There are a number of little known, interesting facts about the Vietnam War.
At the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL, visitors pass through a replica of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the Vietnam Gallery. As visitors enter the trail, they hear the all too familiar sound associated with this war – a helicopter flying amongst enemy fire. Camouflaged in the jungle are both US soldiers and Vietnamese soldiers. Display cases from the era show both American and Vietnamese memorabilia.
- Vietnam was actually under Chinese rule for approximately 1,000 years – until 938 AD.
- From mid-19th century, until 1954, Vietnam was a French colony.
- Congress never formally declared war against Vietnam, making it technically the ‘Vietnam Conflict’
- A total of 9,087,000 military personnel served active duty during the Vietnam Era, which spanned August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975. 2,709,918 of those were Americans in uniform.
- Close to 2/3 of the American men serving in the conflict were volunteers, not drafted. In contrast, during World War II, 2/3 of the men were drafted.
- The Ho Chi Minh Trail (which extended from Laos/Cambodia to the Vietnam borders) was approximately 1,000 kilometers (just over 621 miles) and in some places up to 80 kilometers or 50 miles wide. Dominated by jungle, the trail consisted of a number of parts which included thousands of trails as well as dummy routes, which were used for the sole purpose of confusing the Americans.
- The Medal of Honor was awarded to 240 men during the Vietnam conflict.
- The Davis Station in Saigon is named after the first man killed in Vietnam – James Davis who died in 1961. Davis was with the 509th Radio Research Station.
- A total of 58,148 were killed in Vietnam and another 75,000 were severely disabled. 23,214 were 100% disabled with 5,283 losing limbs and another 1,081 sustaining injuries
- 61% of those who died in Vietnam were younger than 21 years old and 11,465 were under the age of 20.
- Five young men killed in Vietnam were just 16 years old and the oldest man known to have been killed was 62 years old.
- A total of 997 soldiers are reported to have died on their first day in Vietnam with 1,448 soldiers dying on their last day.
- Thirty one sets of parents lost two sons in the conflict
- 1,875 Americans from Vietnam remain unaccounted for as of January, 2004.
- During the Vietnam conflict, the average infantryman would experience an average of 240 days of combat per year. During World War II, an infantryman only experienced an estimated 40 days of combat over a four year period.
- Vietnam veterans overall have a lower unemployment rate than those in the same age group who are non-vets.
- Overall income of Vietnam veterans is 18% higher than the non-veterans in the same age group.
- Only one-half of one percent of the Vietnam veterans has been jailed for crimes.
Controversy will always surround any conflict or war, but as Americans, we should always honor the noble intentions with which our military serve, especially when you read interesting facts such as these about the Vietnam War.