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Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies

Latinos in the Vietnam War and Latinos in the Salinas Valley

Isabel Garcia (2014); Mentor(s): Tomas Summers Sandoval

Abstract: Historically, there exists a debate around the Vietnam War and the initiation of the selective service, and/or the military mandatory draft. These arguments arise from the large enlistment of minority populations into military service during the time of war. This research seeks to demonstrate the significant impact of the Latino population on the war and the impact of the war on the Latino community. More often than not the participation of Latinos is widely invisible and unknown because of the lack of significant statistical data on military participation. This research focuses on the participation of Spanish Surname (SSN) individuals in the Vietnam War. Using the 1970 U.S. Census and the U.S. Military Records of Vietnam Causalities, we calculated and analyzed the Spanish Surname (SSN) Vietnam Casualties. The focus is on the five Southwestern states, which include California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. We found that Latinos were overrepresented in their share of the deaths from the Vietnam War, when compared to their share of the total populations of those states. The data supports the work of others, but compliments it because it derives these results using official casualty data and a more expansive Spanish Surname list.
Funding Provided by: Henry Crown and Company ¬Crown Family Foundation