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Canadians in Vietnam

10 June 2005
16 September 2008 updated.
11 April 2011 Under review and being updated
10 May 2012 Under review

A great example of how incomplete this site is, would be this section here.

In the almost twenty years I have been aware that Canadians fought with U.S. Forces in Vietnam I have seen numbers bantered about ranging from 5,000 to as high as 60,000.  As I ponder the words I write here, I honestly do not know what the answer is.  Together, as this page grows, we can examine together what facts we can find.

Years ago, VVIC Member Richard Shand made a serious attempt to document this number.   His work can be found at http://www.mystae.com/reflections/vietnam/canada.html

Another article by Fred Gaffen (Unknown Warriors),  Chief Historian at the Canadian war museum in Ottawa is at
http://www.vwam.com/vets/allies/canadians.html

Wikipedia - Canada and the Vietnam War
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_and_the_vietnam_war


Who am I to comment on this issue?

I was the President of the VVIC for almost twenty years.

Truth be known, as an American kid in Vietnam back in 66-67, I can not remember ever meeting a Canadian in Vietnam, or for that matter at anytime during my enlistment in the Marine Corps.   I remember a Marine from Lebanon but everyone else along the way were pretty much working class, or poor, Americans.

When Canada opened its doors for me in the early 1980's I thought I was the only Vietnam Veteran up here.  Sure sounds strange to me now, but back then it was my reality.  And it was a lonely one too.

When Mark Klindt (U.S. Army) ran an ad in the Vancouver paper back in early 1986 that led to he and I founding this group I was astounded to learn that there was a sizable number of Canadian citizen Vietnam Veterans.   Out of the blue we were suddenly surrounded by people just like ourselves.  There was a instant bond that many of us hadn't felt since those days in Southeast Asia.  The things that worried me, worried them.  Better yet, the things that pissed me off, pissed them off generally speaking.

And the numbers grew from there.

So how many Canadians actually served in Vietnam?

The official response is: "We do not know."

Whatever the number though, it is significant.

And the people of the United States owe a debt of gratitude to these Canadian men and women.

As President of the group, I will sign off on the numbers of almost 400 in British Columbia and nearly 2,000 across Canada presently.

Other than that, it is not, in my opinion, unreasonable to conclude that some 15,000 - 25,000 Canadian citizens laid it all on the line for the U.S.  But that is just a guess.  There is outreach work yet to be done.

I hope to expand this article at some point.

Woody
Reviewed 2012.07.13 Cali Center

 

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