Vietnam veteran

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Vietnam Era veteran is a phrase used to describe someone who served in the armed forces of participating countries during the Vietnam War. The term has been used to describe veterans who were in the armed forces of South Vietnam, the United States armed forces, and countries allied to them, whether or not they were actually stationed in Vietnam during their service. However, the more common usage distinguishes between those who served "in country" and those who did not actually serve in Vietnam by referring to the "in country" veterans as "Vietnam veterans" and the others as "Vietnam era veterans". The U.S. government officially refers to all as "Vietnam era veterans".[1]

In the English-speaking world, the term "Vietnam veteran" is not usually used in relation to members of the communist People's Army of Vietnam or the National Liberation Front.


South Vietnamese veterans

Although exact numbers are difficult to ascertain, it is safe to say that several million people served in the South Vietnamese armed forces, the vast majority of them in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)—between 1956 and 1975. It is known that during 1969–1971, there were about 22,000 ARVN combat deaths per year and the army reached a peak strength of about one million soldiers during 1972. The official number of anti-communist Vietnamese personnel killed in action was 220,357.

Following the communist victory on April 30, 1975, South Vietnamese veterans were rounded up and sent to reeducation camps, essentially forced labor camps in desolate areas. They were detained without trial for up to decades at a time. After being released, they and their children faced significant discrimination from the communist government. A significant proportion of the surviving South Vietnamese veterans left Vietnam for Western countries, either as boat people or through the Humanitarian Operation (HO).

United States veterans

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) states, "A Vietnam era veteran is a person who

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