Retired Army Major Gen. Ira A. Hunt, Jr.’s The 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam: Unparalleled and Unequaled (University of Kentucky Press, 195 pp., $35) is a by-the-numbers look at the only U.S. Army infantry division that was activated and trained stateside specifically to fight in Vietnam. Gen. Hunt served as the 9th’s Chief of Staff and as a brigade commander in Vietnam, and later (1973-75) was the U.S. Support Activities Group (USSAG) Deputy Commander in Vietnam.
The 9th arrived in Vietnam in February of 1967 and fought there—primarily in the Mekong Delta—until the division pulled out in July of 1969. Gen. Hunt says that the Division accomplished its mission of denying the enemy “access to the resources of the region [the Delta] and to improve security, to make possible the political and social aspects of the [government of South Vietnam’s] pacification program.”
Gen. Hunt makes great use of numbers in the narrative, which goes into detail on strategy and tactics. During the war that number crunching revolved around what later became known as the body count.
One detailed chart at the end of the book, for example, provides month-by-month numbers from February 1967 to July 1969 of enemy KIAs, POWs, Hoi Chanh, and “total losses, ” along with American KIAs, WIAs, and “total casualities.” The chart also offers ratios of enemy KIAs versus U.S. KIAs and total enemy losses versus total U.S. casualties.
According to that chart, the 9th Division accounted for 31, 135 enemy KIAs during that period versus 1, 869 U.S. KIAs, a 16.7 to 1 ratio.