Korea and Vietnam

What risks did blacks in the military face during the Vietnam War?

During the Vietnam conflict, reports indicated that blacks in the military were more likely to be drafted, sent to Vietnam to serve in high-risk areas, and to be killed or wounded in combat. The loss of blacks during the war amounted to one-fourth of the army casualties for enlisted personnel. This took black leaders’ concerns back to the Selective Service System: some claimed that the system favored drafting blacks and the poor, and that many local draft boards had few black representations or none at all. Protests citing racial overtones spread to the Air Force, the Marine Corps, and naval stations.


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