Vietnam Veteran Fact Sheet

"Vietnam Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered national veterans’ service organization dedicated to serving veterans of the Vietnam War and their families. Its members served in the American military during the two decades of the Vietnam era, 1961-1975.

No ticker-tape parades greeted those men and women who returned from the war. No handshakes, no thank-yous. So they turned to each other and formed Vietnam Veterans of America. But even as they banded together and formed the bonds that would help them survive the peace, they made a vow: Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.

As the organization developed and took on a shape, a national magazine emerged. The VVA Veteran became the go-to source for issues relevant to Vietnam veterans—issues including Agent Orange, the fate of American POWs, PTSD, employment issues, veterans incarcerated, minority affairs, and health issues related to aging and as a result of their military service. It became an important source for readers and researchers seeking the history and literature of the Vietnam era.

While some VVA members are still raising children, others are enjoying the leisure activities of retirement. Having endured the difficulties of re-merging with American culture after the war, the Vietnam generation is now preeminent in American society. They hold positions of authority in every profession and in every walk of life. They’re found in every boardroom, every business venture, in the halls of Congress, and in our courthouses. They make our art and write our books. They staff our hospitals, run our schools, and raise our crops.

True to its vow, VVA and The VVA Veteran take a keen interest in the veterans of other conflicts, both older veterans and the young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Articles address their concerns and problems, such as chemical exposure, PTSD, readjustment, education and training, and health—the same issues that for so many years troubled Vietnam veterans. As VVA members age, the magazine also has taken on the issues of their spouses, children, and grandchildren.

The VVA Veteran is an important source for literature, history, politics, and advocacy regarding the Vietnam generation. Because of that, its subscription base has grown beyond the VVA membership to include many researchers, libraries, schools, other institutions, and all members of Congress. There are, in fact, few places that offer so many voices from that era—voices both famous and unknown. (VVA Media Kit Introduction)

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During the period from August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975 (U.S. DVA) a total of 9.2 million soldiers (i.e., Vietnam veterans) served on active duty with more than 2,590,000 who served in the combat zone (Pentagram, June, 1993).  Of the nearly 2.6 million soldiers who served in the combat zone 58,184+ died in the combat zone or from wound suffered therein (DoD, 1997).  The U.S. DVA indicates a total of 109,000  died who served during the Vietnam Era (DVA, 1999).  Of the 9.2 million soldiers who served 8,133,000 are still alive (DVA, 1999).

According to the Office of Of Program Data and Analysis (2000) in 1998 125,275 Vietnam veterans were hospitalized in a VA facility 206,763 times.  In that same period 989,833 Vietnam veterans visited VA clinics 12,704,963 times.  Again, during that same period 991,672 Vietnam Era veterans received some type of VA health care.

The Office Of Program Data and Analysis (2000) reported 737,397 Vietnam veterans received disability compensation, 112,207 family members of dead Vietnam veterans received survivor benefits, and 102,088 veterans received VA pensions for non-service disabilities.

"Agent Orange: Statistical Update" (VA, 2000) 297,194 Vietnam veterans took exams under Agent Orange Registry (2000).  99,226 Vietnam veterans filed claims during the reporting period alleging Agent Orange affected their health.  The VA provided disability compensation to 7,520 Vietnam veterans for Agent Orange related causes.

In 2012 less than 80 percent of all veteran used the VA.  Yet, Vietnam veterans and in some cases their children and grandchildren are facing a myriad of horrific life and health issues such as: incarceration, homelessness, issues associated with Agent Orange, Hepatitis C, heart disease, diabetes, post traumatic stress issues, and more. Combining that with the Gulf War, Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan veterans are facing significantly higher rates of PTSD, traumatic brain injury either concussive injury or head/brain wounds, traumatic eye injuries, physical injuries, poly-traumas, Gulf War Syndrome/Illness (identified, but more study needed).   

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