Historical Perspective: Oregonians Who Died in War, By the Numbers

Oregon Service in U.S. Military
(By Major War or Conflict)*

AMERICAN CIVIL WAR (1861-1865)

U.S. Total:
2,100,000 served
411,000 died

Oregonians:
1,812 served
48 died

SPANISH/AMERICAN WAR (1898)

U.S. Total:
280,000 served
2,446 died

Oregonians:
1,020 served
none died

PHILIPPINE/AMERICAN WAR (1899-1902)

U.S. Total:
125,000 served
4,196 died

Oregonians:
1,600 served
63 died

World War I (1917-1918)

U.S. Total:
4,700,000 served
116,516 died/
4,400 MIA

Oregonians:
44,166 served
1,030 died/
19 MIA

World War II (1941-1945)

U.S. Total:
16,112,566 served
407,316 died/
72,104 MIA

Oregonians:
150,000 served
3,832 died/
1,073 MIA

Korean WAR (1950-1953)

U.S. Total:
1,789,000 served
36,914 died/
7,481 MIA

Oregonians:
74,000 served
283 died/
55 MIA

Viet Nam WAR (1955-1975)

U.S. Total:
3,000,000 served
58,318 died/
1,579 MIA/
19 LKA**

Oregonians:
57,000 served
777 died/
28 MIA

FIRST GULF (IRAQ) WAR (1990-91)

U.S. Total:
700,000 served
148 died/
1 MIA

Oregonians:
54,000 served
4 died

IRAQ WAR (2003-11); WAR IN IRAQ (2013-17)

U.S. Total:
1,500,000+ served
4,586 died

Oregonians:
6,000 served
74 died

WAR IN AFGHANISTAN (2001-2021)

U.S. Total:
800,000+ served
2,459 died

Oregonians:
____ served
34 died

Oregonians who died in war
Flag in North Plains Oregon at half staff on Memorial Day.

It is very difficult to pin down exact numbers for U.S. military casualties related to particular conflicts. Reliable information about military operations–which often occur over large areas and periods of time–is widely scattered and/or otherwise hard to obtain. The U.S. military does not even disclose data on its intelligence and special operations missions. The United States may also sometimes declare a war or major conflict over, withdraw combat troops, but maintain a small military presence to deal with residual hostility within the war/conflict zone. Unless otherwise indicated, above statistics represent deaths of U.S. military personnel as a direct result of involvement in the theater/region where the war occurred (as opposed to anywhere worldwide) during the period of the indicated war/conflict.

* Research to complete this post is in progress…please stay tuned!

** “Last Known Alive” active cases.

References:
– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_in_the_American_Civil_War
– Oregon Civil War History
– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2nd_Oregon_Volunteer_Infantry_Regiment
– https//www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/oregon_unit_in_the_phillipines/
– https://sos.oregon.gov/archives/exhibits/ww1/Pages/active-overview.aspx
– https://www.oregoncapitalinsider.com/news/final-victory-world-war-ii-75-years-later/article
– https://www.census.gov/history/www/homepage_archive/2017/june_2017.html
– https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-many-americans-died-in-korea/
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna48415369
– Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
– https://www.governing.com/archive/military-civilian-active-duty-employee-workforce-numbers-by-state.html
– https://iowastatedaily.com/102478/news/pow-mia-statistics-from-all-u-s-wars/
– https://www.defense.gov/Multimedia/Experience/POW-MIA/
– https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3527804/dod-wont-stop-looking-until-all-powmias-are-home/
– Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency FAQs
– https://www.govinfo.gov/features/national-powmia-recognition-day
– 

2 thoughts on “Historical Perspective: Oregonians Who Died in War, By the Numbers”

    1. Hi Mike and thanks for your post. I sincerely appreciate it.

      Today, I have spent several hours updating the page to show the (approximately 81,000) MIAs from other wars, besides Vietnam that you reference that I had not yet included. I have about 12 different citations (to the articles I used to compile the MIA numbers), which I am in the process of adding to the page, so that other interested folks will also be able to have those as a resource.

      It is reassuring to me that the DOD continues to diligently pursue the MIA cases, with a budget, in an agonizing but vital effort to winnow the numbers (e.g. the Vietnam cases have gone from 1,719 (2014) to 1,621 (2016) to 1,587 (2020) to 1,582 (2022), then 1,579, three fewer, as of today). For perspective, about 1/3 of the Vietnam MIAs are classified as “non-recoverable” but they are mandated, by the law (and honor) of the “fullest possible accounting” standard, to re-open those cases whenever science and technology changes.

      Thanks again for your help, Mike.

      Kind regards,
      -Marc

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