10 Fact About The Vietnam War - History Key

10 Fact About The Vietnam War

1.    A US Prisoner had to do a press conference lying that all the prisoners are treated well. He used the Morse code to tell the truth by blinking “torture”

Jeremiah Andrew Denton, Jr. endured almost eight years of prison during the Vietnam War. He was captured by the Vietnamese after his jet was shot down in 1965. After one year, Denton was forced by his captors to do a press conference answering questions about how well are treated the U.S. Army prisoners. He managed to blink his eyes in Morse code, spelling “torture”. After the War, U.S. Naval Intelligence confirmed that American prisoners were tortured.

2. Vietnam War technically should be called Vietnam Conflict because US never declared war against Vietnam

US Helicopters protecting South Vietnamese troops northwest of Saigon
US Helicopters protecting South Vietnamese troops northwest of Saigon © Horst Faas/CNN.com

When a country is declaring war to another it has to contain a written declaration of war. It is a formal declaration issued by the government. United States was officially only 5 times in War: War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, WW1 and WW2. The Vietnam War among with all the other wars (except the Civil War) were authorized by the American Congress, but never had a war declaration signed by the government.

3. The youngest American victim in the Vietnam War was only 16 years old

Portrait of Dan Bullock
Portrait of P.F.C. Dan Bullock © Official U.S.M.C/Image Source: Wikipedia

Dan Bullock was an American serviceman born in Goldsboro, North Carolina on December 21, 1953. He moved with his sister to their father in Brooklyn after their mother died. D. Bullock wishes were to join the U.S. Marine, becoming a pilot or becoming a policeman. At the age of 14 one of his dreams was fulfilled. Bullock processed through the recruiting station by faking his birth certificate, showing that he was born on December 21, 1949. After his recruitment in the U.S. Marine Corps, he was assigned as a rifleman on May 18, 1969. He was killed on June 7, 1969 by the North Vietnamese Army.


4.    The longest war in the US history is the Vietnam War. It lasted for almost 20 years

Forgetting that the Vietnam War wasn’t technically a war, it is known that Vietnam War was the longest war in the US history. It started in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia on November 1, 1955 and it ended on 30 April, 1975. In 19 years, 5 months, 4 weeks and 1 day is estimated that more than 4 million people lost their lives.

5.    Approximately 125 000 Americans moved to Canada during the warfare to avoid military draft

During the Vietnam War, American draft dodgers and military deserters were seeking refuge in Canada. Canadian government initially refused to admit American immigrants who couldn’t prove that they have been discharged from military. The Canadian government’s position changed in 1968 announcing that if immigration applicants are showing a document which proves a permanent residence in Canada they are not obligated to show their military status. President Carter granted amnesty for 65,000 soldiers in his initial day.

6.    Bleeding was slowed down using superglue on the battlefield

Cyanoacrylates adhesive are known as superglues. It was also used in veterinary for bone recovery before 1970s. However, wounded soldiers used to reduce bleeding by spraying superglue on their wounds. It was a temporary solution, until soldiers could be brought to a hospital. It was never approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for medical usage until 1998.

7.    Mixture of herbicides caused the death of 400,000 people and 500,000 birth malformations

U.S. Army Huey helicopter spraying Agent Orange
U.S. Army Huey helicopter spraying Agent Orange © Huey Defoliation National Archives/Image Source: Wikipedia

Agent Orange is a mixture of two herbicides that can cause critical health consequences for those who come in contact with it. Between 1962 and 1971, U.S. Army sprayed more than 19 million gallons of herbicides over 4.5 million acres of land in Vietnam from 1961 to 1972. It was sprayed from low flying aircrafts. During this time, up to 4 million people were affected and more than 1 million still have illnesses.

8.    “Tiger Force” used to cut ears of its victims to make necklaces

Tiger Force is a nickname of an elite American military unit. According to a newspaper investigation, Tiger Force unit slaughtered civilians in Vietnam War. In May 1967 they were deployed in areas controlled by the North Vietnamese, where they dropped grenades in almost every bunker they found. Their actions led to multiple civilian deaths.

9.    Peter Lemon was decorated with the Medal of Honor

Peter C. Lemon
Army file photo of Peter C. Lemon © US Army/ Image Source: Wikipedia

Peter Lemon was born in Toronto, Canada on June 5, 1950. During the Vietnam War he fought two waves of enemy troops, saved a man’s life by dragging him to safety. He did this while he was high on Marijuana. After his U.S. Army service, he received the highest military award, the Medal of Honor. At age 29 he graduated Colorado State University. He is the author of the book “Beyond the Medal” which have been donated to every high school in the U.S.

10. The total casualties after the Vietnam War reached more than 3 million deaths

In Vietnam War, the number of total deaths varies. The variation is explained by the different time periods when the studies were made. Also some of these studies were not included the casualties from Laos and Cambodia. The latest study, from 2008, suggests that during the Vietnam War, casualties reached almost 4 million deaths. Beside deaths, thousands of people were affected because of the Agent Orange that we mentioned before.

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