Infantry in Vietnam was a Higher Percentage of Draftees
by Bryan Ketter
The Vietnam draft numbers are a little misleading, because 90% of the Army infantry consisted of draftees by '69.
Thank you for joining our conversation to help clear up some popular misconceptions about U.S. involvement in Vietnam, known in the U.S. as "the Vietnam war."
I wonder if you would share with us the source of your information?
We were able to find an LA Times - Washington Post Service article published in May of 1970 which indicated that, according to the most recent Pentagon statistics (at that time), roughly 40% of Army enlisted strength in Vietnam was made up of two-year draftees (as opposed to 36.4% of Army enlisted strength worldwide). It then went on to say that partly because those who volunteered for the Army got first choice of assignments and specialties, draftees did end up constituting a majority of men assigned to army infantry (although it did not give a percentage), and that as a result, draftees at that time accounted for roughly 52% of the Army's Vietnam casualties.
We also found several places that quoted the statistic that roughly 88% of infantry riflemen in Vietnam were draftees, but none cited the source of their information, so we have no way to know if those are reliable numbers.
Maybe some of our other readers who are Vietnam veterans could help us out with this?
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