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A Majority Of The Men Who Fought In Vietnam Weren’t Drafted — They Volunteered.


National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29 honors the men and women who served and sacrificed during the longest conflict in United States history.

  • It was on March 29, 1973, when combat and combat support units withdrew from South Vietnam. Generations later, Veterans of this time period are gaining the respect that was not so freely given upon their return. Involving five U.S. presidents, crossing nearly two decades and 500,000 U.S.military personnel, it left an indelible mark on the American psyche. 
    The U.S. military suffered more than:
    47,000 personnel killed in action
    11,000 noncombat deaths
    More than 150,000 wounded
    10,000 missing
  • Returning Veterans did not always receive respectful welcomes upon their arrival on American soil. There were 58,000 killed, never to return.
  • National Vietnam War Veterans Day recognize the military service of these men and women who answered the call to service their country when she needed them. They didn’t make the decisions to go to war.
  • On National Vietnam War Veterans Day, we recognize the service and duty rendered by all servicemen and women of this era.
  • The Vietnam War began on 1 November 1955 and ended with the fall of Saigon 30 April 1975, lasting 19 and 1/2 years.
  • From the end of the 19th Century up until the 1940s Vietnam had been a French colony and formed part of French Indochina.
  • The conflict took place during the Cold War, the global struggle for supremacy between two superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union. It was essentially a war between communist and anti-communist forces. The USA was concerned that if the whole of Vietnam became communist, it would spread to other countries in the region – this idea was known as the “Domino Effect” – and the war for the US was about preventing this from happening. 
    “No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.” Richard M. Nixon
    “I thought the Vietnam war was an utter, unmitigated disaster, so it was very hard for me to say anything good about it.” George McGovern
    “The Vietnam War required us to emphasize the national interest rather than abstract principles. What President Nixon and I tried to do was unnatural. And that is why we didn’t make it.” Henry A. Kissinger
  • North Vietnam and its allies had around 500,000 fighters. The forces of South Vietnam and its allies peaked at approximately 1,830,000 in 1968.
  • More than 3 million people died in total. The U.S alone suffered 58,220 deaths in action. North Vietnam plus the Viet Cong had 1,100,000 soldiers and up to 2,000,000 civilians killed.
  • The United States grew interested in the political situation in Vietnam because of the perceived growing threat of global communism. American leaders viewed North Vietnam, led by communist Ho Chi Minh, as an ideological threat to the surrounding region.
  • The average age of Americans that died was just over 23 years. 11,465 of the personnel who were killed were under the age of 20.
  • In total, 8,744,000 U.S. combat troops fought in the Vietnam War
  • North Vietnam’s victory in 1975 meant that the war had ended for good.
  • The U.S. and South Vietnamese Presidents were shot in 1963, and this would be significant. South Vietnamese President Ngô Dình Diem, was shot in an armored personnel carrier on November 2, 1963.  President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated while in a Dallas motorcade on November 22, 1963.
  • At the time, there were 16,000 U.S. advisors in Vietnam
  • The Pentagon Papers leak explicitly stated the U.S. clandestinely maintained contact with Diem over-throwers and the U.S. government gave the generals in Vietnam the green light to start planning a coup. Twenty days later, Kennedy would himself be shot in the back of a vehicle.
  • A majority of the men who fought in Vietnam weren’t drafted — they volunteered.
  • More than three-quarters of the men who fought in Vietnam volunteered to join the military. Of the roughly 8.7 million troops who served in the military between 1965 and 1973, only 1.8 million were drafted. 2.7 million of those in the military fought in Vietnam at this time. Only 25% of that 2.7 million were drafted and only 30% of the combat deaths in the war were draftees.
  • The number of MIA/POW at the war’s end was 2,646, and as of January 2018, 1,601 soldiers remain unaccounted for.
  • A 2015 federal study of Vietnam War veterans found that nearly 300,000 veterans suffer from daily health problems, whether physical or emotional, as a result of their experiences in the war.
  • The Vietnam War was instrumental in raising consciousness about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which was only recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a legitimate malady in 1980.
  • Completed in 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, commemorates the soldiers who died or went missing in action during the war. Inscribed on two long black walls made of gabbro stone are 58,313 names.


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