9 Myths About The Vietnam War And Vietnam Veterans Debunked

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Myth#5: The war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.

Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers.

Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better. [McCaffrey]

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Myth #6: The average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19.

Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. [CACF] The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age. [Westmoreland]

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Myth#7: The fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II.

The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter.

One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,169 were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.59 million who served. Although the percent who died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds were 300 percent higher than in World War II. 75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled. [McCaffrey]

MEDEVAC helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted (nearly half were American). The average time lapse between wounding to hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result, less than one percent of all Americans wounded who survived the first 24 hours died. [VHPA 1993]

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Myth #8: The United States lost the war in Vietnam.

The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. (Westmoreland quoting Douglas Pike, a professor at the University of California, Berkley a renowned expert on the Vietnam War) [Westmoreland] This included Tet 68, which was a major military defeat for the VC and NVA.
THE UNITED STATES DID NOT LOSE THE WAR IN VIETNAM, THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE DID after the U.S. Congress cut off funding.  The South Vietnamese ran out of fuel, ammunition and other supplies because of a lack of support from Congress while the North Vietnamese were very well supplied by China and the Soviet Union…

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Myth #9: Agent Orange poisoned millions of Vietnam veterans.

Over the ten years of the war, Operation Ranch Hand sprayed about eleven million gallons of Agent Orange on the South Vietnamese landscape. (the herbicide was called “orange” in Vietnam, not Agent Orange. That sinister-sounding term was coined after the war) Orange was sprayed at three gallons per acre that was the equivalent of .009 of an ounce per square foot. When sprayed on dense jungle foliage, less that 6 percent ever reached the ground. Ground troops typically did not enter a sprayed area until four to six weeks after being sprayed. Most Agent Orange contained .0002 of 1 percent of dioxin. Scientific research has shown that dioxin degrades in sunlight after 48 to 72 hours; therefore, troops exposure to dioxin was infinitesimal. [Burkett]

Source:  VHPA.org   Featured Image Source Image Source 1  Image Source 2  Image Source 3  Image Source 4  Image Source 5  Image Source 6  Image Source 7  Image Source 8  Image Source 9


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