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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Vietnam War

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Vietnam War The Battle for Vietnam. .

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  #1  
Old 13 Jan 13, 17:44
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What amount/percentage of draftees were against the war in Vietnam

Living in Canada all we really learn about Vietnam was how unpopular the war was as it dragged on, and there were alot of draft dodgers, and one of the popular destinations was Canada.

In my twelth grade English Class to open up a story of draft dodger our teacher asked what we would do if told we had to go to Afghanistan. I had already joined the Canadian reserves so myself and the majority of our very conservative class were supportive with only 3 people saying no.

Reading another thread on Vietnam this idea kind of recurred to me and makes me wonder exactly how unpopular was the war among the draftees who went overseas. I can't see the war going over well at all if the majority of soldiers were against the war.

I should probably also include the question what percentage of the military presence overseas were draftees as opposed to volunteer/professionals.

I would suspect a high approval at start that would decrease over times, but would like to hear the answers from fellow members/vets
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  #2  
Old 13 Jan 13, 18:49
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I was a VN era draftee, I did not “support” the war - but once I took the oath and donned the uniform my personal opinions were secondary to Military Service.

Most likely a great deal of what you believe about the VN war is wrong, and the truth is getting more and more obscure as time goes by.

In my experience many of the “draft dodgers” had reasons other than VN for leaving the country - drugs, legal or personal problems. Later it was fashionable for many, many men to claimed they were VN protesters on moral grounds, and most of them were lying. In fact they were not seriously subject to military service to began with.

There are several web sites dedicated to VN “facts” vs. what the public commonly believes. Such as less than then 1/3 of those who served in VN were draftees, and most of those did not serve in “Combat Arms” - meaning most of the “fighters” were volunteers.

Nor were the combat soldiers mostly poor, un-educated, or minorities. Of those killed in the war a relatively high percentage had some college, in fact more men with College Degrees died in VN than any other US war; of men who served in Combat Arms the percentage of African Americans was less than the relative percentage of the US population, the same is true of KIA’s.

According to the 2010 US census as many as 8 in 10 who claim to have served in VN did not; there are about 10 times as many people in the US who claim VN service as the total of all who served in the entire war. So while it may have been an “unpopular war” it is becoming very popular to claim service in the war.

By the time the first Gulf War came around I was a professional soldier. I did not support that war either but going or not going was not an issue.
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Old 13 Jan 13, 19:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay217 View Post
Living in Canada all we really learn about Vietnam was how unpopular the war was as it dragged on, and there were alot of draft dodgers, and one of the popular destinations was Canada.

In my twelth grade English Class to open up a story of draft dodger our teacher asked what we would do if told we had to go to Afghanistan. I had already joined the Canadian reserves so myself and the majority of our very conservative class were supportive with only 3 people saying no.

Reading another thread on Vietnam this idea kind of recurred to me and makes me wonder exactly how unpopular was the war among the draftees who went overseas. I can't see the war going over well at all if the majority of soldiers were against the war.

I should probably also include the question what percentage of the military presence overseas were draftees as opposed to volunteer/professionals.

I would suspect a high approval at start that would decrease over times, but would like to hear the answers from fellow members/vets
I was drafted and served in Vietnam, and I've seen stats that indicate the percentage of draftees who served in Vietnam was around 25 percent, and that they accounted for around 33 percent of the casualties.

I doubt that it would be possible to determine how popular or unpopular the war was amongst draftees, you'd first have to determine how many were upset at being drafted in the first place.
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  #4  
Old 13 Jan 13, 20:57
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What the 1SG said. It's not necessary to "support" a war to do the job. Also totally agree the oath is binding and personal opinions cease to matter.

Far as I can recall, never personally met anyone who ran to Canada or into the underground to avoid the draft.

When I got drafted, went to the local friendly recruiting station and joined the first door that opened. That was a Navy door and next thing I knew, 'I are one'.

A year or two ago, Half Pint John said it as well as anyone could...something like

"We were all standing around filling our pants waiting..."

How would you feel Jay? You're barely 19. How would you feel if you faced a draft, someone processed you through 8 weeks of basic training, shoved a rifle at you, told you to do a job ya never heard of?

Hard to imagine ain't it? Easier to imagine you'd never see 20.

You might gather Mike and I were just a couple regular guys and you'd be right. Nigel, on the other hand just got off the boat from GB...he didn't even have the chance to be one of the 'regular guys'.

Time to stop blathering on.
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  #5  
Old 13 Jan 13, 21:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimike View Post
I was a VN era draftee, I did not “support” the war - but once I took the oath and donned the uniform my personal opinions were secondary to Military Service.

Most likely a great deal of what you believe about the VN war is wrong, and the truth is getting more and more obscure as time goes by.

In my experience many of the “draft dodgers” had reasons other than VN for leaving the country - drugs, legal or personal problems. Later it was fashionable for many, many men to claimed they were VN protesters on moral grounds, and most of them were lying. In fact they were not seriously subject to military service to began with.

There are several web sites dedicated to VN “facts” vs. what the public commonly believes. Such as less than then 1/3 of those who served in VN were draftees, and most of those did not serve in “Combat Arms” - meaning most of the “fighters” were volunteers.

Nor were the combat soldiers mostly poor, un-educated, or minorities. Of those killed in the war a relatively high percentage had some college, in fact more men with College Degrees died in VN than any other US war; of men who served in Combat Arms the percentage of African Americans was less than the relative percentage of the US population, the same is true of KIA’s.

According to the 2010 US census as many as 8 in 10 who claim to have served in VN did not; there are about 10 times as many people in the US who claim VN service as the total of all who served in the entire war. So while it may have been an “unpopular war” it is becoming very popular to claim service in the war.

By the time the first Gulf War came around I was a professional soldier. I did not support that war either but going or not going was not an issue.
That's what I found. I was a three-year enlistee, but most of the men I did basic with at Fort Lewis were draftees. Not many of them were wild about being there, but most took on their training with pride and resolved to make the most out of their two year commitment. I remember when our orders were passed out near the end of our cycle and the moans and cat calls for each guy that would remain at Fort Lewis for Infantry AIT. My unit in Vietnam was a straight ground-pounder leg infantry. Most of our EM were draftees and most of them did their jobs very well. No one thinks much about the overall policy or politics behind the war out in the boonies. Everyone had a job to do and we owed it to the men next to us to do it as well as we could. I don't know how many soldiers, draftees or not, were "against" the war. I know of no poll taken.

Anecdotally, I know many men did not think the army should be there. But their reasons varied. Some thought going to Vietnam was a mistake from the beginning. Others thought there may have been a good reason in the beginning but now everything was so messed up, that we ought to just leave. And many others supported the war and the overall mission too. We were, after all, an American army. We had the right to hold our own opinions, but also the duty to do our jobs as best we could.
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Old 13 Jan 13, 21:36
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Thanks for all the responses already. similar to what mimike said alot of what i hear isn't the truth (i don't necessarily believe much what i have been told outside of ACG). I am glad to hear how professional most people are about the oath and checking their politics at the door. that is definitely one of the best case scenario's i thought when asking, and definitely not one that the revisionists and media like to let us believe.

using from just what i hear from the media the average person would believe 70% of the boots on the ground were draftees, with only a few grizzled sergeants who wanted to be there, throw in some CCR, helicopters, and massive jungles, and you have the sum of all their knowledge.

hearing that less than 1/3 were draftees, while a large number makes much more sense. also hearing lots went to non-combat trades also makes sense because that was often what i asked in my mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skiplc View Post
How would you feel Jay? You're barely 19. How would you feel if you faced a draft, someone processed you through 8 weeks of basic training, shoved a rifle at you, told you to do a job ya never heard of?
I kind of alluded to this in my OP i joined the Canadian Armed forces when i was 17, missed half my graduation due to Basic Training and spent the entire past summer doing my RMS clerk training. but i can understand your sentiments, even now thinking i wouldn't like the idea of serving in Vietnam, as i've been told countless stories of the rain, the heat, the jungle, etc, (given none by actual vets). growing up with Afghanistan and being trained by soldiers who deployed over there i was much more comfortable about the idea of going there, Hotter and IEDs, but overall a better sounding theater.
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Old 13 Jan 13, 22:08
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Quote:
I kind of alluded to this in my OP i joined the Canadian Armed forces when i was 17, missed half my graduation due to Basic Training and spent the entire past summer doing my RMS clerk training. but i can understand your sentiments, even now thinking i wouldn't like the idea of serving in Vietnam, as i've been told countless stories of the rain, the heat, the jungle, etc, (given none by actual vets). growing up with Afghanistan and being trained by soldiers who deployed over there i was much more comfortable about the idea of going there, Hotter and IEDs, but overall a better sounding theater.
Frankly, Afganistan doesn't sound any better to me than any other spot on the planet. Huge differences between sweltering hot and freezing cold, no shortage of bad guys, that sort of stuff... Doesn't really matter if I was anti-war forty odd years ago or if I'm anti-war today. I served then and spend a few bucks every month now to support those who serve today.

When we sign up, we all get the chance to suffer together or sometimes get to party together. There's an underlying duty and a bond that allows us to bitch and moan.
y'all.
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Old 13 Jan 13, 22:09
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Another example: I was drafted from S. Cal as were most of my Basic Training Class. When Basic was over and we got orders I don’t remember any draftee going to Combat Arms.

Once I decided to make the Army a career I tried to volunteer for VN (Career Enhancement) and was denied. I had to re-enlist specifically for VN to get there.

Many years later, after my father died, my mother told me he (my father-who was politically connected locally) had something to do with it being so hard for me to get there.

So Politics, as always, played some part it the matter.
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Old 13 Jan 13, 22:27
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maybe different weather and logistics.............. but one thing is always constant no matter what war it is..........there are people there who want you dead.
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Old 13 Jan 13, 23:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiplc View Post
When we sign up, we all get the chance to suffer together or sometimes get to party together. There's an underlying duty and a bond that allows us to bitch and moan.
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maybe different weather and logistics.............. but one thing is always constant no matter what war it is..........there are people there who want you dead.
I can agree to that, and a salute to those who did serve in Vietnam, whether a draft or a volunteer, my country's politics on it doesn't change my respect. and don't think i forgot about you Mike, Alan, or Nigel. and the countlesss other vets on this forum who haven't posted yet

The theaters have changed but the job has not.
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Old 14 Jan 13, 09:14
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The only anti-war person I knew was in Company c, 1st Battalion, 13th Armor, Fort Hood, Texas in 1969. He was a draftee from Detroit (IIRC) who was a card carrying Communist. That did not prevent him from being drafted. The irony is that it did prevent him from going to Vietnam, and that assignment restriction was on his records. He was the company supply clerk, and spent his off duty hours editing the "G.I. Press", Fort Hood's anti-war rag.
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Old 14 Jan 13, 11:30
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The cross section of society in the military is amazing!

I remember living outside Ft. Bragg in the 70’s, we would occasionally find a very violent, raciest “Newspaper” in our mailbox.

Unit “intel” said it was published and distributed by some senior XVIII Abn. Corps NCOs!
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Old 14 Jan 13, 15:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay217 View Post
Thanks for all the responses already. similar to what mimike said alot of what i hear isn't the truth (i don't necessarily believe much what i have been told outside of ACG). I am glad to hear how professional most people are about the oath and checking their politics at the door. that is definitely one of the best case scenario's i thought when asking, and definitely not one that the revisionists and media like to let us believe.

using from just what i hear from the media the average person would believe 70% of the boots on the ground were draftees, with only a few grizzled sergeants who wanted to be there, throw in some CCR, helicopters, and massive jungles, and you have the sum of all their knowledge.

hearing that less than 1/3 were draftees, while a large number makes much more sense. also hearing lots went to non-combat trades also makes sense because that was often what i asked in my mind.



I kind of alluded to this in my OP i joined the Canadian Armed forces when i was 17, missed half my graduation due to Basic Training and spent the entire past summer doing my RMS clerk training. but i can understand your sentiments, even now thinking i wouldn't like the idea of serving in Vietnam, as i've been told countless stories of the rain, the heat, the jungle, etc, (given none by actual vets). growing up with Afghanistan and being trained by soldiers who deployed over there i was much more comfortable about the idea of going there, Hotter and IEDs, but overall a better sounding theater.
Careful with the "less than a third" draftees. The percentage of draftees was higher in regular leg infantry. In airborne units most were volunteers, for example. Plus those that "volunteered for the draft" were carried on the books as "RA" but would not have enlisted but for the draft. The draft also influenced many enlistees. If you were willing to enlist for three years, you could get guaranteed a school that would land you a rear job. So many of those RA's would likely not have enlisted but because of the draft. Statistics can sometimes be blind to the real story.
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Old 14 Jan 13, 16:03
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Originally Posted by MontanaKid View Post
Careful with the "less than a third" draftees. The percentage of draftees was higher in regular leg infantry. In airborne units most were volunteers, for example. Plus those that "volunteered for the draft" were carried on the books as "RA" but would not have enlisted but for the draft. The draft also influenced many enlistees. If you were willing to enlist for three years, you could get guaranteed a school that would land you a rear job. So many of those RA's would likely not have enlisted but because of the draft. Statistics can sometimes be blind to the real story.

To top it off, I don't remember Gallup ever doing a telephone survey so it's going to be hard to find an answer.
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Old 15 Jan 13, 00:33
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Quote:
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To top it off, I don't remember Gallup ever doing a telephone survey so it's going to be hard to find an answer.
Hi Guys: Here are the national casualty stats. They are from my book "Vietnam: A Visual Encyclopedia" and were compiled from DoD reports.

There are a number of enduring myths surrounding casualties in the Vietnam War. The first is that the bulk of the casualties were draftees. In fact, 77 percent of the combat deaths in the Vietnam War were volunteers, and among the 18 and 19 year olds the percentage was even higher, 97 percent and 86 percent respectively. Second, 18 year olds did not suffer a large number of casualties in Vietnam. In fact, there were only 101 killed during the entire war. Third, it is a myth that black troops suffered a disproportionate percentage of the casualties. In fact, 7,273 African-Americans were killed in Vietnam, or 12.5 percent of all casualties, even though African-Americans accounted for 13.5 percent of draft age males in America during that time. Another myth is that only the enlisted "grunts" fought and died. In fact, the army lost a higher ratio of its officer corps in Vietnam than it did in World War II, to include 12 generals, and the highest casualty rate among all military occupational specialties, (MOS), was for tankers, (Armor Crewmen – MOS 11E). Twenty-seven percent of all armor crewmen who were assigned to Vietnam were killed in action. Additionally, the U.S. Marine Corps suffered more casualties in Vietnam than it did in World War II. While U.S. and Allied casualty statistics are considered relatively firm, those for the ARVN are largely based upon estimates rather than hard data. The North Vietnamese did not release casualty statistics until 1995, and then only released gross numbers.



Force Killed In Action Wounded In Action Total

U.S. Forces 47,378 304,704 352,082
ARVN 223,748 1,169,763 1,393,511
Australia 469 2,940 3,409
Korea 4,407 17,060 21,467
Thailand 351 1,358 1,709
New Zealand 83 212 295

Total 276,436 1,496,037 1,772,473

*NVA/VC 1,100,000 660,000 1,760,000

* Figures released by North Vietnam 3 April 1995.



Here's one that is probably completely inappropriate - but here is the FBI National Murder Report to build on your "hammer" comment

FBI: More Killed With Hammers, Clubs Than With Rifles
Thursday, 03 Jan 2013 05:24 PM
By Stephen Feller

Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, Democrats have made reinstatement of the assault weapons ban a major priority for the 113th Congress despite the fact that relatively few murders are killed with weapons that would be banned.

From 2005 through 2011, more people in the U.S. were killed with hammers and clubs, or with hands and fists, than with rifles, which is what the ban likely would have the most effect on, reports Breitbart.

There were 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs in 2011, as compared with 323 deaths connected to a rifle, according to FBI records. In 2006, there were 618 killings committed with a hammer or club, and 438 murders with a rifle. Many years, twice as many people were killed with hands and fists than with rifles.

“While the FBI makes is clear that some of the ‘murder by rifle’ numbers could be adjusted up slightly, when you take into account murders with non-categorized types of guns,” wrote Awr Hawkins, continuing that “it does not change the fact that their annual reports consistently show more lives are taken each year with these blunt objects than are taken with Feinstein's dreaded rifle.”

Newsmax

Last edited by Gootzer; 15 Jan 13 at 00:39.. Reason: Put in an Actual Answer
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