I am not sure who originally started this, but it has made the rounds of e-mail for some time as people remember those lost during the Vietnam War. It is currently posted on the Wildwoods American Legion webpage.
I was in my teens when the war started and turned 18 in 1965, a dangerous time for someone that decided that fun was more important than study at the university and immediately lost student deferrment. I must admit, it was fun at the time. So, I decided the way for me to go was with the U.S. Air Force, they promised to make me a electronics “expert.”
What they didn’t know at the time was that I was color blind. Not especially helpful for an electronics “expert.” So, I became, surprisingly appropriate, a newspaper man. And, although I was sent to Guam three times and visited Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines, never made it to Vietnam. I did, however, lose some close friends there and their names are on the wall.
Here are the wall facts, please remember that when our guys got back from their time overseas, they were not treated very well and still deserve our thanks for their sacrifice.
Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall
There are 58,272 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.
The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth , Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
8,283 were just 19 years old.
The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam.
1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam.
31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia.
8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.
244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 154 of them are on the Wall.
Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 – 2,415 casualties were incurred.
I was still around when the war basically ended. I was working at Andersen AFB, Guam running the weekly newspaper when we started getting refugees in from Vietnam.
There were 121,000 refugees that came through in 10 days. It would be weeks before all of those on boats either made it to safe harbor or perished at sea. It was a huge point in our history, but it just seemed that the war died with a groan and a whimper.
Please remember those that served for their country during this trying time for our country. They deserve your respect.
About the author: Fred Chamberlin is a senior loan officer with Guild Mortgage Company in Oak Harbor. He has been in the mortgage origination business for over 20 years and in the lending business for over 30 and authors a number of mortgage related blogs.