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Facts About...

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 information.


  • 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January 1, 1965 (when a buildup of regular US forces commenced) and March 28, 1973 (when the last US combat units were withdrawn), over 9 million men and women served on active duty in the US military.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.

Click here for more on Agent Orange.

For More Information on the Vietnam War and Vietnam Veterans:


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder | Agent Orange | Vietnam Today

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