IN HARM'S WAY...
How many REAL Vietnam vets
are alive today?
NOTICE DATED 28 FEBRUARY 2019:
REAL Vietnam War veterans are all those who are officially authorized the Vietnam Service medal and possess official military-issued documentation to confirm their medal authorization. All others should not be accepted to have served either on land or at sea in Vietnam.
Over the past three decades The War Library has heard from a thousands of individuals claiming they served in military or combat operations either on land or at sea in Vietnam. None of these claimants were able to confirm their alleged war history with any military-issued documentation presented by themselves, or found in military archives by The War Library. Many of these false 'war veterans' claim their alleged Vietnam service was "classified", and therefore never recorded. This, of course, is a lie. The US military never sends Active Duty, Reservist or National Guard military personnel to any war zone without officially documenting that service for the obvious reasons of compiling factual death stats or notifying next of kin in the event of injury or death. Additionally, the Vietnam Service Medal has never been 'classified'... it is not secret. Lastly, all Vietnam War operations were declassified in 1993 by US President William Jefferson Clinton, who with USSR President Boris Yeltsin, publicly agreed in signed documents to de-classfy ALL military operations conducted by both countries dating back to WW1 for the specific purpose of accounting for an individual's war service or MIA/POW status!
REAL Vietnam War veterans are all those who are officially authorized the Vietnam Service medal and possess official military-issued documentation to confirm their medal authorization. All others should not be accepted to have served either on land or at sea in Vietnam... despite their oral claim of service there.
As of this date The American War Library estimates that approximately 610,000 Americans who served on land in Vietnam or in the air over Vietnam between 1954 and 1975 are alive today. And approximately 164,000 Americans who served at sea in Vietnam waters are alive today.
PLEASE NOTE: The above numbers do not include the approximate 2500-3000 US Air Force personnel who operated in Guam, Thailand or other countries far remote from combat exposure that were authorized the Vietnam Service Medal by the USAF for providing support to air crews flying over Vietnam, but themselves did not spend any amount of time in harm's way.
Because of faulty record keeping there is no confirmed number of Americans who served in Vietnam. The best estimate that the Department of Defense can conclude is that between 2,709,918 to 3,173,845 GI's served in-country and in-waters Vietnam between 1954 and 1975 (this does not count the handful of Americans who served in Vietnam during WW2). However, veterans groups estimate that today approximately 9 to 12 million Americans fraudulently claim they served in Vietnam.
After extensive research of various mortality indexes and sources The American War Library estimates that approximately one-third of those who did serve in Vietnam (approximately 850,000) are alive today [18 Aug 2007]. (Vietnam veterans are dying at about the same rate as their WW2 fathers.) Since 1988 The War Library has been working to verify the names of all Americans who served in Vietnam, or were authorized the Vietnam War Service Medal.
Do you have a family member who served in Vietnam?
The online research project that includes the 2,709,918 Vietnam veterans officially listed by the Department of Defense [*] is available here where veterans whose Vietnam service is indicated as confirmed or unconfirmed:
VETERANS REGISTRY APPLICATION
[*] Vietnam veterans of other nations are also listed.
Contact Person for this website: