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Dirty Secrets: The Real Facts About Service in Vietnam

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  • Dirty Secrets: The Real Facts About Service in Vietnam

    I saw an interesting article on StrategyPage.com that had some info that may surprise some of you. To those who serve in the Army, this is mostly old hat, but some of you may find it interesting reading.

    https://www.strategypage.com/dls/articles2004/2004217.asp

    There were over a million men becoming eligible for the draft each year during the 1960s, but the most that were drafted in any one year (1968) was 334,000. There were plenty of opportunities to a deferment from the draft and avoid service. Minor physical problems would often do it. If you had kids, that would often work.
    Quite true. The myth that everyone in the '60s got drafted was a bunch of bolony.

    Over 90 percent of those who served in the military during the Vietnam war were not in any particular danger. Avoiding service to "save your life" was a myth. Anyone who wanted to avoid danger, and many did, simply joined the navy or air force (and didn't volunteer for flight school), or volunteered for the army on condition that they get a certain non-combat job (the army encouraged this to get qualified volunteers for those positions.) A college grad who enlisted was almost certain to get a safe non-combat kind of job, especially if he could type. This worked for former vice president Al Gore.
    Also true, although there persists a belief that Vietnam was a high intensity, high casualty conflict. It actually was quite the opposite. Most of those killed were in fact volunteers, not draftees.
    Last edited by Skoblin; 04 Apr 15, 00:41.
    Editor-in-Chief
    GameSquad.com

  • #2
    During the Vietnam War era Australia had conscription as well, but conscripted soldiers could object to being sent overseas. Most did not because of the mateship that was built up during training, and they all went as a team. As the commitment progressed most of the private soldiers in the infantry were conscripts and thus did bear a large proportion of the battlefield casualties. But you did not have to go overseas. An old family friend is sort of proud that he had the balls to stand up and say he would do his training obligation the hard way, instead of joining the CMF (Army Reserve) like a lot of university friends, but he wasn't going to "volunteer" to go overseas. He didn't go and a lot of non-infantry or artillery conscripts didn't go either.

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    • #3
      Yeah all those guys that weren't pilots had it easy. What about that aircraft carrier that blew up off the coast?
      Furthermore, they had calculated that if 25,000 of them died for every one of us, they would finish us first, for they were many and we were but few.
      -Hernan Cortez

      The Pacific is our ocean. The power that rules the Pacific, therefore, is the power that rules the world. That power is and will forever be the American Republic.
      -Senator Albert J. Beveridge, 56th Congress

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      • #4
        This site lists % of casualties by volunteer and draftee. A great deal depended on which branch of the service you served in.

        http://members.aol.com/WarLibrary/vwc8.htm
        And we are here as on a darkling plain
        Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
        Where ignorant armies clash by night.


        Matthew Arnold

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        • #5
          So I guess we're saying there were more draft dodgers in the military than were in Canada? Heh.
          Furthermore, they had calculated that if 25,000 of them died for every one of us, they would finish us first, for they were many and we were but few.
          -Hernan Cortez

          The Pacific is our ocean. The power that rules the Pacific, therefore, is the power that rules the world. That power is and will forever be the American Republic.
          -Senator Albert J. Beveridge, 56th Congress

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          • #6
            Of the 12 Viet Vets I know, only one, my uncle, saw combat, and he was a volunteer Special Forces medic. The rest were all logistics guys, computer programmers or what have you. The Vietnam War to them was more of a culinary experience than anything else.
            Even Jesus will never forgive what you do - Bob Dylan

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Don Maddox
              Quite true. The myth that everyone in the '60s got drafted was a bunch of bolony.

              Also true, although there persists a belief that Vietnam was a high intensity, high casualty conflict. It actually was quite the opposite. Most of those killed were in fact volunteers, not draftees.
              Are those common myths? I always believed it was a relatively low-intensity conflict both in terms of numbers drafted & sent to Viet Nam and in terms of casualties, and I've always presumed most people had the same perception.

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              • #8
                Some other US casualty figures:

                From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year.

                From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 18,333 per year.

                From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average of 5,800 per year.

                From 2003 to Present, appx 600 lives were lost, an average of appx 300 per year.

                At a glance, it appears we are doing a better job of keeping our soldiers alive.

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                • #9
                  have a look at committed numbers, and numbers of enemy troops, and actual scale of the combats involved.

                  modern (western) combat is either large scale GW1 type actions where stand off attacks win the battle, or close in knife fights with a company of troops at most. Compare to the number of combats in VN, Lebanon etc etc, and then test the figures again.
                  Now listening too;
                  - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

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                  • #10
                    On any given day, you had a better chance of being killed on the freeway going to work, than dying in Vietnam, even if you were in Vietnam.
                    Life is change. Built models for decades.
                    Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                    I didn't for a long time either.

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