- POWs: 766 (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 in WWII). Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.
- Reservist: 5,977
- National Guard: 6,140 Served; 101 Died.
- Total draftees (1965-73): 1,728,344
- Actually in served in Vietnam: 38%
- Marine Corps draft: 42,633
- Last man drafted: June 30, 1973
Race and Ethnic Background
- 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 Northwest 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 military age was 13.5% of the total population.
Religion of Dead
- Protestant: 64.4%
- Catholic : 28.9%
- Other/None: 6.7%
- 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 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
Winning & Losing
- 82% of the 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.
- 66% of Vietnam vets say they would serve again if called upon.
- 87% of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in high esteem.
Source: VFW magazine April 1997
Updated Source: VFW magazine January 2003