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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall
September 23, 2011
“Carved on these walls is the story of America , of a continuing quest to preserve both democracy and decency, and to protect a national treasure that we call the American dream.”
~ President George Bush

SOMETHING to think about – Most of the surviving Parents are now Deceased.
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.
The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.
Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E – May 25, 1968 , then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the earth (numbered 70W – continuing May 25, 1968 and ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war’s beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle’s open side and contained within the earth itself.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth , Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.The largest age group, 8,283 were just 19 years old 33,103 were 18 years old.12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam .1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam .31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.54 soldiers on attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school.8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.
Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.The Marines of Morenci – They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058 had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest . And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
The Buddies of Midvale – LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 – 2,415 casualties were incurred.
For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wife’s, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.
 

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Thanks for posting this.
 
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Thank you. I am grateful to those who gave their all and for them and their families I pray. It will be my honor to see the wall some day and pay my respects.

I visited Arlington cemetery years ago and that is one of the highlights of my life... A chance to pay my respects to so many who have preserved and protected this country.
 

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Thanks for the post. It's not about numbers though, it's about people, American people, who chose to honor thier country through military service. They gave their lives because their nation asked for their support. They died not so much to protect the South Vietnamese, or to halt the intrusion of communism around the world, but rather to stand up for the belief that our nation and it's constitution are only as strong as the souls of her citizens can make it and that is is better to die with honor than to live in constant fear. Those young men and women learned about honor and commitment from their parents who just twenty five years earlier offered up their lives in our national defense as well; parents who not only gave their all, but then had to watch their children do the same. The type of valor that was common fifty years ago is all but dead today. Today we are governed by those that possess no honor, have no integrity and view those that do with disdain. We are governed primarily by those that have never served, never sacrificed, and never understood the value in keeping the integrity of our country and constitution strong and protected. It is my distinct hope that the future of our country will fall into the hands of the many that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, for they, like our brothers in arms from the past, understand what honor and commitment are. They will be the salvation of our future as a nation. Bless them all.
 

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Thanks for posting the article . Very touching.
 
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One of my cousins was on his way to the airport to go home when his cab was machine gunned in Saigon. That was, IIRC, in 1967. He was a Naval Lieutenant, JG. I was already in-country, and didn't find out about it until my mom wrote and told me about it almost a month later.

By the time my enlistment was up (4/69), I was ready to just come home, and be left alone. Living close to D.C., though, I was treated to the sight of posturing fools, and liars, daily. It came to a head one day when I was spit on by an "activist". I threw him through a plate glass window, cutting him severely. Witnesses, and the store manager, came to my defense, and the Police, who were already sick of his antics, basically wrote me out of any charges.

Oddly, after that, my High School Buddy called me up, and said "Let's join the Fire Department". Best decision we ever made. At the time, Emergency Services was full of former military. I soon felt at home, and stayed in that home until I retired in 2005. Life took my Buddy away after a decade, but we kept in touch until his untimely passing in 2012. He settled just far enough away from my current address that we never quite got together. That, I regret. :(

I went to Vietnam because it was my turn. No high moral purpose, just a sense of Duty. Grand-father in WWI, father in WWII, uncle in Korea. I followed in their foot-steps. One brother also went into the service, but served in Europe. The youngest missed the war, and the Draft. Both my brother and I enlisted. A LOT of the men and women that I served with felt the same way. It was our Duty. Had we fought this as a war, and not a continuation of Cold War "containment", we'd have done much better. :mad:
 

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I'm with JR , I think most of us went because it was our duty. My uncle was due to come home and retire late August of 68 , major in artillery. His outfit was shelling and under attack he was always on the line with his men so that is where he went, mortar round got him. He had come up through the ranks as enlisted and went to OCS. His men think very highly of him, and still do.
 

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Thank you for posting this. My father did two tours in Vietnam as a Naval Corpsman front line medic. He earned a purple heart, taking shrapnel from an explosion in his rear. His wounds required a blood transfusion. But they patched him up. Sent him to Japan for some R and R and had him back on the front lines in a month. It took Vietnam 30+ years to take my father from us in 2004. That blood transfusion was tainted with Hepatitis C. Which caused liver cancer and took him from us way too soon. My family has asked if there is a way to get his name on the wall. But due to some technicality we were told we cannot. Apparently we cannot prove that he contracted Hep C from that transfusion. Hep C wasn't even given an officially discovered and named until 1989. My father was one hell of a guy. After leaving the Navy in 1986 he was the head ER nurse at RI hospital until about 1995. He was then a nursing supervisor at Westerly hospital in southern RI right up until he passed. He spent his entire life helping others and rarely thinking of him self. RIP Dad...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I agree, the wall is about people, not numbers. I do believe this list of statistics does make the wall much more personal, and it is easy to pick out the Tet Offensive.

There were two things that do stand out about the Vietnam war, most of us my age were sons of WWII veterans, who were raised on a war winning diet, if you could overlook Korea. Our parents held our flag and sense of duty in high esteem, we had a school prayer every morning and said the Pledge of Allegiance.

We had people so motivated who did join the military, and then there was the draft. While a good number of Patriots volunteered, the bulk of the troops rapidly became increasingly draftees, and it made for one of the highest periods of enrollment in colleges there ever was. As long as you were in college, you had an exemption from the draft. If you were married and had children, you pretty well had and exemption.

We had no one from my hometown who skipped to Canada, had quite a few who got drafted early as they had no means to enroll in college, so the war was fought mostly by the economically disadvantaged who usually had a ROTC Lieutenant trying to lead them into a trap. I think a cousin of mine was one of those 2nd Lieutenants who got fragged by his own men.

I tried to join and my asthma gave no option to do so, but it also kept me out when I did get a draft notice. In hindsight, it was a God Send.

I have quite a few friends who did go to Vietnam, two very close friends, one joined the Marines, another the Army and got shot up, but made it home. I had two who did not make it home, one shot down over Hanoi during Rolling Thunder, and the other a grunt on patrol within 30 days of arriving.

I had plenty of others who were in rear echelon duties, who did have some "Oh S---!" moments. One who got more than his dose of agent orange showers and had a metal plate in his skull and died about 4 years ago at 61.

A good friend I met after his last tour was pretty messed up and pretty much stayed that way for the rest of his life. He died two years ago, don't know if it was lung cancer or cirrhosis of the liver.

We watched the war on TV, we watched the anti-war protests on T-V, We watched the ill treatment of returning heroes on TV, we were lied to by our leaders on TV. It was as if these loyal heroes were the villains, and all they had done was answer the call of their country. My friends and all others who served will always be my heroes.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I also posted this on facebook, and to make a point about the two friends who have passed in recent years, here is a response by one of my friends:

"Not listed on that wall are the ones that were killed BY that war, but not in it. My brother served in Vietnam in 68-69. The guy that came back from that place was not the the guy that went there. He died in Brownfield on July 3, 2000 from the effects of war. The Vietnam war killed him. He just didn't die there."
 

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Exactly the case with my father. The war killed him. Just not in Vietnam. Send me a friend request on FB Jake3501. My name is Paul Knutton


I also posted this on facebook, and to make a point about the two friends who have passed in recent years, here is a response by one of my friends:

"Not listed on that wall are the ones that were killed BY that war, but not in it. My brother served in Vietnam in 68-69. The guy that came back from that place was not the the guy that went there. He died in Brownfield on July 3, 2000 from the effects of war. The Vietnam war killed him. He just didn't die there."
 
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If you can find it, there is a fantastic book called "The Wall, Images and Offerings From the Vietnam Veterans Memorial." I visited DC 20 years ago. I hate DC, mainly because I don't do crowds very well. One of the highlights was a visit to The Wall. There were a lot of people there, but I felt very private and alone while there. Many feelings went through my mind include feelings of guilt because I came back whole and was alive to see the Memorial. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life.
 

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Thanks for posting this, Jake.
 
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We had no one from my hometown who skipped to Canada, had quite a few who got drafted early as they had no means to enroll in college, so the war was fought mostly by the economically disadvantaged who usually had a ROTC Lieutenant trying to lead them into a trap. I think a cousin of mine was one of those 2nd Lieutenants who got fragged by his own men.
Better check those statements, sir. I think that you'll find that they are a bit out of line, just like the ones that claim that blacks served in a disproportionate number in Vietnam. If you weren't there, please refrain from telling those of us who were there what went on. At NO time in the Vietnam War was anyone drafted into the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Marines. ONLY the Army. Then too, NONE of the various Special Forces groups used draftees. They didn't have the necessary time of enlistment to make their training, and then service prior to Special Forces before the draft enlistment of two years was up. Also, draftees maxed out at one 12 month tour. Like the 1950's, it seemed that every member who served in WWII was in steady combat. Even the cooks, supply, and stateside cadre. Vietnam has had more than it's share of draftee Rangers, Spec Ops, Airborne wanna-be veterans. Don't let their flights of fancy detract from the reality of what veterans underwent.
 

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Better check those statements, sir. I think that you'll find that they are a bit out of line, just like the ones that claim that blacks served in a disproportionate number in Vietnam. If you weren't there, please refrain from telling those of us who were there what went on. At NO time in the Vietnam War was anyone drafted into the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Marines. ONLY the Army. Then too, NONE of the various Special Forces groups used draftees. They didn't have the necessary time of enlistment to make their training, and then service prior to Special Forces before the draft enlistment of two years was up. Also, draftees maxed out at one 12 month tour. Like the 1950's, it seemed that every member who served in WWII was in steady combat. Even the cooks, supply, and stateside cadre. Vietnam has had more than it's share of draftee Rangers, Spec Ops, Airborne wanna-be veterans. Don't let their flights of fancy detract from the reality of what veterans underwent.
I sure missed something. I failed to see any mention of blacks, or any reference to drafting by any particular branch of service, nor the use of draftees. I'll have to look again, and again. Maybe it was just an opportunity to throw rocks at a valued forum member.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I admit that I had friends who joined, were not drafted. Two in particular, one joined the Marines, the other the Army. A third, AF Lt. John Clark was a graduate of the Air Force Academy and was lost in operation Rolling Thunder.

Attending Texas Tech right after high school, class of 66, there were always discussions with classmates that went something like they had to get their grades up or they would be headed to Vietnam, or have an oops with their girlfriends.

Early on in the war, the draft wasn't a factor, but the further we went into it, the more the draft came into play. I didn't know that only the Army drafted, but that explains why many friends who would have otherwise never served, went to join the Air Force or Navy when they were on the short list. Don't get onto me for saying that, it was the truth.

One of my best friends joined the Navy as a preference to a two year gig in the Army. He served as a crewman on a river boat with a Ma Deuce forward. That probably wasn't what he expected when he joined the Navy, and he tells some fairly hairy stories, and the twin Ma Deuce was the winner of most of those.

Regardless of branch of service all had their moments of Terror if they were there during the Tet Offensive, and even R & R in Saigon wasn't without it's perils.

I actually tried to join the Army, confident I would make a good tunnel rat. I'd earlier had a older friend who had joined the Air Force in 1966 who lied about his asthma on his application. He was drummed out of the Air Force during basic training and there was question for a while that he might get a dishonorable discharge for lying. He didn't get a dishonorable discharge, but it was a discharge only a step above it.

So I went through the usual questions, it seemed like every other one asked if you liked guns, and I confess at age 19, I liked guns as much or more than I do today, and got down to the medical questions and the one that asked if I had asthma. I checked the yes box and then wrote out to the side that it had be a year since I'd had an asthma attack and thought I'd outgrown the asthma.

The doctor examiner later called me to the side and simply said, "We can't use you" and handed me my bus ticket back to Lubbock.
I briefly saw the other two buddies I had made the night before at the Capitol Hotel in Amarillo after they had been approved for service, and they had to make their own ways home, no bus ticket. That seemed awfully unfair. A year later, with two years of civil engineering under my belt, and a good first job as a construction engineer with the A.T.& S.F. RRCO in which the chief engineer had to get me a waiver for my asthma to get hired, I get my draft notice. I had watched by then enough evening news to know I was glad I wasn't in Vietnam, and reported to my local draft board doctor. He had my records from my family doctor. He simply said "Things are going to have to get awfully bad before you are needed."

Those were easy times to get a pretty good job without a college degree, and I advanced fairly quickly. When I left the A.T.& S.F. and moved back to Lubbock in 1972, I began making friends with folks who had just came home from Vietnam, and became quickly thankful I didn't go. I ran into friends who had served there, some as they returned, some many years later. The Marines and the Army friends were mostly horror stories that weren't actually told, my Marine buddy had been gut shot walking through a rice paddy and I didn't see him until 15 years later. I had one friend who was a Cobra pilot and Warrant Officer, he had a much different perspective than my Marine buddy.

I was disappointed when the induction unit turned me down, met a Jarhead who had just finished Basic and had a short time to go home before he shipped out, at the bus station. He was pretty demoralized, if that is possible for a Marine, and I began thinking that maybe I was a little too gung ho.

Over the years, I have gone back and forth between feeling both guilty and relieved that I didn't go to Vietnam, and that has not changed. The other thing that has not changed is my feelings that all who served there, are people to be held up in the highest esteem. One friend of mine who served in Viet Nam as a chopper pilot, was also in the first Gulf War, and the Afghanistan war. His regular job between the latter two wars was as Sheriff of Erath County. I have a lot of friends who will always be extra special to me.
 

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In December of 1965, the daily routines and lives of 40,000 young men were uprooted when we received our letters from President Lyndon B. Johnson. I had ten days to get my affairs in order before reporting to the Federal Building at 0700 hours on 15 December 1965.

20,000 of the 40,000 men who were inducted, were drafted into the Marine Corps during the month of December (this was the first time that draftees were assigned to the Marines since the Korean War).
 
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