Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


This is coolbert:

Article today in the Chicago Tribune about the last three living American veterans from World War One [WW1].

* Frank Buckles - - 106 years of age.

* Harry Landis - - 107 years of age.

* Russell Coffey - - 108 years of age.

[There are three living English veterans and one Canadian from the same conflict.]

Buckles in particular seems to have led a charmed life. During World War Two [WW2] he was a civilian internee of the Japanese. Spent three and one half years in captivity, surviving and being rescued by American paratroop raiders.

“While he was in Manila on business in 1941, the Japanese invaded the Philippines and Buckles was taken prisoner . . . he was held prisoner [as a civilian] for 3 ½ years . . . Buckles was among those rescued . . . by the 11th Airborne Division in February 1945 [Los Banos??].”

Statistics from other American wars of the 20th century are very sobering.

From the Tribune article:

U.S War Veterans. [a veteran is any person serving on active duty during the time of the conflict, not necessarily actually in a war theatre.]

World War One - - 4.7 million veterans. Three surviving. [99.9999361 % passed.]

World War Two - - 16.1 million veterans. 3.2 million surviving. [81 % passed.]

Korean War - - 5.7 million veterans. 3.1 million surviving. [46 % passed.]

Vietnam War - - 8.7 million veterans. 7.3 million surviving. [17 % passed.]

Persian Gulf War [One] - - 2.32 million veterans. 2.26 million surviving. [3 % passed.]



Anonymous sherman made georgia howl said...

"U.S War Veterans. [a veteran is any person serving on active duty during the time of the conflict, not necessarily actually in a war theatre.]"

Wasn't the definition of veteran much narrower through most of America's history, restricted to combat arms or to those who exchanged fire with the enemy? It is seeming strange to identify a 1968 crewman in a North Dakota missile silo or an 1966 aircraft mechanic whose sole overseas posting was at Zaragoza or Bitburg as a Viet-Nam veteran.

Honorable service is to be praised, whatever the MOS of a soldier, sailor or airman; and it can be, without resorting to style and titles inflation or expropriation of another's achievements (CoS Shinseki-beret-Rangers-main army fiasco).

7:23 AM

Blogger Albert said...

Bert says: Vietnam era veteran includes anybody that was on active duty during that conflict, whether or not they were in Vietnam NOT being material.

Combat veteran would be a person of combat arms MOS who actually was in combat.

You could serve in a combat zone and get a stripe to wear for serving in a combat zone, and not even see any combat.

Combat infantrymans badge was solely for those of 11B MOS who had actually been in combat for 24 hours continuous.

It does get complicated.


6:55 PM


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