The Vietnam War and Vietnam Veterans
The Vietnam War was
America's longest armed conflict. US military advisors were introduced to
South Vietnam in 1954. A major build-up of US forces and escalation of
combat occurred in the mid and late 1960's. The United States finally
withdrew the last of its combat units from Vietnam in 1973. In almost 19
years of involvement, over 58,000 US military members lost their lives in
Vietnam and 153,000 were wounded. America's South Vietnamese allies
suffered over 230,000 killed, while the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong
suffered over a million killed and 300,000 wounded. While any
attempt at political, historical, or social analysis of this conflict is
clearly beyond the scope of TOP's mandate, objectively summarizing high
level facts about the war and its impact on veterans is part of TOP's
educational role, as is directing web visitors to sources of more in-depth
Between January 1, 1965
(when a buildup of regular US forces commenced) and March 28, 1973 (when
the last US combat units were withdrawn), over 9 million men and women
served on active duty in the US military. Of this number 3 and one half
million served in South East Asia and the offshore waters and two and one
half million actually served within the borders of South Vietnam.
According to US Census
Bureau data for 2004, there are approximately 8.2 million Vietnam era
veterans living in the US. Three out of every ten living veterans is a
veteran of the Vietnam conflict.
Many Vietnam veterans
suffered serious readjustment problems upon their return from combat in
Asia. Many veterans, and family members as well, are still suffering, over
thirty years after the end of the war. The term used to describe these
psychological problems is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Click here for more on PTSD.
Some veterans, and their offspring, are
suffering from diseases which are believed to be attributable to the
veterans' exposure to Agent Orange during operations in Vietnam. Agent
Orange was the nickname for a chemical compound used by US forces to
defoliate suspected enemy redoubts during the war.
for more on Agent Orange.
For More Information on the Vietnam War and Vietnam Veterans:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
| Agent Orange |
the Educational Program