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Vietnam War Casualties
by Education - Enlisted

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A. Vietnam Casualties by Education - Enlisted
B. AFQT and "Project 100,000"
C. Channeling

Education White Enlisted Black Enlisted
Non-High School grad 34.4% 39.5%
High School grad 65.6% 60.5%

Race Category I Score 93-100 Category II Score 65-92 Category III Score 31-64 Category IV Score 10-30
White 7.0% 36.2% 40.8% 15.9%
Black .4% 6.7% 36.6% 56.1%

The DoD database provides no civilian or military educational levels for the V'nam Casualties. However, the DOD dies provide general levels for all enlisted men across all services during the V'nam era.

We have taken an average for the years 1966, 1968, and 1971 for entering white and black enlisted men with the following result:

Estimates of some college for enlisted men range up to 10, conducted less that 1% for college graduates.

Most of the young Amer enlisted men who served in V'nam were not likely college prospects at the time they entered the service. Those who could have qualified for college probably did not have the funds or the motivation. Many of the 17 and 18 year olds were simply late in maturing, were struggling through or dropping out of high school, or if high school graduates were testing poorly for college entrance. Yet, as it turned out, the percentage of V'nam vets who applied for the GI Bill was higher than either World War II or the Korean War.

AFQT and "Project 100,000"

The Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT) was given to all enlisted entrants in all branches whether volunteer or drafted. These aptitude scores were used to classify entrants into 4 categories and their subsequent assignments in the indiv services.

The scores fluctuated somewhat during the war but again we have taken the average of scores for entering enlisted men for the years 1966, 1968 and 1971:

The scores reflect the fact that although 60% of entering blacks were high school graduates, they still did not test well on the AFQT aptitude examination. The indiv services, striving to form their most effective units, would often assign the highest aptitude entrants (categories I and II, and higher range III) to further specialized training and eventually to the skilled, the technical and administrative units. Categories III and IV, for both whites and blacks, were more often assigned to the combat units where most of the casualties took place.

Lower end category IV's (scoring below 20) were usually rejected for service. But many in the Johnson Admin, including SecDef Robert Mcnamara, had decided in 1966 that opportunities for many of these men were being denied, that the lower category IV's would somehow benefit from the traditional and remedial training in the service and then be able to compete successfully when they retd to civilian life.

The prog was called "Project 100000" and in the years from 1966 to 1971, 336, 000 draftees and volunteers from lower end category IV's were phased into the service. More than 40% were minorities, 50% were from the Southern region and the average reading ability was at the 6th grade level. Most of these men were assigned to combat units in the Army or to food service, transportation and supply. Social scientists have disagreed over the success or failure of this prog. The most recent study by the Human Resources Research Org (HumRRO), found that the category IV peers who had not entered the military were often better off in terms of employment status, educational achievement and income.

Many high ranking military men (including Genl Westmoreland) opposed this pro gram feeling that the effectiveness of some units was reduced and that fellow soldiers were sometimes put in greater jeopardy. Of the 336, 111 men who were phased into the service (mostly the Army) under "Project 100000", 2, 072 were killed. This amounted to 4.1 a of all enlisted casualties in V'nam.


Channeling was an official publication of the Selective Service System issued in Jul of 1965 and was sent to all local draft boards. It sought to justify the deferment of college bound young men, undergraduates and post graduate students as being in the larger natl interest "The Selective Service System has the responsibility to deliver manpower to the armed forces in such a manner as to reduce to a minimum any adverse effect upon the natl health, safety, interest and progress."

The channeling philosophy continued in the armed forces themselves through the AFQT process: where the men of higher intelligence and ski a s(Category I and II) were more likely to be assigned to the non-combat units.

Data compiled William F. Abbott from figures obtained shortly after the construction of the Vietnam War Memorial

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