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America wars, specifics (part 1)

Veterans’ Voices is directed toward veterans and their families who have given so much to ensure our freedom in this country. This is an area where you may share your experiences, or read of other veterans’ experiences. We thank you for your service, and hope that you know how much you are loved and appreciated.


I have been asked many times about different wars: for example, how many casualties and the amount of time that the wars lasted. I got most of the information at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Fresno and did some other research so I can give you the data requested. I will have to do this in increments due to the fact there is a lot of information and more wars than I was aware of. So here it goes:

The world has known many kinds of war: the Hundred Years’ War and the “Hundred-Hour War,” the Seven Years’ War and the Six-Day War, cold wars, great wars, phony wars and “splendid little wars.”

Whatever anyone wants to call it, the truth is that war is part of humanity. It can be limited or deterred. But it cannot be outlawed like a crime because there’s no consensus on who should be judge, and there’s waning interest in the role of the sheriff. Nor can it be cured like a disease because of the very nature of man, as some of history’s greatest thinkers have concluded, “There is time for war and a time for peace,” Solomon wrote.

America’s generals are seldom so matter-of-fact about war. William Tecumseh Sherman called it “hell.” Robert E Lee said it was “terrible.” Dwight Eisenhower deplored it for “its brutality, its futility, and its stupidity.”

Drawn from various sources, including the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Congressional Budget Office, Department of Defense, Veterans Museum and Memorial Center, Smithsonian Institution and media outlets, the following is not an exhaustive catalog. After all, a CRS index of U.S. military intervention tallies some 330 “notable deployments of U.S. military forces overseas” since 1798. This list does not include, for instance, myriad limited military engagements, blockades, humanitarian airdrops, rescue operations, raids, and drone strikes. But by highlighting the vial statistics of our most consequential and/or costly military engagements, it traces war’s impact on America.


U.S. Military Deaths: 4,435, U.S. Wounded: 6,188, Costs $101 million

BARBARY WARS: 1801-1805 AND 1815

U.S. Military Deaths: 35, U.S. Wounded: 64

WAR OF 1812, 1812-1815

U.S. Military Deaths: 2,260, U.S. Wounded: 4,505, Total serving: 286.730, Costs $90 million.

INDIAN WARS: 1813-1838 AND 1866-1890

U.S. Military Deaths: 1,000, Total serving: 106,000

MEXICAN WAR: 1846-1848

U.S. Military Deaths: 13,283 (1,733 battle deaths), U.S. Wounded: 4,152, Total serving:78,718, Costs $71 million.

CIVIL WAR: 1861-1865

Union Military Deaths: 364,511, (140,414 battle deaths), Union Wounded: 281,881, Confederate Military Deaths: 133,821, Union Costs: $3.18 billion, Total serving 2,213,363 Union, 1,082,119 Confederate.


U.S. Military Deaths: 2,446 (385 battle deaths), U.S. Wounded: 1,662, Costs $283 million, total serving: 306,760.

PHILIPPINES: 1899-1901

U.S. Military Deaths: 4,200, U.S. Wounded: 2,800, Total serving: 120,000.

MEXICO: 1914-1919

U.S. Military Deaths: 21, U.S. Civilian deaths: 35, U.S. forces deployed: 6,000

WORLD WAR 1, 1917-1918

U.S. Military Deaths: 116,516 (53,402 battle deaths), U.S. Wounded 204,002, total serving 4.73 million, Cost: $20 Billion.

WORLD WAR 2: 1941-1945

U.S. Military Deaths: 405,399 (291,557 battle deaths), U.S. Wounded: 670,846, total serving 16.11 million, Cost: $296 billion, the equivalent of $4.3 trillion today.

In 1941, Congress declared war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and then on Germany and Italy after their declarations of war against the United States. In 1942, Congress declared war on Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania after they declared war on the United States.

COLD WAR 1947-1991

Total serving 35 million, Cost $4.65 trillion


U.S. Military deaths: 31, Peak U.S troop level 32,900. Cost: $224 million ($2.2 billion today)

KOREAN WAR 1950-1953

U.S. Military Deaths: 36,574 (33,739 battle deaths), U.S. Wounded: 103.284, Total serving 1,789,000, Cost $30 billion.

The war’s economic cost as a percentage of total military deaths underscore why The New York Times called Korea “World War 2.5.”

LEBANON 1982-1984

U.S. Military Deaths: 265, U.S. Wounded: 177, Total deployed ashore: 1,800.


U.S Military Deaths: 19 (18 battle deaths), U.S. Wounded: 116, Total deployed 5,000.

PERSIAN GULF: 1987-1988

An Iran-Iraq War spilled into the Persian Gulf; the two belligerents began attacking commercial shipping. Iranian fighters strafed Kuwaiti tankers. Iran boarded a U.S. civilian ship. An Iraqi warplane attacked USS Stark, killing 37 sailors. To protect Kuwaiti vessels from the maelstrom, the United States began reflagging and escorting Kuwaiti ships. In April 1988, USS Samuel B. Roberts struck an Iranian mine northeast of Qatar. The attack prompted Reagan to order Operation Praying Mantis. “By the end of the operation, U.S. air and surface units had sunk or severely damaged half of Iran’s operational fleet,” a Navy report details.

Any questions? Email me at

• • •

— Royal D. Goodman, U.S. Army/Vietnam,

1st Cav / 9th Infantry

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