Statistics on the Vietnam War
Norbert Cheri - US Air Force Vietnam Veteran
"Of the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam, less than 850,000 are estimated to be alive today, with the
youngest American Vietnam veteran's age approximated to be 54 years old." So, if you're alive and reading this, how
does it feel to be among the last 1/3rd of all the U.S. vets who served in Vietnam?
I don't know about you guys, but kinda gives me the chills, considering this is the kind of information I'm used to reading
about WWII and Korean War vets.
So, the last 14 years, we are dying too fast, only a few will survive by 2015, if any. If true, 390 VN vets die a day. So, in
2190 days from today, if you're a live Vietnam veteran, you are lucky... in only 6 years. These statistics were taken from
a variety of sources to include: The VFW Magazine, the Public Information Office, and the HQ CP Forward Observer -
1st Recon April 12, 1997.
STATISTICS FOR INDIVIDUALS IN UNIFORM AND IN COUNTRY VIETNAM VETERANS:
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 (Aug 5, 1964-March 28,1973).
2,709,918 Americans served in Vietnam, this number represents 9.7% of their generation
3,403,100 (Including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the broader 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 (Jan. 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, 1968).
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.
Hostile deaths: 47,378
Non-hostile deaths: 10,800
Total: 58,202 (Includes men formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez casualties). Men who have subsequently died of
wounds account for the changing total.
8 nurses died -- 1 was KIA.
61% of the men killed were 21 or younger.
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
Total Deaths: 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
Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.
The oldest man killed was 62 years old.
Highest state death rate: West Virginia - 84.1% (national average 58.9% for every 100,000 males in 1970).
Wounded: 303,704 -- 153,329 hospitalized + 150,375 injured requiring no hospital care.
Severely disabled: 75,000, -- 23,214: 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 Korea.
Multiple amputations occurred at the rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in WWII.
Missing in Action: 2,338
POWs: 766 (114 died in captivity)
As of January 15, 2004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
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 killed: 5,977
National Guard: 6,140 served: 101 died.
Total draftees (1965 - 73): 1,728,344.
Actually 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
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%
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.
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 military 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%.
DRUG USAGE & CRIME:
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
85% of Vietnam veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.
WINNING & LOSING:
82% of 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.
74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome.
87% of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in high esteem.
INTERESTING CENSUS STATISTICS &THOSE TO CLAIM TO HAVE "Been There":
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 erred
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
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.
Any man or woman who may be asked in this century what they did to make life worthwhile in their lifetime....can respond
with a great deal of pride and satisfaction,
"I served a career in the United States Military"
General Giap was a brilliant, highly respected leader of the North Vietnam military. The following quote is from his
memoirs currently found in the Vietnam war memorial in Hanoi :
'What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi . You had us on the ropes. If you
had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battle of
TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we were elated to notice your media was helping
us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You
General Giap has published his memoirs and confirmed what most Americans knew. The Vietnam war was not lost in
Vietnam -- it was lost at home. The same slippery slope, sponsored by the US media, is currently underway. It exposes
the enormous power of a Biased Media to cut out the heart and will of the American public.
A truism worthy of note: ... Do not fear the enemy, for they can take only your life. Fear the media, for they will destroy
The Star Spangled Banner
Terry Roderick Papa Co Ranger Vietnam 1969-70
“So, with all the kindness I can muster, I give this one piece of advice to the next pop star who is asked to sing the
national anthem at a sporting event: save the vocal gymnastics and the physical gyrations for your concerts. Just sing
this song the way you were taught to sing it in kindergarten — straight up, no styling. Sing it with the constant
awareness that there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines watching you from bases and outposts all over the world.
Don’t make them cringe with your self-centered ego gratification. Sing it as if you are standing before a row of 86-year-
old WWII vets wearing their Purple Hearts, Silver Stars and flag pins on their cardigans and you want them to be proud
of you for honoring them and the country they love — not because you want them to think you are a superstar musician.
They could see that from the costumes, the makeup and the entourages. Sing “The Star Spangled Banner” with the
courtesy and humility that tells the audience that it is about America, not you.”
The Last Six Seconds
Lt General John Kelly, USMC
One can hardly conceive of the enormous grief held quietly within General Kelly as he spoke.
On Nov 13, 2010, Lt General John Kelly, USMC gave a speech to the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis , MO. This was 4
days after his son, Lt Robert Kelly, USMC was killed by an IED while on his 3rd Combat tour. During his speech,
General Kelly spoke about the dedication and valor of our young men and women who step forward each and every
day to protect us.
During the speech, he never mentioned the loss of his own son. He closed the speech with the moving account of the
last 6 seconds in the lives of 2 young Marines who died with rifles blazing to protect their brother Marines. "I will leave
you with a story about the kind of people they are, about the quality of the steel in their backs, about the kind of
dedication they bring to our country while they serve in uniform and forever after as veterans.
Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S.
forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine
1/9 "The Walking Dead," and 2/8 were switching out
One battalion in the closing days of their deployment
very soon, the other just starting its seven-month
Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance
Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from
were assuming the watch together at the entrance
gate of an outpost
that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50
Marines. The same
broken down ramshackle building was also home to
100 Iraqi police,
also my men and our allies in the fight against the
Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city
on earth and
owned by Al Qaeda.
Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and
daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he
supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than
$23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white
kid from Long Island . They were from two completely different
worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have
met each other, or understood that multiple Americas exist
simultaneously depending on one's race, education level, economic
status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines,
combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and
because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.
The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something like: "Okay you two clowns,
stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass." "You clear?" I am also sure Yale and Haerter then
rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: "Yes Sergeant," with just enough attitude that made the point
without saying the words, "No kidding sweetheart, we know what we're doing." They then relieved two other Marines on
watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi,
Al Anbar, Iraq .
A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way-perhaps 60-70 yards in length-and sped its way
through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and
detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A
mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck's engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house
down before it stopped. Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died,
and because these two young infantrymen didn't have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi
and American brothers-in-arms.
When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for
details as something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in
combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the
process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different. The regimental commander had just returned
from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event-just Iraqi police. I figured
if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge
their bravery, I'd have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back
in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a
I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story.
The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all
said, "We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing." The Iraqi police then related
that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion. All survived. Many were
injured, some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, "They'd run like any normal man
would to save his life." "What he didn't know until then," he said, "and what he learned that very instant, was that
Marines are not normal." Choking past the emotion he said, "Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood
there and done what they did." "No sane man." "They saved us all."
What we didn't know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both
Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast,
recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from
when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.
You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second
for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their
view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only
enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: "let no
unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass." The two Marines had about five seconds left to live.
It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck
was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi
police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were-some running right
past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.
For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines' weapons firing non-stop, the truck's windshield
exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to
get past them to kill their brothers-American and Iraqi-bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their
lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have
known they were safe because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber.
The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous
violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never
even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they
leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.
The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think
about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very
brave young men to do their duty.into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight-for
We Marines believe that God gave America the greatest gift he could bestow to man while he lived on this earth-
freedom. We also believe he gave us another gift nearly as precious-our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen,
and Marines-to safeguard that gift and guarantee no force on this earth can every steal it away.
It has been my distinct honor to have been with you here today. Rest assured our America , this experiment in
democracy started over two centuries ago, will forever remain the "land of the free and home of the brave" so long as
we never run out of tough young Americans who are willing to look beyond their own self-interest and comfortable lives,
and go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down, and kill, those who would do us harm.
God Bless America , and SEMPER FIDELIS
I 'm just Sayin'
by Joe Schmidt
The state of Wisconsin has gone an entire
deer hunting season without someone getting
killed. That's great.
There were over 600,000 hunters. Allow me to
restate that number. Over the last two months, the eighth largest army in the world - more men under arms than Iran;
more than France and Germany combined - deployed to the woods of a single American state to help keep the deer
menace at bay.
That pales in comparison to the 750,000 who
are in the
woods of Pennsylvania this week. Michigan 's
hunters have now returned home.
Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia,
and it is
literally the case that the hunters of those four
would comprise the largest army in the world.
The point? America will forever be safe from foreign invasion
with that kind of home-grown firepower.
Hunting -- it's not just a way to fill the freezer. It's a matter of
Veteran to Veteran
by Chuck Pelligrini US Navy Medic Veteran
When a Veteran leaves the 'job' and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased, and others, who may
have already retired, wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know.
1. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those
2. We know in the Military life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the
3. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also
know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.
These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to
ignore and always will look at the rest of the Military world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of
Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the 'job' and merely being allowed to
leave 'active' duty.
So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that
you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.
NOW! Civilian Friends vs. Veteran Friends Comparisons
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you're too busy to talk to them for a week.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having
the last time you met.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Have cried with you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will kick the crowd's ass that left you behind.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Are for life.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences...
VETERAN FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no citizen could ever dream of...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, 'You better drink the rest of that before you
spill it!' Then carry you home safely and put you to bed...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will talk crap to the person who talks crap about you.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will knock the hell out OF THEM for using your name in vain.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will ignore this.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will forward this.
A veteran - whether active duty, retired, or reserve- is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check
made payable to 'The Government of the United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life'.
From one Veteran to another, it's an honor to be in your company. Thank you.
The Legacy of Tinian Island, South Pacific Ocean
by Guy Anhorn RVN Class of 1968
Tinian is a small island, less than 40 square miles,
a flat green dot in the vastness of Pacific blue.
It is still used today as training for Marine amphibious
In this aerial view you notice a slash across its north
end of uninhabited bush, a long thin line that looks
like an overgrown dirt runway. If you didn't know
what it was, you wouldn't give it a second glance
out your airplane window.
On the ground, you would find that the runway isn't
dirt but tarmac and crushed limestone, abandoned
with weeds sticking out of it. Yet this is arguably the most historical airstrip on earth. This is where World War II was
won. This is Runway Able.
On July 24, 1944, 30,000 US Marines landed on the beaches of Tinian. One was a marine carrying a flamer thrower,
my step-father, Corporal Thomas Francis Cotter a combat engineer of the 8th Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. Eight
days later, over 8,000 of the 8,800 Japanese soldiers on the island were were dead. 328 US Marines died. Four
months later the Seabees had built the the busiest airfield of WWII - dubbed North Field - enabling B-29
Superfortresses to launch air attacks on the Philippines, Okinawa, and mainland Japan.
Late in the afternoon of August 5, 1945, a B-29 was maneuvered over a bomb bomb loading pit, then after lengthy
preparations, taxied to the east end of north North Field's main runway, Runway Able, and at 2:45am in the early
morning darkness of A August 6, took off.
The B-29 was piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets of the US Army Air Force, who had named the
plane plane after his mother, Enola Gay. The crew named the bomb they were carrying
Little Boy. 6½ hours later at 8:15am Japan time, the first atomic bomb was dropped on
Three days later, in the pre-dawn hours of August 9, a B-29 named Bockscar (a pun on
"boxcar" after its flight commander Capt. Fred Bock), piloted by Major Charles Sweeney
took off from Runway Able. Finding its primary target of Kokura obscured by clouds,
Sweeney proceeded to the secondary target of Nagasaki, over which, at 11:01am,
bombardier Kermit Beahan released the atomic bomb dubbed Fat Man.
16 hours after the nuking of Nagasaki on August 10, 1945 at 0300hrs, the Japanese
Emperor without his cabinet's consent decided to end the Pacific War.
This is where World War II ended with total victory of America over Japan . It was a moment of deep reflection. Most
people, when they think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , reflect on the numbers of lives killed in the nuclear blasts - at least
70,000 and 50,000 respectively.
How many more Japanese and Americans
would have died in a continuation of the
war had the nukes not been dropped ?
Yet that was not all. It's not just that the
nukes obviated the US invasion of Japan ,
Operation Downfall, that would have caused
upwards of a million American and Japanese
deaths or more. It's that nuking Hiroshima
and Nagasaki were of extraordinary humanitarian
benefit to the nation and people of Japan .
A cliff on the nearby island of Saipan tells the story why. Saipan is less than a mile north of Tinian. The month before
the Marines took Tinian, on June 15, 1944, 71,000 Marines landed on Saipan facing 31,000 Japanese soldiers
determined not to surrender.
Japan had colonized Saipan after World War I and turned the
island into a giant sugar cane plantation. By the time of the
Marine invasion, in addition to the 31,000 entrenched
soldiers, some 25,000 Japanese settlers were living on
Saipan, plus thousands more Okinawans, Koreans, and
native islanders brutalized as slaves to cut the sugar cane.
There were also one or two thousand Korean "comfort
women" (kanji in Japanese), abducted young women from
Japan 's colony of Korea to service the Japanese soldiers as
Within a week of their landing, the Marines set up a civilian prisoner encampment that quickly attracted a couple
thousand Japanese and others wanting US food and protection. When word of this reached Emperor Hirohito he
became alarmed that radio interviews of the well-treated prisoners broadcast to Japan would subvert his people's will to
Emperor issued an order for all Japanese civilians on Saipan to
commit suicide. The order included the promise that, although the
civilians were of low caste, their suicide would grant them a status in
heaven equal to those honored soldiers who died in combat for
their Emperor. That is why the precipice in the picture is known as
Suicide Cliff, off which over 20,000 Japanese civilians jumped to
their deaths to comply with their fascist emperor's desire, mothers
flinging their babies off the cliff first or in their arms as they jumped.
Corporal Cotter witnessed this and it has affected him to this day.
Anyone reluctant or refused, such as the Okinawan or Korean
slaves, were shoved off at gunpoint by the Jap soldiers. Then the
soldiers themselves proceeded to hurl themselves into the ocean to
drown off a sea cliff afterwards called Banzai Cliff. Of the 31,000 Japanese soldiers on Saipan , the Marines killed
25,000, 5,000 jumped off Banzai Cliff, and only the remaining thousand were taken prisoner.
The extent of this demented fanaticism is very hard for any civilized mind
to fathom - especially when it is devoted not to anything noble but
barbarian evil instead. The vast brutalities inflicted by the Japanese
on their conquered and colonized peoples of China , Korea , the
Philippines , and throughout their "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity
Sphere" was a hideously depraved horror.
And they were willing to fight to the death to defend it. So they had to
be nuked. The only way to put an end to the Japanese barbarian
was unimaginably colossal destruction against which they had no
whatever. Nuking Japan was not a matter of justice, revenge, or it
what it deserved. It was the only way to
end the Japanese dementia.
And it worked - for the Japanese. They stopped being barbarians and
started being civilized. They achieved more prosperity - and peace - than they ever knew, or could have achieved had
they continued fighting and not been nuked. The shock of getting nuked is responsible.
We achieved this because we were determined to achieve victory. Victory without apologies. Despite perennial liberal
demands we do so, America and its government has never apologized for nuking Japan. Hopefully, America never will.
You can leave the military, but it never really leaves you
By Ken Burger The Post and Courier Thursday, March 4, 2010
Occasionally, I venture back out to the air base where I'm greeted by an imposing security guard who looks carefully at
my identification card, hands it back and says, "Have a good day, tech sergeant."
Every time I go back onto Charleston Air Force Base it feels good to be called by my previous rank, but odd to be in
civilian clothes, walking among the servicemen and servicewomen going about their duties as I once did, years ago.
The military, for all its flaws, is a comfort zone for anyone who has ever worn the uniform.
It's a place where you know the rules and know they are enforced. A place where everybody is busy but not too busy to
take care of business.
Because there exists behind the gates of every military facility an institutional understanding of respect, order,
uniformity, accountability and dedication that becomes part of your marrow and never, ever leaves you.
Personally, I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the military, and who you were dealing with. That's
because you could read somebody's uniform from 20 feet away and know the score.
Service personnel wear their careers on their sleeves, so to speak. When you approach each other, you can read their
name tag, examine their rank and, if they are in dress uniform, read their ribbons and know where they've served.
I miss all those little things you take for granted when you're in the ranks, like breaking starch on a set of fatigues fresh
from the laundry and standing in a perfectly straight line that looks like a mirror as it stretches to the endless horizon.
I miss the sight of troops marching in the early morning mist, the sound of boot heels thumping in unison on the
sidewalks, the bark of sergeants and the sing-song answers from the squads as they pass by in review.
Hurry up and wait
To romanticize military service is to be far removed from its reality, because it's very serious business, especially in
times of war.
But I miss the salutes I'd throw at officers and the crisp returns as we crisscrossed on the flight line.
I miss the smell of jet fuel hanging heavily on the night air and the sound of engines roaring down runways and
disappearing into the clouds.
I even miss the hurry-up-and- wait mentality that enlisted men gripe about
constantly, a masterful invention that bonded people more than they'll ever
know or admit.
I miss people taking off their hats when they enter a building, speaking
directly and clearly to others and never showing disrespect for rank, race,
religion or gender.
Mostly I miss being a small cog in a machine so complex it constantly
circumnavigates the Earth and so simple it feeds everyone on time, three
times a day, on the ground, in the air or at sea.
Mostly, I don't know anyone who has served who regrets it, and doesn't feel
a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and re-enter the world
they left behind with their youth.
NEWSWEEK: Right Wing: Mosque at Ground Zero is a "Slap in the Face."
Plans for the construction of a mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero are
prompting outrage in the blogosphere, but the emotional reaction appears to
falling on deaf ears. The Cordoba House project, according to CNN, calls for a 15-story community center that would
include a performance-art center, gym, swimming pool, and a mosque. So far there seems little indication the city will do
anything to appease those opposed to it.
Heroes of the Vietnam Generation
By Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb
The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is
receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60's generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral
histories of "The Greatest Generation" that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was
Chris Matthews of "Hardball" is fond of writing columns praising the Navy service of his father while castigating his own
baby boomer generation for its alleged softness and lack of struggle. William Bennett gave a startling condescending
speech at the Naval Academy a few years ago comparing the heroism of the "D-Day Generation" to the drugs-and-sex
nihilism of the "Woodstock Generation." And Steven Spielberg, in promoting his film "Saving Private Ryan," was careful
to justify his portrayals of soldiers in action based on the supposedly unique nature of World War II. An irony is at work
here. Lest we forget, the World War II generation now being lionized also brought us the Vietnam War, a conflict which
today's most conspicuous voices by and large opposed, and in which few of them served. The "best and brightest" of
the Vietnam age group once made headlines by castigating their parents for bringing about the war in which they would
not fight, which has become the war they refuse to remember.
Pundits back then invented a term for this animus: the "generation gap." Long, plaintive articles and even books were
written examining its manifestations. Campus leaders, who claimed precocious wisdom through the magical process of
reading a few controversial books, urged fellow baby boomers not to trust anyone over 30. Their elders who had
survived the Depression and fought the largest war in history were looked down upon as shallow, materialistic, and out
of touch. Those of us who grew up, on the other side of the picket line from that era's counter-culture can't help but feel
a little leery of this sudden gush of appreciation for our elders from the leading lights of the old counter-culture. Then
and now, the national conversation has proceeded from the dubious assumption that those who came of age during
Vietnam are a unified generation in the same sense as their parents were, and thus are capable of being spoken for
through these fickle elites.
In truth, the "Vietnam generation" is a misnomer. Those who came of age during that war are permanently divided by
different reactions to a whole range of counter-cultural agendas, and nothing divides them more deeply than the
personal ramifications of the war itself. The sizable portion of the Vietnam age group who declined to support the
counter-cultural agenda, and especially the men and women who opted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War,
are quite different from their peers who for decades have claimed to speak for them. In fact, they are much like the
World War II generation itself. For them, Woodstock was a side show, college protestors were spoiled brats who would
have benefited from having to work a few jobs in order to pay their tuition, and Vietnam represented not an intellectual
exercise in draft avoidance, or protest marches but a battlefield that was just as brutal as those their fathers faced in
World War II and Korea.
Few who served during Vietnam ever complained of a generation gap. The men who fought World War II were their
heroes and role models. They honored their father's service by emulating it, and largely agreed with their father's
wisdom in attempting to stop Communism's reach in Southeast Asia. The most accurate poll of their attitudes (Harris,
1980) showed that 91 percent were glad they'd served their country, 74 percent enjoyed their time in the service, and
89 percent agreed with the statement that "our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in
Washington would not let them win." And most importantly, the castigation they received upon returning home was not
from the World War II generation, but from the very elites in their age group who supposedly spoke for them. Nine
million men served in the military during Vietnam War, three million of whom went to the Vietnam Theater. Contrary to
popular mythology, two-thirds of these were volunteers, and 73 percent of those who died were volunteers. While some
attention has been paid recently to the plight of our prisoners of war, most of whom were pilots; there has been little
recognition of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground. Dropped onto the enemy's terrain 12,000
miles away from home, America's citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly
Those who believe the war was fought incompletely on a tactical level should consider Hanoi's recent admission that 1.4
million of its soldiers died on the battlefield, compared to 58,000 total U.S. dead. Those who believe that it was a "dirty
little war" where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that is was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has
ever fought-five times as many dead as World War I, three times as many dead as in Korea, and more total killed and
wounded than in all of World War II. Significantly, these sacrifices were being made at a time the United States was
deeply divided over our effort in Vietnam. The baby-boom generation had cracked apart along class lines as America's
young men were making difficult, life-or-death choices about serving.
The better academic institutions became focal points for vitriolic protest against the war, with few of their graduates
going into the military. Harvard College, which had lost 691 alumni in World War II, lost a total of 12 men in Vietnam from
the classes of 1962 through 1972 combined. Those classes at Princeton lost six, at MIT two. The media turned ever
more hostile. And frequently the reward for a young man's having gone through the trauma of combat was to be
greeted by his peers with studied indifference of outright hostility.
What is a hero? My heroes are the young men who faced the issues of war and possible death, and then weighed
those concerns against obligations to their country. Citizen-soldiers who interrupted their personal and professional
lives at their most formative stage, in the timeless phrase of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery,
"not for fame of reward, not for place of for rank, but in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it." Who suffered
loneliness, disease, and wounds with an often-contagious elan. And who deserve a far better place in history than that
now offered them by the so-called spokesman of our so-called generation. Mr. Brokaw, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Bennett, Mr.
Spielberg, meet my Marines. 1969 was an odd year to be in Vietnam. Second only to 1968 in terms of American
casualties, it was the year made famous by Hamburger Hill, as well as the gut-wrenching Life cover story showing
pictures of 242 Americans who had been killed in one average week of fighting. Back home, it was the year of
Woodstock, and of numerous anti-war rallies that culminated in the Moratorium march on Washington.
The My Lai massacre hit the papers and was seized upon the anti-war movement as the emblematic moment of the war.
Lyndon Johnson left Washington in utter humiliation. Richard Nixon entered the scene, destined for an even worse fate.
In the An Hoa Basin southwest of Danang, the Fifth Marine Regiment was in its third year of continuous combat
operations. Combat is an unpredictable and inexact environment, but we were well led. As a rifle platoon and company
commander, I served under a succession of three regimental commanders who had cut their teeth in World War II, and
four different battalion commanders, three of whom had seen combat in Korea. The company commanders were
typically captains on their second combat tour in Vietnam, or young first lieutenants like myself who were given
companies after many months of "bush time" as platoon commanders in he Basin's tough and unforgiving environs.
The Basin was one of the most heavily contested areas in Vietnam, its torn, cratered earth offering every sort of
wartime possibility. In the mountains just to the west, not far from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the North Vietnamese Army
operated an infantry division from an area called Base Area 112. In the valleys of the Basin, main-force Viet Cong
battalions whose ranks were 80 percent North Vietnamese Army regulars moved against the Americans every day.
Local Viet Cong units sniped and harassed. Ridgelines and paddy dikes were laced with sophisticated booby traps of
every size, from a hand grenade to a 250-pound bomb. The villages sat in the rice paddies and tree lines like individual
fortresses, crisscrossed with the trenches and spider holes, their homes sporting bunkers capable of surviving direct
hits from large-caliber artillery shells. The Viet Cong infrastructure was intricate and permeating. Except for the old and
the very young, villagers who did not side with the Communists had either been killed or driven out to the government
controlled enclaves near Danang.
In the rifle companies, we spent the endless months patrolling ridgelines and villages and mountains, far away from any
notion of tents, barbed wire, hot food, or electricity. Luxuries were limited to what would fit inside one's pack, which after
a few "humps" usually boiled down to letter-writing material, towel, soap, toothbrush, poncho liner, and a small transistor
radio. We moved through the boiling heat with 60 pounds of weapons and gear, causing a typical Marine to drop 20
percent of his body weight while in the bush. When we stopped we dug chest-deep fighting holes and slit trenches for
toilets. We slept on the ground under makeshift poncho hootches, and when it rained we usually took our hootches
down because wet ponchos shined under illumination flares, making great targets. Sleep itself was fitful, never more
than an hour or two at a stretch for months at a time as we mixed daytime patrolling with night-time ambushes, listening
posts, foxhole duty, and radio watches. Ringworm, hookworm, malaria, and dysentery were common, as was trench foot
when the monsoons came. Respite was rotating back to the mud-filled regimental combat base at An Hoa for four or
five days, where rocket and mortar attacks were frequent and our troops manned defensive bunkers at night. Which
makes it kind of hard to get excited about tales of Woodstock, or camping at the Vineyard during summer break.
We had been told while training that Marine officers in the rifle companies had an 85 percent probability of being killed
or wounded, and the experience of "Dying Delta," as our company was known, bore that out. Of the officers in the bush
when I arrived, our company commander was wounded, the weapons platoon commander wounded, the first platoon
commander was killed, the second platoon commander was wounded twice, and I, commanding the third platoons fared
no better. Two of my original three-squad leaders were killed, and the third shot in the stomach. My platoon sergeant
was severely wounded, as was my right guide. By the time I left, my platoon I had gone through six radio operators, five
of them casualties.
These figures were hardly unique; in fact, they were typical. Many other units; for instance, those who fought the hill
battles around Khe Sanh, or were with the famed Walking Dead of the Ninth Marine Regiment, or were in the battle of
Hue City or at Dai Do, had it far worse. When I remember those days and the very young men who spent them with me,
I am continually amazed, for these were mostly recent civilians barley out of high school, called up from the cities and
the farms to do their year in hell and he return. Visions haunt me everyday, not of the nightmares of war but of the
steady consistency with which my Marines faced their responsibilities, and of how
uncomplaining most of them were in the face of constant danger.
The salty, battle-hardened 20-year-olds teaching green 19-year-
olds the intricate lessons of the hostile battlefield.
The unerring skill of the young squad leaders as we moved
through unfamiliar villages and weed-choked trails in the black
of night. The quick certainty when a fellow Marine was wounded
and needed help. Their willingness to risk their lives to save other
Marines in peril. To this day it stuns me that their own countrymen
have so completely missed the story of their service, lost in the
bitter confusion of the war itself. Like every military unit throughout
history we had occasional laggards, cowards, and complainers.
But in the aggregate, these Marines were the finest people I have
ever been around. It has been my privilege to keep up with many
of them over the years since we all came home. One finds in them
very little bitterness about the war in which they fought. The most
common regret, almost to a man, is that they were not able to do
more for each other and for the people they came to help. It would
be redundant to say that I would trust my life to these men.
Because I already have, in more ways than I can ever recount. I am alive today because of their quiet, unaffected
heroism. Such valor epitomizes the conduct of Americans at war from the first days of our existence. That the boomer
elites can canonize this sort of conduct in our fathers' generation while ignoring it in our own is more than simple
oversight. It is a conscious, continuing travesty.
Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star medals for
heroism as a Marine in Vietnam. His novels include The Emperor's General and Fields of Fire.
Why would anyone need to lie about having been in Vietnam?
Washington Post Article by Henry Allen 2010-05-20
O,the stained souls, the small-hours doubts, the troubled
manhood of so many American men who didn't go to Vietnam
when they could have -- the strange guilt they seem to feel
when they confront Vietnam veterans.
Strange: There were some cheaters and liars, but all that most
of them did was exercise their legal rights, in the manner of
Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut attorney general and
Democratic Senate candidate -- five deferments, then a safe
stateside slot in the Marine reserves.
They had a right to avoid the draft with academic deferments, occupational deferments and medical deferments
obtained from doctors noted for their artistry in taking X-rays of dangerous deformities.
They were entitled to get married and sire a child that could bring them a 3-A hardship deferment. Couldn't these men
argue that they had a moral obligation not to fight in an immoral, pointless war? Wasn't it true that "winners go to
Harvard, losers go to Vietnam," as the wisecrack had it?
The case can be made that these men -- often upscale and educated, the sort of people who are supposed to lead this
country -- acted legally and even honorably in using their social status and intelligence to stay out of Vietnam.
But the stains and doubts linger. Vietnam veterans who don't care whether somebody served have had to sit through
"I got a high number in the draft lottery," the non-servers say in a tone of remorse.
"You lucked out," veterans say, but the lucky ones are not consoled.
To prove they couldn't have gone even if they'd wanted to, men have been known to pull up their shirts to show the
scars from youthful back surgery. "They fused all those vertebrae." So many confessions. Pathetic. It was 40 years
ago. Forget about it.
"I was going into officer training but then I got a full scholarship to Oxford." "Good for you," the veterans say. But the
scholars are not consoled. Of course, Blumenthal didn't get in trouble for confessing he had ducked Vietnam but for
lying that he hadn't, for saying that he'd served there.
What demon haunts him and others like him? What inconsolable regret provoked these desperate lies?
He didn't have to claim he'd been in Vietnam. He already had the résumé to be a shoo-in candidate. Rich kid, Harvard
(editor of the Crimson), reporter at The Washington Post, Yale Law School (editor of the law journal), almost two
decades as attorney general, the perfect knowledge-class candidate of the kind favored by modern Democrats. (In
looks, however, he does bear an unsettling resemblance to disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer.)
Bill Clinton not only dodged the draft but lied to do it, and still we elected him president over a World War II combat flier
-- though Clinton never lied about having been in Vietnam. George W. Bush spent his war flying fighters over Texas
and still defeated Al Gore, who had served in Vietnam. Then Bush beat John Kerry, a wounded and be-medaled
Vietnam veteran. Dick Cheney's military record -- he got five academic deferments -- didn't seem to hurt his political
career, and he was bold enough to say to a Washington Post reporter: "I had other priorities in the '60s than military
Of course none of them lied about having been in Vietnam -- a catastrophically stupid thing to do, a fact that is easily
checked. What would propel Blumenthal to do such a thing?
As a Marine (and Vietnam veteran of no distinction whatsoever), I've run into men who told me they'd been in the
Marines, too. Always happy to meet a fellow Marine, I'd ask what unit they served in. "Oh, I was in . . . the 173rd . . ."
Except there is no 173rd in the Marine Corps. I've felt embarrassed for them and wondered how empty their lives were
that they'd tell such a lie. Jim Lehrer, PBS anchorman and former Marine, wrote a pungent little novel, "The Phony
Marine," about this quirk in the male ego.
Once I listened to a former war-zone correspondent who was eager to demonstrate that his time under fire was the
same as a soldier's. He said: I'd get up in the morning and face the decision of whether I should head out where it was
But soldiers don't get to decide. They don't have choices. That's part of the hell of war. The fact is that regardless of
whether a war was moral, justified, won or meaningful, having served in one -- particularly in combat -- confers prestige.
Harvard and Yale and social connections are nice, but at 3 o'clock in the morning you find yourself outranked by high
school dropouts whose names are on the wall of the Vietnam Memorial. Not in the eyes of the world, but in your own
What a withering stare it must be for some men, that they'll shame themselves far worse than they were shamed before,
by telling a lie.
Henry Allen, who won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2000, was a Post editor and reporter for 39 years.
Vietnam: Looking Back - At The Facts
K. G. Sears, Ph.D. mrken @saigonnet.vn
One reason America’s agonizing perception of "Vietnam" will not go away, is because that perception is wrong. It’s out
of place in the American psyche, and it continues to fester in much the same way battle wounds fester when shrapnel or
other foreign matter is left in the body. It is not normal behavior for Americans to idolize mass murdering despots, to
champion the cause of slavery, to abandon friends and allies, or to cut and run in the face of adversity. Why then did
so many Americans engage in these types of activities during the country’s "Vietnam" experience?
That the American experience in Vietnam was painful and ended in long lasting (albeit self-inflicted) grief and misery
can not be disputed. However, the reasons behind that grief and misery are not even remotely understood - by either
the American people or their government. Contradictory to popular belief, and a whole lot of wishful thinking by a solid
corps of some 16,000,000+ American draft dodgers and their families / supporters, it was not a military defeat that
brought misfortune to the American effort in Vietnam.
The United States military in Vietnam was the best educated, best trained, best disciplined and most successful force
ever fielded in the history of American arms. Why then, did it get such bad press, and, why is the public’s opinion of
them so twisted? The answer is simple. But first a few relevant comparisons.
During the Civil War, at the Battle of Bull Run, the entire Union Army panicked and fled the battlefield. Nothing even
remotely resembling that debacle ever occurred in Vietnam.
In WWII at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, elements of the US Army were overrun by the Germans. In the course of that
battle, Hitler’s General Rommel (The Desert Fox) inflicted 3,100 US casualties, took 3,700 US prisoners and captured
or destroyed 198 American tanks. In Vietnam no US Military units were overrun and no US Military infantry units or tank
outfits were captured.
WW II again. In the Philippines, US Army Generals Jonathan Wainwright and Edward King surrendered themselves and
their troops to the Japanese. In Vietnam no US generals, or US military units ever surrendered.
Before the Normandy invasion ("D" Day, 1944) the US Army (In WW II the US Army included the Army Air Corps which
today has become the US Airforce) in England filled its own jails with American soldiers who refused to fight and then
had to rent jail space from the British to handle the overflow. The US Army in Vietnam never had to rent jail space from
the Vietnamese to incarcerate American soldiers who refused to fight.
Desertion. Only about 5,000 men assigned to Vietnam deserted and just 249 of those deserted while in Vietnam.
During WW II, in the European Theater alone, over 20,000 US Military men were convicted of dissertation and, on a
comparable percentage basis, the overall WW II desertion rate was 55 percent higher than in Vietnam.
During the WW II Battle of the Bulge in Europe two regiments of the US Army’s 106th Division surrendered to the
Germans. Again: In Vietnam no US Army unit ever surrendered.
The highest ranking American soldier killed in WW II was Lt. (three star) General Leslie J. McNair. He was killed when
American war planes accidentally bombed his position during the invasion of Europe. In Vietnam there were no
American generals killed by American bombers.
As for brutality: During WW II the US Army executed nearly 300 of its own men. In the European Theater alone, the US
Army sentenced 443 American soldiers to death. Most of these sentences were for the rape and or murder of civilians.
In the Korean War, Major General William F. Dean, commander of the 24th Infantry Division, was taken prisoner of war
(POW). In Vietnam no US generals, much less division commanders, were ever taken prisoner.
During the Korean War the US Army was forced into the longest retreat in its history. A catastrophic 275 mile withdrawal
from the Yalu River all the way to Pyontaek, 45 miles south of Seoul. In the process they lost the capital city of Seoul.
The US Military in Vietnam was never compelled into a major retreat nor did it ever abandon Saigon to the enemy.
The 1st US Marine Division was driven from the Chosin Reservoir and forced into an emergency evacuation from the
Korean port of Hungnam. There they were joined by other US Army and South Korean soldiers and the US Navy
eventually evacuated 105,000 Allied troops from that port. In Vietnam there was never any mass evacuation of US
Marine, South Vietnamese or Allied troop units.
Other items: Only 25 percent of the US Military who served in Vietnam were draftees. During WW II, 66 percent of the
troops were draftees. The Vietnam force contained three times as many college graduates as did the WW II force. The
average education level of the enlisted man in Vietnam was 13 years, equivalent to one year of college. Of those who
enlisted, 79 percent had high school diplomas. This at a time when only 65% of the military age males in the general
American population were high school graduates.
The average age of the military men who died in Vietnam was 22.8 years old. Of the one hundred and one (101) 18
year old draftees who died in Vietnam; seven of them were black. Blacks accounted for 11.2 percent the combat deaths
in Vietnam. At that time black males of military age constituted 13.5 percent of the American population. It should also
be clearly noted that volunteers suffered 77% of the casualties, and accounted for 73% of the Vietnam deaths.
The charge that the "poor" died in disproportionate numbers is also a myth. An MIT (Massachusetts Institute of
Technology) study of Vietnam death rates, conducted by Professor Arnold Barnett, revealed that servicemen from the
richest 10 percent of the nations communities had the same distribution of deaths as the rest of the nation. In fact his
study showed that the death rate in the upper income communities of Beverly Hills, Belmont, Chevy Chase, and Great
Neck exceeded the national average in three of the four, and, when the four were added together and averaged, that
number also exceeded the national average.
On the issue of psychological health: Mental problems attributed to service in Vietnam are referred to as PTSD. Civil
War veterans suffered "Soldiers heart" in WW I the term was "Shell shock" during WW II and in Korea it was "Battle
fatigue." Military records indicate that Civil War psychological casualties averaged twenty six per thousand men. In WW
II some units experienced over 100 psychiatric casualties per 1,000 troops; in Korea nearly one quarter of all battlefield
medical evacuations were due to mental stress. That works out to about 50 per 1,000 troops. In Vietnam the
comparable average was 5 per 1,000 troops.
To put Vietnam in its proper perspective it is necessary to understand that the US Military was not defeated in Vietnam
and that the South Vietnamese government did not collapse due to mismanagement or corruption, nor was it
overthrown by revolutionary guerrillas running around in rubber tire sandals, wearing black pajamas and carrying home
made weapons. There was no "general uprising" or "revolt" by the southern population. Saigon was overrun by a
conventional army made up of seventeen conventional divisions, organized into four army corps. This totally
conventional force (armed, equipped, trained and supplied by the Soviet Union) launched a cross border, frontal attack
on South Vietnam and conquered it, in the same manner as Hitler conquered most of Europe in WW II. A quick synopsis
of America’s "Vietnam experience" will help summarize and clarify the Vietnam scenario:
Prior to 1965; US Advisors and AID only
1965 - 1967; Buildup of US Forces and logistical supply bases, plus heavy fighting to counter Communist North
1968 - 1970; Communist "insurgency" destroyed to the point where over 90% of the towns and villages in South
Vietnam were free from Communist domination. As an example: By 1971 throughout the entire populous Mekong Delta,
the monthly rate of Communist insurgency action dropped to an average of 3 incidents per 100,000 population (Many a
US city would envy a crime rate that low). In 1969 Nixon started troop withdrawals that were essentially complete by late
Dec 1972; Paris Peace Agreements negotiated and agreed by North Vietnam, South Vietnam, the Southern
Vietnamese Communists (VC, NLF / PRG) and the United States.
Jan 1973; All four parties formally sign Paris Peace Agreements.
Mar 1973; Last US POW released from Hanoi Hilton, and in accordance with Paris Agreements, last American GI leaves
Aug 1973; US Congress passes the Case - Church law which forbids, US naval forces from sailing on the seas
surrounding, US ground forces from operating on the land of, and US air forces from flying in the air over South
Vietnam, North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. This at a time when America had drawn its Cold War battle lines and as a
result had the US Navy protecting Taiwan, 50,000 troops in South Korea and over 300,000 troops in Western Europe
(Which has a land area, economy and population comparable to that of the United States), along with ironclad
guarantees that if Communist forces should cross any of those Cold War lines or Soviet Armor should role across either
the DMZ in Korea or the Iron Curtain in Europe, then there would be an unlimited response by the armed forces of the
United States, to include if necessary, the use of nuclear weapons. In addition, these defense commitments required
the annual expenditure of hundreds of billions of US dollars. Conversely, in 1975 when Soviet armor rolled across the
international borders of South Vietnam, the US military response was nothing. In addition, Congress cut off all AID to the
South Vietnamese and would not provide them with as much as a single bullet.
In spite of the Case - Church Congressional guarantee, the North Vietnamese were very leery of US President Nixon.
They viewed him as one unpredictable, incredibly tough nut. He had, in 1972, for the first time in the War, mined Hai
Phong Harbor and sent the B-52 bombers against the North to force them into signing the Paris Peace Agreements.
Previously the B-52s had been used only against Communist troop concentrations in remote regions of South Vietnam
and occasionally against carefully selected sanctuaries in Cambodia, plus against both sanctuaries and supply lines in
Aug 1974; Nixon resigns.
Sept 1974: North Vietnamese hold special meeting to evaluate Nixon’s resignation and decide to test implications.
Dec 1974: North Vietnamese invade South Vietnamese Province of Phouc Long located north of Saigon on Cambodian
Jan 1975: North Vietnamese capture Phuoc Long provincial capitol of Phuoc Binh. Sit and wait for US reaction. No
Mar 1975; North Vietnam mounts full-scale invasion. Seventeen North Vietnamese conventional divisions (more
divisions than the US Army has had on duty at any time since WW II) were formed into four conventional army corps
(This was the entire North Vietnamese army. Because the US Congress had unconditionally guaranteed no military
action against North Vietnam, there was no need for them to keep forces in reserve to protect their home bases, flanks
or supply lines), and launched a wholly conventional cross-border, frontal-attack. Then, using the age-old tactics of
mass and maneuver, they defeated the South Vietnamese Army in detail.
The complete description of this North Vietnamese Army (NVA) classical military victory is best expressed in the words
of the NVA general who commanded it. Recommended reading: Great Spring Victory by General Tien Van Dung, NVA
Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Volume I, 7 Jun 76 and Volume II, 7 Jul 76. General Dung’s account of the final
battle for South Vietnam reads like it was taken right out of a US Army manual on offensive military operations. His
description of the mass and maneuver were exquisite. His selection of South Vietnam’s army as the "Center of gravity"
could have been written by General Carl von Clausewitz himself. General Dung’s account goes into graphic detail on
his battle moves aimed at destroying South Vietnam’s armed forces and their war materials. He never once, not even
once, ever mentions a single word about revolutionary warfare or guerilla tactics contributing in any way to his Great
Another Aspect - US Military battle deaths by year:
Prior to 1966 - 3,078 (Total up through 31 Dec 65)
1966 - 5,008
1967 - 9,378
1968 - 14, 589 (Total while JFK & LBJ were on watch - 32,053)
1969 - 9,414
1970 - 4,221
1971 - 1,381
1972 - 300 (Total while Nixon was on watch - 15,316)
Source of these numbers is the Southeast Asia Statistical Summary, Office of the Assistant Secretary or Defense and
were provided to the author by the US Army War College Library, Carlisle Barracks, PA 17023. Numbers are battle
deaths only and do not include ordinary accidents, heart attacks, murder victims, those who died in knife fights in
barroom brawls, suicides, etc. Those who think these numbers represent "heavy fighting" and some of the "bloodiest
battles" in US history should consider the fact that the Allied Forces lost 9,758 men killed just storming the Normandy
Beaches; 6,603 were Americans. The US Marines, in the 25 days between 19 Feb 45 and 16 Mar 45, lost nearly 7,000
men killed in their battle for the tiny island of Iwo Jima.
By comparison the single bloodiest day in the Vietnam War for the Americans was on 17 Nov 65 when elements of the
7th Cav (Custer’s old outfit) lost 155 men killed in a battle with elements of two North Vietnamese Regular Army
regiments (33rd & 66th) near the Cambodian border southwest of Pleiku.
During its Normandy battles in 1944 the US 90th Infantry Division,
(roughly 15,000+ men) over a six week period, had to replace 150%
of its officers and more than 100% of its men. The 173rd Airborne Brigade
(normally there are 3 brigades to a division) served in Vietnam for a total
of 2,301 days, and holds the record for the longest continuous service
under fire of any American unit, ever. During that (6 year, 3+ month
) period the 173rd lost 1,601 (roughly 31%) of its men killed in action.
Further Food For thought
Casualties tell the tale. Again, the US Army War College Library provides
numbers. The former South Vietnam was made up of 44 provinces. The
province that claimed the most Americans killed was Quang Tri, which
bordered on both North Vietnam and Laos. Fifty four percent of the
Americans killed in Vietnam were killed in the four northernmost provinces,
which in addition to Quang Tri were Thua Thien, Quang Nam and Quan Tin.
All of them shared borders with Laos. An additional six provinces accounted
for another 25 % of the Americans killed in action (KIA). Those six all shared
borders with either Laos or Cambodia or had contiguous borders with
provinces that did. The remaining 34 provinces accounted for just 21% of
US KIA. These numbers should dispel the notion that South Vietnam was
some kind of flaming inferno of violent revolutionary dissent. The
overwhelming majority of Americans killed, died in border battles against
regular NVA units. The policies established by Johnson and McNamara
prevented the American soldiers from crossing those borders and destroying
their enemies. Expressed in WW II terms; this is the functional equivalent
of having sent the American soldiers to fight in Europe during WW II, but
restricting them to Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, etc., and not letting them
cross the borders into Germany, the source of the problem. General Curtis
LeMAY aptly defined Johnson’s war policy in South Vietnam by saying that
"We are swatting flies in the South when we should be going after the manure pile in Hanoi."
Looking back it is now clear that the American military role in "Vietnam" was, in essence, one of defending international
borders. Contrary to popular belief, they turned in an outstanding performance and accomplished their mission. The US
Military was not "Driven" from Vietnam. They were voted out by the US Congress. This same Congress then turned
around and abandoned America’s former ally, South Vietnam. Should America feel shame? Yes! Why? For kowtowing
to the wishes of those craven hoards of dodgers and for bugging out and abandoning an ally they had promised to
The idea that "There were no front lines." and "The enemy was everywhere." makes good press and feeds the craven
needs of those 16,000,000+ American draft dodgers. Add either a mommy or a poppa, and throw in another
sympathizer in the form of a girl (or boy?) friend and your looking at well in excess of 50,000,000 Americans with a need
to rationalize away their draft-dodging cowardice and to, in some way, vilify "Vietnam" the very source of their shame
and guilt. During the entire period of the American involvement in "Vietnam" only 2,594,000 US Military actual served
inside the country. Contrast that number with the 50-million plus draft dodging anti-war crowd and you have the answer
to why the American view of its Vietnam experience is so skewed.
Johnson made two monumental Vietnam blunders. First he failed to get a declaration of war, which he could have easily
had. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which LBJ regarded as the "Functional equivalent of a formal declaration of war."
was passed unanimously by the House and there were only two dissenting votes cast in the Senate. This would have
altered the judicial state of the nation, exactly as the Founding Fathers had intended. The Founding Fathers were all
veterans of the American Revolutionary War and knew just how hard it had been to maintain public support during their
war (At one point, 80% of the "American" people were against that War. If the Founding Fathers had bowed to public
opinion, today we would still be British subjects not American citizens). A formal declaration of war would have allowed
for control of the press. If Vietnam had been fought under WW II conditions (during WW II Congress formally declared
war) folks who gave aid and comfort to the enemy, people in the ilk of Jane Fonda and Walter Cronkite, would have
been charged with treason, tried, found guilty (their "treasonous acts" were on film / video tape), and then hanged by
the neck until dead. Second, LBJ exempted college kids from the draft. Presto! The nation’s campuses immediately
filled with dastardly little dodgers and became boiling cauldrons of violent rampaging dissent. The dodgers knew they
were acting cowardly and could appease their conscience only if they could convince themselves that the war was
somehow immoral. Once the "immoral" escape concept emerged and became creditable, it spread across the college
campuses and out into the main streets of America like wild fire. Miraculously, acts of cowardice were transformed into
respectable acts of defiance. Anti-war protests and violent demonstrations became the accepted norm. However, when
one goes back and scrutinizes those anti-war demonstrations, one quickly finds they were not really against the war.
They were only against the side fighting the Communists! This of course turns out to be the side which had the army,
from which the dodgers were dodging. Hmmmmm!
Once the draft dodging gang’s numbers reached critical mass, the media and politicians started pandering to those
numbers (with media it is either circulation numbers or Nielsen ratings. With politicians it is votes). Multi-million dollar
salaries are not paid to people for reporting the news, in any form, be it written, audio or video. Multi-million dollar
salaries (e.g., Cronkite) are paid to entertainers, stars and superstars. One does not get to be, much less continue to
be, a superstar unless one gives one’s audience what it wants. Once the dodging anti-war numbers started climbing
through the stratosphere it was not in the media’s interest to say something good about Vietnam to an audience that
was guilt ridden with shame and with a deep psychological need to rationalize away the very source of their burden of
A good example of this number pandering can be found in a 1969 Life magazine feature article in which Life’s editors
published the portraits of 250 men that were killed in Vietnam in one "routine week." This was supposedly done to
illustrate Life’s concern for the sanctity of human life; American human life (During WW II the U.S. Media were not
allowed to publish the picture of a single dead G.I until after the invasion of Normandy, D-Day 1944, was successful).
And furthermore, to starkly illustrate the Vietnam tragedy with a dramatic reminder (i.e., the faces staring out of those
pages), that those anonymous casualty numbers were in fact the sons, brothers and husbands of neighbors. In 1969
the weekly average death toll from highway accidents in the United States was 1,082. If indeed Life’s concern was for
the sanctity of American lives, why not publish the 1,082 portraits of the folks who were killed in one "routine week" on
the nation’s highways? Then they could have shown photos of not only the sons, brothers and husbands of neighbors,
but could have depicted dead daughters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, babies, cripples, fools and draft dodgers as
well. No way. Life knew where its "numbers" were.
The most glaring example of the existence of the dodging guilt syndrome can be found in a statement made by the
ranking head dodger himself. When asked for his reaction to McNamara’s book In Retrospect, Clinton’s spontaneous
response was "I feel vindicated." (of his cowardly act of dodging the draft). Clinton is a lawyer and understands the use
of the English language very well. For one to "feel" vindicated, as opposed to being vindicated, one must first have
been, by definition, feeling guilty.
The Battle of Xuan Loc; Mar 17 - Apr 17, 1975 & The End
Xuan Loc was the last major battle for South Vietnam. It sits astride Q. L. (National Road) #1, some 40 odd miles to the
northeast of Saigon (on the road to Phan Thiet), and was the capitol of South Vietnam’s Long Khanh province. The
NVA (North Vietnamese Army) attack fell on the ARVN (Army Republic of Vietnam) 18th Division.
On 17 Mar 75 the NVA Sixth and Seventh Divisions attacked Xuan Loc but were repulsed by the ARVN 18th. On 9 Apr
75 the NVA 341st Division joined the attack. After a four thousand round artillery bombardment, these three divisions
massed, and, spearheaded by Soviet tanks, assaulted Xuan Loc; but again the ARVN 18th held its ground. The NVA
reinforced with their 325th Division and began moving their 10th and 304th Divisions into position. Eventually, in a
classic example of the military art of "Mass and Maneuver" the NVA massed 40,000 men and overran Xuan Loc.
During this fight, the ARVN 18th had 5,000 soldiers at Xuan Loc. These men managed to virtually destroy 3 NVA
Divisions, but on 17 Apr 75 they were overwhelmed by sheer numbers and the weight of the "Mass." Before
overrunning Xuan Loc the NVA had committed six full divisions, plus a host various support troops.
In the Sorrow of War, author and NVA veteran Bao Ninh writes of this battle: "Remember when we chased Division
southern soldiers all over Xuan Loc? My tank tracks were choked up with skin and hair and blood. And the bloody
maggots. And the fucking flies. Had to drive through a river to get the stuff out of my tracks." He also writes "After a
while I could tell the difference between mud and bodies, logs and bodies. They were like sacks of water. They’d pop
open when I ran over them. Pop! Pop!"
It’s ironic that in spite of all the hype and hullabaloo about the "Viet Cong" and the "American Soldiers" both were
absent from the final battles for South Vietnam. The Viet Cong had been bludgeoned to death (During Tet 1968) on the
streets of the cities, towns, and hamlets of South Vietnam. The Americans had left under the terms of the Paris Peace
Agreements, and then were barred by the US Congress, from ever returning. The end came in the form of a cross
border invasion. Two conventional armies fought it out using strategies and tactics as old as warfare itself.
A quick word about the South Vietnamese government lacking support from the people, and of the so called "Popular
support" for the Communists. During the 1968 Tet Offensive the Communists attacked 155 cities, towns and hamlets in
South Vietnam. In not one instance did the people rise up to support the Communists. The general uprising was a
complete illusion. The people did rise, but in revulsion and resistance to the invaders. At the end of thirty days, not one
single communist flag was flying over any of those 155 cities, towns or hamlets. The citizens of South Vietnam, no
matter how apathetic they may have appeared toward their own government, turned out to be overwhelmingly anti-
Communist. In the end they had to be conquered by conventional divisions, supported by conventional tanks and
artillery that was being maneuvered in accordance with the ancient principles of warfare. But then, as with mathematics,
certain rules apply in war, and, military victories are not won by violating military principles.
General Dung’s Great Spring Victory was supported by a total of 700 (maneuverable) Soviet tanks, i.e. Soviet armor,
burning Soviet gas and firing Soviet ammunition. By comparison, the South Vietnamese had only 352 US supplied tanks
and they were committed to guarding the entire country, and because of US Congressional action, were critically short
of fuel, ammo and spare parts with which to support those tanks.
Works by Bao Ninh, the author of The Sorrow of War. He tells of being drafted into the North Vietnamese Army in 1968
and fighting for nearly seven years. His unit lost over 80% of its men to battle deaths, desertion and sickness. In all
those years, he never once fought against the Americans. His war was strictly a Vietnamese affair.
For those who think that Vietnam was strictly a civil war, the following should be of interest. With the collapse of
Communism and the Soviet Union along with the opening up of China, records are now becoming available on the type
and amount of support North Vietnam received from China and the Soviet Block. For example:
China has opened its records on the number of uniformed Chinese troops sent to aid their Communist friends in Hanoi.
In all, China sent 327,000 uniformed troops to North Vietnam. Historian Chen Jian wrote "Although Beijing’s support may
have fallen short of Hanoi’s expectations, without the support, the history, even the outcome, of the Vietnam War might
have been different."
In addition, at the height of the War, the Soviet Union had some 55,000 "Advisors" in North Vietnam. They were
installing air defense systems, building, operating and maintaining SAM (Surface to Air Missiles) sites, plus they
provided training and logistical support for the North Vietnamese military.
When I asked a well known American reporter, who had covered the war extensively, why they never reported on this
out side Communist support, his answer was essentially that the North Vietnamese would not let the reporters up there
and that because "We had no access to the North during the war...meant there were huge gaps in accurately
conveying what was happening North of the DMZ."
By comparison, at the peak of the War there were 545,000 US Military personnel in Vietnam. However, most of them
were logistical / support types. On the best day ever, there were 43,500 ground troops actually engaged in offensive
combat operations, i.e., out in the boondocks,
"Tiptoeing through the tulips" looking for, or actually in contact with, the enemy. This ratio of support to line troops is
also comparable with other wars, and helps dispel the notion that every troop in Vietnam was engaged in mortal combat
on a daily basis.
The Reason it all, Hangs Like a Pall
There always has, and always will be, American opposition to war. The Revolutionary War had the highest, 80 percent,
and that was because it was fought on home soil. Opposition to WW I was 64 percent, in WW II the peak was 32
percent, and in Korea it was 62 percent. What makes Vietnam different is the dodger disaster. Of the 2,594,000 million
US Military personnel that served in Vietnam only about 25 percent, or 648,000+ were drafted. Compare that to the
16,000,000+ who dodged, and it works out to 25 dodgers for every draftee who went.
Today, America’s crocks are crammed chock-a-block full of dodgers, and the crocks of academia are more fully
crammed than most. America’s schools colleges and universities are overloaded with dodgers, who, to this day have a
need to rationalize away their acts of cowardice and have a compulsion to vilify the very source of their guilt, Vietnam.
The antiwar movement was akin to a national temper tantrum that eventually engulfed and then afflicted the entire
nation with its warped rational. This group, fueled and led by dodgers, were responsible for poisoning the American
mind on the subject of Vietnam and eventually those dodging hordes influenced the American body politic to elect a
Congress that stripped the soldiers who fought in Vietnam of their victories, and voted to cut and run in the face of
adversity. To this day, academia, the media, the politicians, talking heads, and the draft dodging multitudes
continuously feed off one another with their preposterous, addictive hallucinations about "Vietnam" and, this is done at
small expense, only a handful of veterans bear the brunt of their vicious absurdities.
The reason "Vietnam" will not go away is because the story the dodging masses and their cohorts are perpetuating is
not true, and it simply sticks in the craw of the none dodging population. Especially the young. If a teacher wrote 1 + 1 =
2 on the black board, kids going by would take one look and forget it. However, if 1 + 1 = 6 was there, a certain portion
of the kids would stop and question it. Same with Vietnam. The supposed "facts" being taught or presented just don’t
Recently I had a young man ask me "How come North Vietnam, which has a land area smaller than the state of
Missouri, and had a population of less than one tenth the size of America’s, could defeat the modern armed forces of
the United States?" I answered "Son, they didn’t." He came back with "Then why did my teachers tell me that? My
answer was "Son, they are mostly either draft dodgers or wannabes (as in wannabe a draft dodger but was too young,
the wrong sex, or?), or their descendents, or kin of, or other wise truck with, the dodgers. Take this article, go show it to
them, and then ask for a detailed explanation of the American military defeat."
Vietnam Facts vs Fiction
By Capt. Marshal Hanson, U.S.N.R (Ret.)
It's time the American people learn that the United States military did not lose the War, and that a surprisingly high
number of people who claim to have served there, in fact, DID NOT.
As Americans, support the men and women involved in the War on Terrorism, the mainstream media are once again
working tirelessly to undermine their efforts and force a psychological loss or stalemate for the United States. We
cannot stand by and let the media do to today's warriors what they did to us 35 years ago.
Below are some assembled facts most readers will find interesting. It isn't a long read, but it will...I guarantee...teach you
some things you did not know about the Vietnam War and those who served, fought, or died there.
Vietnam War Facts, Statistics, Fake Warrior Numbers, and Myths Dispelled
9,087,000 (Million) military personnel served on active duty during the official
2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam
Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation.
240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War
1. 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.
2. 58,148 were killed in Vietnam.
3. 75,000 were severely disabled .
4. 23,214 were 100% disabled .
5. 5,283 lost limbs.
6. 1,081 sustained multiple amputations.
7. Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21.
8. 11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years old.
9. Of those killed, 17,539 were married .
10. Average age of men killed: 23.1 years.
11. Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.
12. The oldest man killed was 62 years old.
13. As of January 15, 2004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
14. 97% of Vietnam Veterans were honorably discharged.
15. 91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served.
16. 74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome.
17. Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups.
18. Vietnam veterans' personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.
19. 87% of Americans hold Vietnam Veterans in high esteem.
20. There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group
(Source: Veterans Administration Study)
21. Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only one-half of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed
22. 85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.
23. 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.
24. As of the 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..... a real stretch of the
24. During the 2000 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.
25. 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
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).
26. 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.
27. 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 o f the
peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers. - Nixon Presidential Papers .
#1. 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.
#2. 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.
#3. 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, only 10.5% were black, the remainder 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 10 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia, a figure lower than the
proportional number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and lower than the proportion of blacks (about 13%) in
the Army at the close of the war."
#4. 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
#5. 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.
#6. 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.
#7. 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).
#8. 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 pure
bullshit. 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
#9. 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, Berkley a major military defeat for the VC and NVA.
FACT: THE UNITED STATES DID NOT LOSE THE WAR IN VIETNAM, THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE DID. Read on...
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.
FACT: 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 as 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 of the anti-War movement in the United
*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. 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.
Capt. Marshal Hanson, U.S.N.R (Ret.)
Capt. Scott Beaton, Statistical Source