The Vietnam Peace
Accords which were signed in Paris on January 27,
1973 ended the direct American involvement in the
war. The war had lasted officially lasted 11 years
becoming America’s longest war.
58,000 Services members were killed and over 153,000
were wounded with 2,338 still listed as MIA. The
first American causality was OSS LTC Peter Dewey,
who was killed on 26 September 1945 well before the
major involvement of American forces. In the last
engagement of the war May 12-15 of 1975, fifteen
servicemen lost their lives though direct enemy
contact and three others listed as MIA were executed
by the Khmer Rouge during the Mayaguez incidence.
A moment of silence and prayer was held for the
fallen and MIA.
3,403,100 personnel served in the South East Asian
Theater of operations.
“While much political hay is made of the war,
factual matters need to be rationalized,” said James
Masters who narrated the observance.
The Soviet Union in essence declared war on the
United States by violating the end of war agreement
regarding the treatment of Berlin resulting in the
Berlin blockade. Later, the Soviets used their
surrogate forces, North Korean and Chinese
Communists to directly engage the United States and
her allies. Vietnam as with Korea should be viewed
within the context of containment wars to contain
the expansion of communism, Masters said.
“With this in mind it is the Soviet Union that no
longer exists and Vietnam is a single nation ruled
by Hanoi, but of late looks to America as its
economic example,” said Masters. “It appears to me
that our service in Vietnam has lead to an America
that is safe from communist threat, for the time
The program ended with some
interesting facts on those whom served in Vietnam:
- 91% of
Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served
- 74% said they
would serve again even knowing the outcome
- There is no
difference in drug usage between Vietnam
Veterans and non-veterans of the same age group
(from a Veterans Administration study)
Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only
1/2 of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been
jailed for crimes. (Westmoreland papers)
- 97% were
discharged under honorable conditions; the same
percentage of honorable discharges as ten years
prior to Vietnam (Westmoreland papers)
- 85% of
Vietnam Veterans made a successful transition to
civilian life. (McCaffrey Papers)
veterans' personal income exceeds that of our
non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.
- And lastly
most Vietnam veterans were drafted.
- 2/3 of the
men who served in Vietnam were volunteers.
- 2/3 of the
men who served in World War II were drafted.
70% of those killed were volunteers. (McCaffrey
For the U.S. --
William P. Rogers, Secretary of State (62 Times)
Republic of Viet-Nam -- Tran Van Lam, Minister for
Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam -- Nguyen Duy Trinh,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Provisional Revolutionary Government of Viet-Nam --
Nguyen Thi Binh, Minister for Foreign Affairs
The first death of an American serviceman in Vietnam
occurred Sept. 26, 1945. OSS Major A. Peter Dewey
was killed in action by the Communist Vietminh near
Air Force Tech Sgt. Richard B Fitzgibbon, Jr.
murdered in Vietnam by a fellow airman on June 8,
1956, has been formally recognized by the Pentagon
as the first American to die in that war.
There is another unique aspect to this story: Marine
Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III -- his son --
was killed in action in Vietnam on Sept. 7, 1965.
The Fitzgibbons are the only father-son honorees on
When Fitzgibbon’s name was added to the Wall before
Memorial Day 1999, the total number of names
memorialized totaled 58,214.
Footnote: The last U.S. serviceman to die in combat
in Vietnam, Lt. Col. William B. Nolde, was killed by
an artillery shell at An Loc, 60 miles northwest of
Saigon, only 11 hours before the truce went into