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How Many Vietnam Veterans Are Still Alive Today?



From the Vietnam Veterans Association:

In case you Vietnam Veterans haven't been paying attention these past few decades after you returned from Vietnam, the clock has been ticking. 

The following are some statistics that are at once depressing yet, in a larger sense, should give some a sense of pride.

"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? Don't know about
you, but feels a little strange considering this is the kind of information we are used to reading about WWII and Korean War vets.

So the last 14 years we have been dying at a faster rate then most. Too fast, only a few will survive by 2015...if any.

Every day, 390 Veitnam Veterans die. So in 2190 days from today you will be lucky to be alive.

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.


A total of 9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era (August 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975).

A total of 8,744,000 GIs were on active duty during the war (Aug 5, 1964-March 28,1973).

A total of 2,709,918 Americans served in Vietnam, this number represents 9.7% of their generation.

A total of 3,403,100 (Including 514,330 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).

A total of 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 1M and 1.6 M (40-60%) either fought in
combat, or 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 subsequntly 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 47,378 hostile deaths in Vietnam: 

29,869 were single

17,509 were married.
Average age: 23.1 years
Enlisted Personnel: 30,274.
Officers: 6,598 28.43 
Warrant Officers: ,2,724 
E1(Private): 12,520.34 
11B (Infantry, Rifleman) MOS: 18,465 

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, 

23,204: 100% disabled; 

5,283 lost or severely impared 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. (Expanded use of land mines)

Multiple amputations occurred at the rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in 


58,338 - Missing in Action 

POWs: 766 (114 died in captivity)

As of January 15, 2004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for 
from the Vietnam War.

25% (648,500) of total force in country were draftees. 

66% of U.S. armed forces members were drafted during WWII
Draftees accounted for 30% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.
Reservists: 5,977
National Guard: 6,140 served: 101 died.

Total draftees (1965 - 1973): 1,728,344.
Army Draft: 1,685,711 

Marine Corps Draft: 42,633 
Last man drafted: June 30, 1973.


88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian

10.6% (275,000) were black

1% belonged to other races.

Killed in Action

86% Caucations

12% (7,241) were black; 

2% Hispanic 
1% belonged to other races.

70% of enlisted men killed were of North-west European descent.
14.6% (1,530) of non-combat death were among blacks.
34% of blacks who enlisted, volunteered for the combat arms.

Overall blacks suffered 12% 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: Protastant -- 64.4%; Catholic -- 28.9%; other/none -- 


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 the working class
75% 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 HAD a High School education or higher.

63% of Korean War vets 

45% of WWII vets had completed High School 


South -- 31% 

West --29.9%
Midwest -- 28..4%

Northeast -- 23.5%.

There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and
non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group. (Source: Veterans 
Administration Study, 1995/National Association of Chiefs of Police)

Vietnam Veterans are far less likely to be in prison - only one-half of one
percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.

85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.
82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly believe the war was lost
because of lack of political will.
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 

90% of those who saw combat say they were proud serve their country.
74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome.
87% of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in high esteem..


THOSE TO CLAIM TO HAVE "Been There": (Census Figures)
1,703,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive as of August,1995
9,492,958 Falsely claim to to have served Vietnam (Census Stats., 2000)

1995 Federal Census
Vietnam Veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to 
believe, losing nearly 711,000 between '95 and '00. 

Vietnam Veterans are dying at a rate of 390 per day.

During the most recent Federal Census (yr. 2000), the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is: 13,853,227. (This means that FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnan vets are not.)

The Department of Defense Vietnam War Service Index officially provided by The War Library originally reported 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 day and night.)

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 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 villige level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers. 
( Nixon Presidential Papers)

















Self-Portrait #2 (03-09)

Self-Portrait: Intensity(03-09)



Digital Art





RUN (03-09)

love and war

Love and War (03-09)


Love Exists Some Where Some Time (03-09)

















2003 Work

1998 to 2002

Early Digital Work


Dogs of War Series


Abuse Series

Depression Series

Photography Section



mail me at dougyelmen@earthlink.net    

Love #1

Where were you

Death by....

For You








Hate #1


Hate #2





Love #2

Addiction Series #1


Addiction Series #2


Love and Suicide: The Killing Floor







Dead Woman


My Daughter and Her Mother

Mother Earth Being Tied Down.




Suicide Series #1





Other Web Pages I
work on:







1. Arts of War and Peace Gallery

3. Photography and Movie Site


Quotes & Lyrics

some are political. but, below those are some gems
from everybody from einstein, jesus, antoine de saint-exupery,
william james, stephan w. hawking, to maharishi mahesh yogi, to




War Poetry

By Siegfried Sassoon

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

William Butler Yeats

On Being Asked for a War Poem (1915)
I think it better that in times like these
A poet's mouth be silent, for in truth
We have no gift to set a statesman right;
He has had enough of meddling who can please
A young girl in the indolence of her youth,
Or an old man upon a winter's night.

Wilfred Owen

The Parable of the Old Man and the Young
So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and strops,
And builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

By Siegfried Sassoon
Glory of Women

You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.
You worship decorations; you believe
That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace.
You make us shells. You listen with delight,
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled.
You crown our distant ardours while we fight,
And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed.
You can't believe that British troops 'retire'
When hell's last horror breaks them, and they run,
Trampling the terrible corpses--blind with blood.
O German mother dreaming by the fire,
While you are knitting socks to send your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud.

The Wall Within  

Most real men
hanging tough
in their early forties
would like the rest of us to think
they could really handle one more war
and two more women.
But I know better.
You have no more lies to tell.
I have no more dreams to believe.

I have seen it in your face
I am sure you have noticed it
in mine;
at the unutterable,
unalterable truth of our war.


to read the rest of "The Wall Within go to my ptsd page
at <http://home.earthlink.net/~dougyelmen/masong.html>

Wilfred Owen

Move him into the sun--
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds,--
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved-- still warm,-- too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
-- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?

By Siegfried Sassoon

Soldiers are citizens of death's gray land,
Drawing no dividend from time's tomorrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of fire lit homes, clean beds, and wives.
I see them in foul dugouts, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.

War is a surrealistic penal colony
for young patriots of the real world
who are sons of poor men
who must pay the price
for believable myths
of national leaders
and private enterprise.

by the late Steve Mason.


Helping Johnny Remember from ashleigh nankivell on Vimeo.





Dennis Hopper  
War With China  

FED UP: Why We Must Cook Our Way to Health

by Mark Hyman, MD







One November 28, 2009, I was awarded the Tranquility Base/Military Travels Award for Writing Excellence for my poem "Love and War.

" Here is what was said about the poem by Thurmon P. Woodfork It gives me great pleasure to present you with the Tranquility Base/Military Travels Award for Writing Excellence. Your evocative poem, “Love and War”, is exceptionally well-written and deserves recognition by your peers. Please accept this award with our congratulations on the acknowledgment of your commendable talent. The award is attached and may be displayed with your poem on a web site of your choosing. It will also be displayed with your poem at http://www.8thwood. com/love_ and_war.html The poem has been added to the roster of honored compositions at http://www.8thwood. com/writing_ excellence. htm Thurman P. Woodfork Award Master Here is the award:

TB Award for Poem: Love and War



Love and War


love stuck - love lost.

feeling so far behind the curve.


love is as real as war.

one fades while

the other gathers





i cry out for both.


© Doug Yelmen November 27, 2009

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