I ran across an interesting statistic this evening. Only 25% of those who served in Vietnam were draftees. That means that a whopping 75% of the military personnel in Vietnam volunteered. During WW II the percentage of military personnel who were drafted was 66%. This means that only one third of the Greatest Generation volunteered. Does this reflect ill on WW II vets versus Vietnam Vets? I don’t think so. Of the 33% of WW II vets who volunteered, almost all of them were going to get drafted and simply volunteered in order to choose their service. If you were a service age man during WW II, you were going to serve in the military. This tells me that for WW II, percentage of draftees versus volunteers is meaningless. I do, however, think that the high percentage of volunteers who served in Vietnam reflects very well on our military personnel in that conflict. Despite the antiwar hoopla stateside, we still had dedicated, patriotic servicemen on the ground in Vietnam.
Another interesting statistic, a little over 30% of combat deaths in Vietnam were draftees. These men deserve our utmost respect and admiration. They didn’t take off for Canada when they got their notice. They went and served and paid the highest price anyone can pay. All Vietnam veterans deserved far more respect from their country than we gave them.
For more information about our Vietnam Era military service people, visit http://www.mrfa.org/vnstats.htm.