Are these statements true??


Admin & Arbiter
Staff member
Site Admin
Jan 21, 2002
I found these statements on another web site and wondered what you all thought about them ?

Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22.8. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20.
The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age.

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.

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.

Some of these statistics are stated in the WHO WE WERE/ARE thread that I posted early on, when I first joined the site.

AGE: The 22.8 yrs. old seems maybe a little high to me. Personally, I was 19 when I first got there and turned 20 while there. I was barely 21 when I returned. I was 20 days short of my 22 b'day when I was discharged. In the statistics quoted in my post, it states that 61% of KIAs were 21 or younger.

DAYS OF COMBAT: The 240 days is probably accurate. I was given a certificate from the 101st stating that I had spent almost 300 days in the field, and participated in [I think] 11 operations.

KIA/WIA: These statistics also match the ones in my post. I can understand the more crippling wounds. We were exposed to alot of booby traps at times. These would often cause the bulk of our casualties, not necessarily killing. They also hit us with ALOT of mortars and RPGs. RPGs probably scared me the most. You didn't hear them until it was too late, and these things were made to be anti-tank can imagine what they do to a human body. I've retrieved more body parts than I care to think about.

MEDEVAC/DUST-OFF: These guys were true heroes, personally saving thousands of lives. I'm sure the figures are fact.

Just my comments.
Last edited by a moderator:
The 22.8 age could be correct for two reasons.

1. It's an average and when troops were first sent in-mass to Nam, they were for the most part regular Army, or Marines, who belonged to a unit already and may have been just a tad older then the average draftee which would make the stats for the average age rise a bit.

2. During my tour I noticed that some replacements we received were older. They were National Guard or reservists who were called up and they were most definitely older.

I agree with Frisco. The Dustoff crews were, I think, some of the bravest people in Nam. They would come to get our wounded no matter what they had to face. Hostile fire, bad weather or both, it didn't matter. If you called for a Medevac you knew one would be in route and would fly through hell for the grunt.

Last edited by a moderator:
In the first quote I think it needs to be qualified by replacing the word infantry with GI. If, in fact, they are talking about infantry then I would not dispute the 19 figure. I think we also need to look at exactly what the quote is saying. If it is talking about all GI's, not just infantry, KIA's average age, then I think a younger age then 22.8 is more accurate. In fact, as has already been stated, 61% of KIA's were under 21. If it is talking about soldiers in general then much more enters the equation. I certainly was much older when I left then when I arrived at 19 (duh).

I would not dispute that an infantryman saw combat that much. Many units were in contact literally every day. I don't know if you can give much credit for this to helicopters. To win a guerilla war you have to constantly push the enemy and this is what the infantry did. The helicopters were simply a tool available for what they could be used for.

The third quote has some errors. The 2.5 million figure does not include another 514,000 that served offshore. Of the 304,000 wounded, 150,375 required no hospital care. Of those killed, 47,359 were killed as a result of hostile action, the rest were non-hostile deaths.