State Casualty Rates During the Vietnam War

Quote of the Day

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived.

— George S. Patton


Introduction

Figure 1: Ten States with the Highest Military Death Rates During the Vietnam War.

Figure 1: Ten States with the Highest Military Death Rates During the Vietnam War. The population basis was 1975.

My first engineering manager was named Marl Godfrey. He was an excellent manager who also had keen insights into the human condition. These insights made quite an impression on my 22-year old self – I actually kept a notebook of his comments. Some of his most insightful comments were about the US military and the Vietnam War. Marl had grown up in Oklahoma and he had served in Vietnam. He once commented that Oklahoma had very aggressive draft boards, which resulted in Oklahoma having a relatively high death rate during the conflict. I was reminded of this statement when I recently reviewed my quote database. I thought that I should be able to determine how death rates varied by state during the Vietnam War, which is the subject of this post.

Figure 1 shows my results. I determined the rate based on the state populations during 1975, which was the year the war ended. Marl Godfrey was correct – Oklahoma had a very high death rate during the Vietnam War. I should mention that the rate ranking varies depending on the year from which the state population data was taken.

Figure 2 shows a graphic with all the state data plus Washington DC and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa. The range of rates is startling – Guam, in particular, paid a heavy price.

Figure 2: US Military Death Rates During Vietnam.

Figure 2: US Military Death Rates By State During Vietnam.

The US Army bore the brunt of the US deaths during the Vietnam War  (Figure 3).

Figure 3: US Military Death Percentages by Service.

Figure 3: US Military Death Percentages by Service.

For those who are interested, my Excel workbook is located here. The raw data came from this website.

 
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