As of 2013, there were approximately 7,391,000 living veterans who served during the Vietnam war. They are the largest group of veterans in the United States.
Vietnam was under French administration for decades until Vietnamese communists under Ho Chi Minh defeated the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Vietnam was split along the 17th parallel between the communist controlled north and the democratic south. The United States pledged to support South Vietnam as part of its Cold War strategy. Throughout the 1960s, the U.S. sent hundreds of thousands of combat troops into the country. President Richard Nixon had withdrawn American military forces from Vietnam by 1973.