Vietnam War Casualties

The Entire Vietnam War Casualty Profiles casulties
KIA = Killed in Action
WIA = Wounded in Action
MIA = Missing in Action
CIA = Captured in Action
Notes: - casualties

United States Armed Forces Casualties

According to the last update in 2008 from the National Archives, there were 58,220 U.S. military fatal casualties during the Vietnam War. All their names were honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.

Death by Casualties Type

Among 58,220 U.S. fatal casualties, there were 47,434 hostile deaths and 10,786 non-hostiles.

Casualty Type Number of Records
Killed (Hostile) 38,505
Died Of Wounds (Hostile) 5,242
Died While Missing (Hostile) 3,523
Died While Captured (Hostile) 116
Died Of Other Causes (Non-Hostile) 7,455
Died Of Illness (Non-Hostile) 1,990
Died While Missing (Non-Hostile) 1,353
Total 58,178(1)

Death by Years

Year of Death Number of Records
1956-1962 78
1963 122
1964 216
1965 1,928
1966 6,350
1967 11,363
1968 16,899
1969 11,780
1970 6,173
1971 2,414
1972 759
1973 69
1974 1
1975 62
After 1975 7
Total 58,220


The first American soldier died in the Vietnam War was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, Jr., a U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant. He was not killed in action but murdered by another U.S. airman and later died of his wounds on 8 June, 1956. On October 22, 1957, the U.S. forces suffered their first hostile casualties. Thirteen Americans were wounded in three terrorist bombings. Since then, number of terrorist incidents rose quickly. In the last quarter of 1957, 75 local officers were assassinated and kidnapped.

The U.S. casualties increased proportional to its growing military intervention in Vietnam. 1968 was the year when American troop strength in Vietnam peaked at around 540,000, which also happened to be the deadliest year with 16,899 deaths. The high casualty in 1968 also was caused by the first massive offensive from North Vietnam, widely known as Tet Offensive. In later years of the conflict, after President Nixon began to implement the Vietnamization policy, the number of soldiers decreased gradually and so did the number of deaths.

Charles McMahon and Darwin Lee Judge were the last American soldiers died during the war. The two men, both U.S. Marines, were killed on a rocket attack on April 29, 1975 – one day before the Fall of Saigon and South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, seven more soldiers died by the wounds they had suffered in Vietnam.

Death by Rank

There were 7,878(1) American officers died in Vietnam War, including 1,278 Warrant Officers, 2,981 Lieutenant, 2,045 Captain, 898 Major/Lt Commander, 426 Lt Colonel/Commander, 238 Colonel, and 12 who had reached the rank of general. Major general/Rear Admiral was the highest ranking personnel died in Vietnam. Among five major general’s deaths, there were two served in the United States Army, two in the United States Air Force, and the other one in the United States Marine Corps.

Death by Race

By race, the ratio of men who died was nearly proportional with the ratio of men who served.

White 88.4 85.6 49,830
Black 10.6 12.4 7,243
Other 1.0 2.0 1,147

Other Facts:

Dan Bullock is believed as the youngest Vietnam KIA at 15 years old.
Dwaine McGriff, the oldest person was honored on the Wall, died at 63 years old.
At least 25,000 soldiers who died in Vietnam War were 20 years old or younger.
There were eight women who died in Vietnam, seven of them served in the United States Army and one in the United States Air Force. The oldest woman died was Lt. Colonel Annie Ruth Graham, when she was 52. Annie was also the highest ranking woman died in Vietnam.

1. Statistic numbers as of March 31, 1997.

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