While many aspects about the Vietnam War are debatable, the facts and figures of the war have a voice of their own and are indisputable.
Here are some of the commonly accepted facts about the Vietnam War:
- 58,148 Americans were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.59 million who served.
- The average age of those killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years.
- 50,274 were enlisted, average age 22.37.
- 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.
- After Vietnam the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand managed to stay free of communism. The Indonesians expelled the Soviets in 1966.
- During the Vietnam War the national debt increased by $146 billion (1967-1973). Adjusted for inflation, the debt in 1992 dollars was $500 billion.
- 6,598 were officers, average age 28.43.
- 91 percent of Vietnam veterans say they are glad they served.
- 74 percent said they would serve again even knowing the outcome.
- 1,276 were warrant officers (NCOs), average age 24.73 years.
- 11,465 were less than 20 years old.
- From 1957 to 1973 the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 South Vietnamese and abducted 58,499. Death squads focused on leaders that included schoolteachers and minor officials.
- The number of North Vietnamese killed was approximately 500,000 to 600,000. Casualties: 15 million.
- One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. Although the percentage who 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.