Memorandum: Accelerated Mortality Rates of Vietnam Veterans

July 1, 1999


During the early 1980s, while first living in Franklin County, Massachusetts, I became active with other Vietnam veterans in response to the myriad physical, psychological, and social problems we seemed to be experiencing. I was active in a local Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) chapter, and subsequently became director of the state-funded Western Massachusetts Agent Orange Information Project, and later, executive director of a veterans outreach center.

Through numerous conversations and formal interviews with hundreds of veterans I began to establish an empirical substantiation of the syndrome of problems that certainly is one of the tragic legacies of the Vietnam War (i.e., the war against the Vietnamese which the Vietnamese call "the American War"). Grasping the depth of the prevailing sense of shame, malaise, and deteriorating physical and mental health, I began to understand more deeply both the burden and incredible potential wisdom of the war, not just for veterans, but for the entire American society. Both the syndrome known as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), often delayed for a decade or more enabling the psyche time to integrate the horrible realities that the Vietnam experience possesses for many, and exposure to the most intensive application of chemical warfare in history by the Pentagon (in cahoots with seven chemical companies, including Monsanto and Dow), directly contributed to a myriad of symptoms, physical, emotional, and psychic. A pattern of extraordinary sickness and depression for this age group of young males (age 30-45 in 1984-85) is believed unprecedented in the United States.

Nineteen million gallons of Agents Orange, Blue, White, and Purple were sprayed over an area the size of Rhode Island and Massachusetts combined (over 6 million acres), applied up to 14 times the recommended domestic agricultural application rate. Subsequently, these chemicals have been banned in the U.S. due to their intense toxicity, being considered, perhaps, the most potent cancer-causing substance ever studied by the Environmental Protection Agency. It should be noted that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, based on studies conducted by the National Academy of Sciences ‘ Institute of Medicine, now presumes the following conditions as service-connected for Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides:


  • Chloracne
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Respiratory cancers (including cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea and bronchus)
  • Prostate cancer
  • Peripheral neuropathy (acute or subacute)
  • Spina bifida in children of Vietnam veterans

Mortality Rates for Vietnam Veterans

There have been a number of representations and claims over the years that more Vietnam veterans have died from suicide since returning from the war than the 58,000-plus who died in the war. There is no certain way for determining precise data on veterans’ suicides. My involvement with many physically and mentally troubled veterans, and search of "scientific" data about the subject of mortality rates of Vietnam veterans, produced the following information by mid-1986.


When first conversing with local veterans in rural Franklin County, Massachusetts in mid-1983, they informed me that there had been four suicides of local Vietnam veterans between 1981 and June 1983.

Phil Girard, in 1982 the Senior Vice President, Agent Orange Victims International, reported at a public meeting at Greenfield, Massachusetts Community College (April 17) that their organizational research indicated that "from the end of the war to 1981 there have been 109,000 veterans who have died."

An unpublished manuscript, Vietnam Veterans, by Tom Williams, University of Denver School of Professional Psychology, April 1979, concluded that "More Vietnam veterans have died since the war by their own hand than were actually killed in Vietnam."

Testimony presented to the Massachusetts Commission on the Concerns of Vietnam veterans in Greenfield, Massachusetts on May 4, 1982, declared that "Vietnam veterans have nationally averaged 28 suicides a day since 1975, amounting to over 70,000."

"Suicide rates 33% higher than the national average rate" were reported in The Forgotten Warrior Project by John P. Wilson, Cleveland State University, 1978. This definitive study was originally titled, Identity, Ideology and Crisis: The Vietnam Veteran in Transition.

A classified VA memo dated 6/30/82 identified a total of approximately 300,000 deaths occurring among Vietnam-era veterans from 1965-1981 calculated by adding together deaths in-service with an actuarial estimate of the number of Vietnam-era veterans who have died since returning to civilian life, a much higher figure than estimated by the VA in previous reports. Research conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control in the early 1980s had found a number of illnesses and suicides contributing to elevated death rates for Vietnam veterans than for non-veterans in the same age group.

An alarming disparity in official VA figures reporting a dramatic decrease in the estimated number of Vietnam Era Veterans in Civilian Life from September 30, 1981 to March 31, 1983, reveals a loss of 793,000 Vietnam-era veterans in that 18-month period. The disparity was never explained. I suggest four possible explanations: (1) changed, inconsistent, and/or mistaken reporting and estimation procedures; (2) a large emigration of Vietnam-era veterans out of the U.S.; (3) a high mortality rate for Vietnam-era veterans; or (4) a combination of any and/or all of the above explanations.

On Monday, January 28, 1985, the Massachusetts Agent Orange Program of the State Office of Commissioner of Veterans’ Services released results of its study, Mortality Among Vietnam Veterans in Massachusetts, 1972-1983. The one-year study revealed that deaths due to suicides and motor vehicle accidents, along with kidney cancer, were "significantly elevated" among Vietnam veterans compared to non-veteran Massachusetts males for the study period 1972-1983.

A comprehensive research study by the University of California at San Francisco published in the March 6, 1986 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, titled "Delayed Effects of the Military Draft on Mortality," disclosed that Vietnam veterans were 86% more likely than non-veterans to die of suicide in the years after the war, and 53% more likely to die in traffic accidents. The researchers claim that this study of California and Pennsylvania men is the first to show a cause-and-effect relationship between military service during the Vietnam War and an unusual risk of suicide.

From Summer 1983 through Summer 1985 there were seven known additional suicides of Vietnam veterans in the Franklin-Hampshire County area of Massachusetts. Because one’s veteran status is often not known at time of death, whether by suicide or other cause, and because suicides are often masked under causes listed as single-car accidents, drug or alcohol overdose, etc., actual deaths by suicide remain unknown. Other veterans whom I knew in the 1982-1985 time period died of alcohol and drug abuse.

A November 1, 1984 U.S. House Report 98-1167, Diversion of Funds from Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Counseling Program, by the Committee on Government Operations, concluded that "the suicide rate among Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD is high . . . not because of massive underlying neuroses, but as a result of the harsh treatment they received in Vietnam, and experiences upon returning to the U.S." Dr. Arnold, Chief of Psychiatry at the VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona at the time, and an acknowledged expert on PTSD, explained to the Committee that the VA’s most rece
nt statistics indicate that while Vietnam veterans make up only about 14% of the veterans they treat, Vietnam veterans constitute 30% of the suicides of all veterans treated by the VA, over-contributing substantially to the total number of suicides of patients who are treated by the VA.


There is no certain way of knowing how many Vietnam veterans have died through suicide, motor vehicle "accidents," or illnesses. The available evidence, both anecdotal and scientific, however, suggests elevated mortality rates from suicides, motor vehicle accidents, and certain cancers for Vietnam veterans. In some cases the data suggests mortality rates are "significantly elevated."


  1. Posted February 28, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Hey there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I’ll definitely digg it
    and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.

  2. Posted February 28, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Vielen Dannk für diie verheißungs Dokument.Es war in der Tat
    ein Freizeitkonto ist. Schauenn fortgeschritten eit angenehm von Ihjen hinzugefügt!
    Allerdings Wie kann kommunizieren wir?

  3. a
    Posted March 2, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Article writing is also a excitement, if you know
    after that you can write otherwise it is difficult to write.

  4. Posted March 2, 2019 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi there, You have done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally recommend
    to my friends. I’m sure they will be benefited from this website.

  5. a
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    It’s enormous that you are getting thoughts from this paragraph as well as from
    our discussion made at this time.

  6. Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Big selection of Nokia, Samsung, LG, Motorola,
    HTC, Palm, Sony Ericsson, iPhone and BlackBerry accessories are available on-line at a nominal costs towards the
    performance they supply.

  7. Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    All of our air con condensate drains are piped with a
    particular lure that’s designed to detect blockages in the drain line.

  8. Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Job Description: I want two rest room walls removed.

  9. Posted March 6, 2019 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    Yes! Finally something about sneakers.sneakers sale.

  10. Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    ACarTitleLoan: Funding title loans online since 1994.

  11. Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    Toronto residents can get 8 web plans from Bell.

  12. Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    This is the perfect webpage for anyone who wishes to understand this topic.
    You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject that has been discussed for a long time.
    Excellent stuff, just excellent!

  13. Posted March 8, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend
    to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this web site.

  14. Posted March 10, 2019 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I pay a quick visit everyday some sites and information sites to read
    posts, except this webpage presents feature based content.

  15. Posted March 11, 2019 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    That way, you can just download tracks that you like.

  16. Posted March 11, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I went over this website and I conceive you have a lot of wonderful info, saved to my bookmarks (:.

  17. Posted March 12, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Each locksmith wears an organization ID.

  18. Posted March 13, 2019 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    Aw, this was an incredibly ցood post. Spending ѕome tie and actual efvfort too produce а very ɡood article?
    Ƅut what can I say? I procrastinate a lot and don’t
    manage to ցet anything done.

  19. Posted March 13, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    St Patrick’s Day parade at Trafalgar Square in London.

  20. Posted March 14, 2019 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    What’s up Dear, are you truly visiting this website on a regular basis,
    if so after that you will without doubt take good know-how.

  21. Posted March 14, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    The only caveat I would add could be to not depend on solely SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION to drive site visitors,
    there are plenty of other sources of visitors which are resistant to Google updates.

  22. a
    Posted March 16, 2019 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    This paragraph will help the internet viewers for
    building up new web site or even a blog from start to end.

  23. Posted March 16, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Hence we offer each companies to our purchasers.

  24. Posted March 16, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Mit firma har brugt Mr.Carfix til aflevering af firmabiler 7 gange nu.
    Dejligt nemt og funktionelt. Mvh Hans

  25. Posted March 16, 2019 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Usually I do not read post on blogs, but I would like to say that
    this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do so!
    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very great article.

  26. a
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    Piece of writing writing is also a excitement, if you be
    familiar with then you can write otherwise it
    is complex to write.

  27. Posted March 17, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink




    大阪 デリ 素人 ロリ 未経験 女子大生 専門店 裏垢

  28. Posted March 17, 2019 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any
    issues of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My website has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it seems a lot
    of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement.
    Do you know any methods to help prevent content from being
    ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  29. a
    Posted March 19, 2019 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively useful and it
    has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid different users
    like its aided me. Good job.

  30. Posted March 19, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    It’s fantastic that you are getting ideas from this post as well as from our argument made at
    this place.

  31. Posted March 19, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    We’re chartered by the Conseil des Ventes Volontaires.

  32. Posted March 19, 2019 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Fortress Biotech, Inc.

  33. Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Hire a compny or freelancer which is a tiny bit well-known rather than to expensive and you will succeed.
    This is because when a website is inside the first page or initial few pages of your search engine’s results pages, this means
    that your website is trusted, which translates to your website being of quality content,
    good rapport, and will therefore be visited or viewed.
    And there tend to be more chances of enhancing the sale of your respective company’s products.

  34. Posted March 22, 2019 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    That is very attention-grabbing, You are an overly professional blogger.

    I’ve joined your feed and look forward to searching for extra of your
    fantastic post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

6 Trackbacks

  1. By A on February 27, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    blog topic

  2. By Diadora womens clothes shopping,diadora clothes online,online shopping clothes shopping,cheap clothes diadora,ladies clothes diadora shopping,buy diadora clothes shops,copafootball ladies clothes shops,clothes copafootball sale,buy trendy copafootball clothes,copafootball clothes for men,buy summer copafootball clothes for men,cheap copafootball clothes online,copafootball clothes,buy copafootball clothes,order dickies clothes online,buy cute dickies clothes for women,fashion dickies clothes for ladies,cheap ladies dickies clothes shopping,designer womens dickies clothes,shopping dickies stylish clothes for women,womens clothes dickies shop,dickies clearance clothes,buy elka womens clothes online,elka summer clothes shopping,fashion elka clothes,elka clothes sale,buy elka clothes online,elka clothes shop,designer elka clothes,ellesse cheap womens clothes shopping,ellesse womens clothes shops,ellesse fashion clothes for women,online shopping sites for ellesse clothes,cheap fashion ellesse clothes shopping,casual ellesse clothes for women,buy farah clothes,farah stylish clothes shopping,farah clothes for big men,online farah clothes shops,farah clothes shopping,farah clothes online shopping,farah cheap summer clothes,discount designer happy socks,buy womens stylish happy socks,ladies happy socks shopping,buy ladies happy socks online,cheap online happy socks shopping,womens happy socks shopping online,shop for womens happy socks,herschel clothes shopping online uk,discount online herschel clothes shopping,herschel clothes and fashion,herschel female clothes shops,buy cheap herschel clothes online,clothes clothes,online shopping websites for herschel clothes,best deals on womens herschel clothes,herschel fall clothes for womens on sale,online herschel clothes shopping australia,cute invicta clothes shopping,invicta inexpensive dress clothes,invicta winter clothes shopping,female invicta clothes online shopping,buy invicta ladies clothes,to clothes shop,shopping ladies invicta clothes,order invicta womens clothes online,luke 1977 clothes online shop,luke 1977 clothes shipping,luke 1977 clothes,luke 1977 clothes shopping online,fashionable luke 1977 clothes shopping,in luke 1977 fashion clothes,luke 1977 clothes bargains online,luke 1977 fashion clothes for sale online,male fashion luke 1977 clothes,luke 1977 clothes for online shopping,lyle and scott women and clothes,outfit women's lyle and scott clothes,lyle and scott fashion designer clothes shopping,shop with lyle and scott clothes,fast shipping lyle and scott clothes,buy lyle and scott casual clothes for men,the lyle and scott clothes shop,find lyle and scott clothes,cloth and clothes,lyle and scott clothes women wear shopping,lyle and scott clothes fashion women,shop cheap clothes online,buy mens lyle and scott clothes,lyle and scott clothes for all,marshall artist clothes shop names,shopping online marshall artist clothes shipping,best marshall artist clothes for men,cheap marshall artist clothes,buy petite marshall artist clothes,marshall artist clothes fashion for men shopping,shops with marshall artist clothes,all marshall artist clothes shops,terraces dog's cute clothes for men,cheap terraces dog's men clothes shopping,designer men terraces dog's clothes,buy stylish terraces dog's clothes for men,men terraces dog's clothes shop,buy terraces dog's men clothes online,cheap man terraces dog's clothes,terraces dog's man clothes shops,terraces dog's casual clothes for men shopping,buy terraces dog's men clothes,terraces dog's clothes for big men,men's online terraces dog's clothes shops,men terraces dog's clothes shopping,man clothes online shopping,three stroke male clothes shopping online,buy men three stroke clothes,three stroke fall clothes for men shopping,buy men stylish three stroke clothes,buy three stroke men clothes online,three stroke men shirts clothes online,shop for three stroke men clothes,male three stroke clothes shops,best deals on three stroke men clothes,three stroke fall clothes for men on sale,wrangler male clothes online shopping,shopping wrangler men clothes,order wrangler men clothes online,wrangler men shirts clothes stores,wrangler men summer clothes shopping,wrangler cool men clothes shopping online,men clothes wrangler for sale online,men wrangler clothes online shop,fashionable wrangler men clothes,men and wrangler clothes,outfit men's wrangler clothes,wrangler clothes men wear shopping,wrangler clothes fashion men,wrangler cheap men shirts clothes,wrangler clothes fashion for men,free wrangler man clothes,cheap wrangler man clothes shopping online,wrangler man clothes shops,plus size copafootball clothing shopping,online shopping copafootball clothing stores,copafootball clothing stores,copafootball clothing shopping online,shopping mens clothing copafootball,copafootball clothing shopping,copafootball clothing shopping sites,copafootball men's clothing online stores,plus size copafootball clothing stores,diadora clothing catalogs,buy diadora teen clothing,online diadora clothing boutiques,diadora clothing brand,cheap diadora clothing stores,plus size diadora clothing buy online,online shopping diadora womens clothing,discount diadora womens clothing,boutique diadora clothing,diadora ladies clothing stores,diadora discount clothing,buy diadora clothings,diadora clothing sales,buy diadora female clothing,dickies tall clothing shopping,dickies teen clothing stores,shop dickies womens clothing,buy unique dickies clothing,ladies plus size dickies clothing shopping,buy trendy womens dickies clothing,female dickies clothing stores,best online dickies clothing stores,discount dickies clothing shopping online,apparel dickies clothing,buy womens dickies clothing online,designer elka clothing online,women's elka clothing boutiques,elka fashion clothing stores,buy large size elka clothing,shop womens elka clothing online,elka cute clothing stores,women's elka clothing sales shopping online,elka casual clothing shopping,discount elka clothing stores,large size elka womens clothing shopping,elka clothing shopping websites,buy discount womens ellesse clothing online,ellesse clothing sales online,all ellesse clothing,online ellesse female clothing stores,brand ellesse clothing,plus size womens ellesse clothing to buy,ellesse women's clothing online shopping sales,ellesse tall womens clothing shopping,buy cheap ellesse clothing websites,ellesse thermal clothing shopping,ellesse wholesale clothing,women's ellesse clothing websites,farah cheap junior clothing shopping,cheap farah clothing shopping online,wholesale plus size farah clothing,farah clothing online stores,and farah men's clothing,buy farah juniors clothing,cheap online farah clothing stores,inexpensive farah clothing online,cheap farah clothing shopping sites,farah clothing shopping,farah clothing sites,buy farah young men clothing,felpe vintage summer clothing shopping,online shopping sites for felpe vintage women's clothing,wholesale felpe vintage fashion clothing,plus size womens felpe vintage clothing stores,buy latest fashion felpe vintage women's clothing,affordable felpe vintage women's clothing shopping,discount felpe vintage clothing shopping websites,felpe vintage junior clothing stores,misses felpe vintage clothing,felpe vintage womens clothing outfits,affordable felpe vintage women's clothing buy online,new fashion women's felpe vintage clothing,felpe vintage clothing buy online,women's happy socks shopping online,buy online womens happy socks red,vintage blue happy socks,womens fashion happy socks shopping,junior happy socks stores online,shopping children's happy socks,buy discount ladies happy socks,fashion and happy socks,buy cheap happy socks,large womens herschel clothing shopping,shopping herschel formal mens clothing,herschel men clothing shopping online,herschel men clothing stores,man's herschel clothing online stores,online shopping herschel men clothing,buy herschel discount men clothing,herschel men clothing stores,herschel male clothing shopping,shop herschel men clothing,herschel men plus size clothing to buy,trendy herschel men clothing shopping,trendy invicta clothing stores,for women invicta clothing,women's fashion invicta clothing shopping online,hip hop invicta clothing shopping,invicta women's clothing lines,top invicta clothing stores,luke 1977 clothing and apparel shopping,online shops for luke 1977 mens clothing,luke 1977 clothing outlet stores,buy luke 1977 punk clothing,discount luke 1977 mens clothing stores,discount luke 1977 clothing stores online,luke 1977 man's clothing stores,luke 1977 clothing apparel shopping,top mens luke 1977 clothing shopping,luke 1977 garment clothing,luke 1977 clothing outlets,lyle and scott women's clothing and fashion,lyle and scott clothing shopping,women's lyle and scott clothing on February 28, 2019 at 2:05 am’s_subsequent_conquest_will_probably_be_apparel

    Memorandum: Accelerated Mortality Rates of Vietnam Veterans | S. Brian Willson

  3. By enterprise vps on March 1, 2019 at 1:24 am

    blog which content include Bandwagonhost

    Memorandum: Accelerated Mortality Rates of Vietnam Veterans | S. Brian Willson

  4. By convert pdf to word convert pdf to word on March 12, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    Transformare word in pdf

    Memorandum: Accelerated Mortality Rates of Vietnam Veterans | S. Brian Willson

  5. By Qiu Qiu Online on March 17, 2019 at 6:52 am

    Qiu Qiu Online

    Memorandum: Accelerated Mortality Rates of Vietnam Veterans | S. Brian Willson

  6. By A on March 23, 2019 at 5:46 am


    blog topic

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *


Real Time Web Analytics