Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Facts about The Wall

I am the proud son of a 3 tour Vietnam Veteran, a Professional Soldier that served his Country from 1957 to 1977.
His first battle was with the Cav in Ia Drang on 14 November 1965, his last tour was at Cu Chi in 1970-71 as a TC on an M-88 Tank Recovery Vehicle. He retired as a Maintenance Warrant, CW2.
He's 72 years old now and looks 85, his health is failing and his memory is starting to slip, but his back is still straight, his eyes still have fire, and I still won't fuck with him.
His wife, my mother, passed this along to me today.
Read it and remember the sacrifices of the Soldiers, their families, and their hometowns.

SOMETHING to think about - Most of the surviving Parents are now deceased. There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010. The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.

Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E - May 25, 1968), then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the earth (numbered 70W - continuing May 25, 1968) and ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war's beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle's open side and contained within the earth itself.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth , Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.

12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam .

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam .

31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers on attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . ( I wonder why so many from one school.)

8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.

The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest . And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam . In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths. ( the Tet Offensive )

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.

For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.


Dennis said...

All I can say is wow. I did pass it along also, I hope you don't mind it was too good not to.

wirecutter said...

I don't mind it at all, I hope everybody passes it on.

Ramon said...

Copying it and sending it alomg. Semper Fi! USMC 1968!

Joe Rose said...

Thanks for this moving reminder. God Bless 'em all and THANKS for your service too.

Where have all the young men gone?

Subvet said...

I had a cousin, Richie Mahaney, he thought the war was wrong. Believed we shouldn't be over there.

But like a lot of us back in the 60's, he'd been raised that you do what those in authority required of you. So when his draft number came up, he left for the Army. Still didn't believe in the war but you do what you gotta do.

Two weeks over in Nam a mortar round fell short, blinding him for life.

Back to the States he went, going through what passed as rehab at the time. Then he went home.

Not too long after that he went to Sunday Mass. As he came out an old woman who knew him came up and asked what had happened. He told her the Cliff Notes version. The red tipped white cane said a lot all by itself.

Her comment? "You deserve what you got, our bishops have said thats an immoral war. You should never have gone there."

Then the bitch walked off.

Ritchie passed away a few years back. I don't think he ever set foot in a church from the day of that conversation till he died. Big surprise.

We'll never adaquately recognize what those who served there went through. Everytime I see someone who identifies himself as a Viet Nam vet I try to tell him "thanks".

Its the very least they deserve.

I'll be passing along your post. Thanks.

drjim said...

Good one, Kenny!
I have a lot of friends who served.
Some came home OK.....
Some came home crippled, in body and/or mind...
Some never came home....
"Some Gave All. ALL Gave Some".
I never served, and it bothers me to this day. No, I didn't have a college deferment....I failed the physical.
After college, I went into Aerospace, and helped design, test, and produce some of the weapons systems our military uses.
I always did 110% of what the job "required" because I knew someday, somewhere, somebody might have to use some of the things I helped with, and I damn well wanted them to be made as good as they good be made.
I thank all our our servicemen and women for doing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

as i read there names i still see the faces. the wall is still a hard place to visit
art.. us army 1972 to 1975

steve tompkins said...

wow! amazing stats.thnak you vets.

Deb said...

Copied it, pasted it in an e-mail and sent it to Dad. He was not in Viet Nam, but Korea, late '50's during so-called "peace time", a Ranger, hanging out on the DMZ with the 7th Cav.

Thank you to all who served and still serve. Thank you to Drjim, as well. You did serve, but in a different capacity. My grandfather did not serve in WWII, he worked in a shipyard building submarines, doing what he could. You both were just as an important part in the supporting the country as those who were using what you both created. Can't have one without the other.

Skip said...

Was an 'advisor' in '64-65.

The big texan fucked us.

Single White Alcoholic said...

Wow, simply amazing. I'll be sending this to friends and family and re-posting someday soon.

I saw an unnerving stat on a show about Nam: the average infantry soldier in World War II experienced 10 days of combat per year. In Vietnam it was 240.

No wonder so many people came back from that awful place messed up.