82nd Airborne Division (Vietnam) Golden Brigade


Vietnam War Statistics

In Uniform and In Country

  • Vietnam Vets: 9.7% of their generation.
  • 9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era
    (Aug. 5, 1964-May 7, 1975).
  • 8,744,000 GIs were on active duty during the war
    (Aug 5, 1964 – March 28, 1973).
  • 3,403,100 (Including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the Southeast Asia Theater (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, flight crews based in Thailand, and sailors in adjacent South China Sea waters).
  • 2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam
    (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)

Casualties

  • 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.
  • Married men killed: 17,539
  • 61% of the men killed were 21 or younger.
  • Highest state death rate: West Virginia – 84.1%
    (national average 58.9% for every 100,000 males in 1970).
  • Wounded: 303,704 — 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)

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 & Ethnic Background

  • 88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian; 10.6% (275,000) were black; 1% belonged to other races.
  • 86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (includes Hispanics); 12.5% (7,241) were black; 1.2% belonged to other races.
  • 170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2% of total) died there.
  • 70% of enlisted men killed were of North-west 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%

Socio-Economic Status

  • 76% of the men sent to Vietnam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds.
  • Thee-fourths had family incomes above the poverty level; 50% were from middle income backgrounds.
  • 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%.

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.

Honorable Service

  • 97% of Vietnam-era veterans were honorably discharged.
  • 91% of actual Vietnam War veterans and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are proud to have served their country.
  • 66% of Vietnam vets say they would serve again if called upon.
  • 87% of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in high esteem!!!!!

Courtesy of the VFW Magazine and
the Public Information Office, HQ CP Forward Observer -1st Recon
April 12, 1997