Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vietnam generation begins to fade as death rate rises for war's veterans

Forty years ago, Ron Willoughby was death with a telescopic sight as a Marine sniper in Vietnam.
Today, mortality has Willoughby and other Vietnam veterans in its crosshairs.
The generation of an estimated 8 million military service members of the Vietnam era, 1964-1975, is fading.
The number of Vietnam veteran deaths has almost doubled since 2001 and, according Department of Veterans Affairs' projections, will hit 103,890 this year -- approaching 300 a day. That's more than five times the average daily number of U.S. combat deaths during the peak casualty year of the war in 1968.
Willoughby, now 63 and a year older than the national average age of Vietnam vets, said three members of his old unit have died in the past five years, two from cancer and one from a heart attack.
That's why the North Olmsted veteran said the unit reunions have been changed from once every two years to annual affairs.
Time is catching up, and they know it.

PHOTO-Chuck Crow, The Plain Dealer


  1. Welcome home Vietnam Veterans May you get what is due you before the end.

  2. This is sad. I am a Vietnam veteran at the age of 66 and I can attest to the fact that my health has rapidly started down hill about ten years ago. I guess it started showing it's ugly face back in about 1967. Ipray for all my brothers and sisters out there that served in country. God Bless you and Keep You Safe.