Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall

Submitted by Bob Ittner

A little history most people will never know.

Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth , Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam .

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam .

31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . I wonder why so many from one school.

8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.

The Marines of Morenci – They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale – LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 – 2,415 casualties were incurred.

For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created.To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created.We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

Please pass this on to those who served during this time, and those who DO Care.

Honoring Veterans

From the Blog Admin:

Please accept my sincerest apologies for not submitting these wonderful photos from Gere Gaige (see below). Gere remembered those soldiers that have died during military service last weekend in honor of Memorial Day 2022. Although we were late in posting the photos, it was a timely and appreciated submission from our longtime pal (and one of the founders along with John McElligott) of the blog. Thank you, Gere for remembering those that made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Midland Water Drinkers will also be recognizing Cpt. John L Barker (RIP) on June 10, 2022 at 12:00PM in Midland. If you are in the area, please join us for the celebration at:

American Legion
501 Veterans Airpark Lane
Midland, TX 79705

Lunch will be provided. All are welcome.

Join us at 12:00PM for food, fellowship and a presentation of military medals to the surviving family of Cpt. Barker in honor of his dedicated service during the Vietnam Conflict. If you need additional information, please contact Dr. John McElligott (

Read more about Cpt. John L Barker here:

Submitted by Gere Gaige

Appropriate honor symbols at our gate… for this important weekend.  Hwy 126N, just north of Gassville, Arkansas.

Here is my wish:
May those of us who do know – continue to honor the warriors who went before us….
…may those of our countrymen who do not know – somehow come to appreciate all that has been done for them with the lives of those who know.

A Tribute to John L Barker (MHS 1964)

June 10, 2022 a special tribute to Cpt John L Barker took place at the American Legion in Midland, Texas. Friends and Family of the late John Barker gathered to celebrate his military career. Lunch was catered by Michael’s Charcoal Grill. Dr. John McElligott, founder of the “What’s in the Water in Midland, Texas” blog presented Becky Dillard Barker (MHS 1964) with her late husband’s military honors. The following article and pictures appeared in the Class of 1964 newsletter:

The Military

Military… join or get drafted or go to college and still get drafted anyway!  Or.. not pass the physical. See the stories that follow from those who made the most of a stent or two in the military.

I spent 7.5 years in the Navy; 3 years 8 months and 2 days with the Marines as a Corpsman. If I could go back in time,  I would have never left the service.  I made E-5,  and was offered a commission to reenlist.


All They Wanted Was “Mom”

Please click below to listen to Il Divo, “Mama”

Written by: John McElligott

I cry every time I picked up a wounded or dying Marine. “Mom” was often the last word they spoke!

I mentioned this in a prior story.  I was talking about the first casualty/mission I ever flew out west of Marble Mountain in Nam. The marine was 18 yrs old and was shot in the head with not a drop of blood on his face and a brand new Seiko watch on his left wrist.   All I could think about was his mother. As I said in my previous story I have never been the same since. I wish I could have talked with her but I did not and maybe that is why I still cry, even now, when I think of that day. 


Rockets Glare

Click below to listen to “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel

By Mike Cornell

High above the rockets glare
The shells do burst their pretty glow
With their sounds my soul is bare
From their beauty their memories grow
With whistles and cracks the shells did fall
All alone, upon the ground
No where to go, no one to call
All alone, upon the ground
All alone, no place to go
Not a soul to share my space 
Upon the ground and laying low
In my arms I buried my face
Without relent, they continued to fall
One after another they shook the ground
No where to go, no one to call
With every one came the sound
Whistles and whines, that pierced the ears
A foreboding sign of other rounds
A time to wonder, a time to fear
And with it came the other sounds
Into the night sky the rockets do glow
To all the world, it is a show
In my mind I will always know
All alone, no where to go