Copyright@August, 2016 Updated 09-04-2018
The American Legion Is dedicated to a single
purpose: empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with
respect and dignity.
We accomplish this by ensuring that veterans andtheir families
can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting
for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and
educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of
veterans transitioning back to civilian life.
WHAT MAKES OUR POST UNIQUE:
We are a post with a beautiful building, we
support the Boy Scouts, we have scholarships, sponsor Boys
State, and promote Americanism . We participate in several
military ceremonies. In short, we are a small post with a big
It is an incredible challenge to keep every Legionnaire up to date
and informed on the issues that affect every one of us . Learn to
use this website and increase the exchange of information
between Post and legionnaires.
Of course, we know veterans will be using these pages to see
what we are up to, and might contact us to join our Post.
We ask every veteran to explore these pages and let us know
what you find good, bad, or missing - so we can make this a site
a place you could go to regularly for information and would want
to refer others proudly.
Feel free to drop by to any of our meetings,
189 Prospect Avenue,
Mamaroneck, New York 10543, NY
on the 2nd Tuesday of the Month at 1900 Hours
Write or E-Mail us:
Mamaroneck Post 90
P.O. Box 90
Mamaroneck, New York 10543
Copyright@August, 2016 Updated 09-04-2018
The American Legion, approved by an act of
congress, is a social and armed forces. The organization
was founded in 1919 by veterans returning from Europe after
World War I,.. The group has nearly 3 million members in
over 14,000 Posts worldwide.
A Post is the basic unit of the American Legion and
usually represents a small geographic area such as a single
town or part of a county.
A Post is used for formal business such as meetings and
a coordination point for community service projects. A Post
member is distinguished by a navy blue garrison cap with
NY Legion Post 50 of Pelham, New York,
Westchester County was established in October 1923 ,
dedicated to a single purpose: empowering veterans to lead
high-quality lives with respect and dignity.We accomplish this
by ensuring that veterans and their families, can access the
full range of benefits available
WHAT MAKES OUR POST UNIQUE:
We are a small post, we do not even have a building, and yet
we support a Boy Scout Troop (1), we have scholarships,
sponsor Boys State, and promote Americanism . We
participate in several military ceremony. In short, we are a
little post with a big agenda.
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,
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
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
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
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
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 races.
86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (includes Hispanics).
12.5% (7,241) were black; 1.2% belonged to other races.
170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2% of total) died there.
70% of enlisted men killed were of northwest European descent.
86.8% of the men who were killed as a result of hostile action were Caucasian; 12.1% (5,711)
were black; 1.1% belonged to other races.
14.6% (1,530) of non-combat deaths were among blacks.
34% of blacks who enlisted volunteered for the combat arms.
Overall, blacks suffered 12.5% of the deaths in Vietnam at a time when the percentage of blacks
of military age was 13.5% of the total population.
Religion of Dead: Protestant -- 64.4%; Catholic -- 28.9%; other/none -- 6.7%
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
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
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 crimes.
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
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
'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 had won!'
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 your honor.
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
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
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 general officer.
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
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
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 you.
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
1. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a
longing for those past times.
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 closet.
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
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 knowing.
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 fight.
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
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
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
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 historically unique.
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
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 plaintive confessions.
"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
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 service."
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 really dangerous.
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 eyes.
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
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
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
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
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 Vietnamese invasion.
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 1971.
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 Vietnam.
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 Laos.
Aug 1974; Nixon resigns.
Sept 1974: North Vietnamese hold special meeting to evaluate Nixon’s resignation and decide to test
Dec 1974: North Vietnamese invade South Vietnamese Province of Phouc Long located north of
Saigon on Cambodian border.
Jan 1975: North Vietnamese capture Phuoc Long provincial capitol of Phuoc Binh. Sit and wait for US
reaction. No reaction.
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 Spring Victory.
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 protect.
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 guilt.
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
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 add up.
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
9,087,000 (Million) military personnel served on active duty during
the official Vietnam era
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
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 for crimes.
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
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 imagination.
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,
#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 her brothers.
#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.
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
*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 States.
*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
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