How Many Vets?

(The following is from an article by Dean Stone, Editor of The Daily Times, as contributed by Marine Don Hellion.)

After peaking in 1980 at nearly 29 million, the nation's population of US military veterans has been declining for 15 years, reaching about 26 million in 1994.

Of the total, 13.5 million were Army veterans, 6.1 million from the Navy, 4 million from the Air Force, 2.1 million from the Marine Corps, and 366,772 from the Coast Guard.

During the first 216 years of our nation, nearly 40 million Americans have worn the nation's uniform during war, with most serving during four wars in the 20th century - the two World Wars, Korea and Vietnam.

More than a million in service did not survive to become veterans. Of the total who died in service, 650,563 were killed in battle and 486,329 died otherwise while 1.4 million received wounds that were not fatal, bringing the casualty total to 2.6 million. The Persian Gulf War accounted for the fewest battle deaths (148) while World War II accounted for the most (292,131) The Civil War was only slightly behind in battle deaths with 214,938.

Of the 26 million veterans in 1994, 2.3 million were receiving compensation for service-related disabilities; 704,785 from the Vietnam War, 691,942 from WWII, 190,531 from the Korean War, and 602 from WWI. One million veterans were patients in hospitals in 1995.

In 1976 the number of female veterans passed the one million mark and by 1995 was 1.2 million, while male veterans totaled 25 million.