What U. S Companies Profited During The Vietnam War?

One of the dirty U.S. secrets of the U.S. War with Vietnam is how many companies profited from the war. For many of these companies, the Vietnam War brought them out of absurdity as they earned billons with war profits.

During the Vietnam War, many U.S. companies profited from the Vietnam war. Some of these companies were heading toward bankruptcy, but their involvement in the Vietnam war helped make them profitable. For many others, they earned millions of dollars each year in profits off the war that helped ensure they continued to be beneficial.

Below are some of the top U.S. companies that earned profits from the Vietnam War. The list is not complete as there are too many to list. But all these companies were major suppliers for the Vietnam War effort.

Brown & Roots And Vietnam War Profits

Brown & Root was a Texas-based defense contractor that many see as one of the leading companies that profited during the Vietnam War. Brown & Root, also known as Kellogg Brown & Root, was a Texas-based company known for giving Pres. Lyndon Johnson a blank cheque when he ran for the U.S. Senate.

Because of Pres. Johnson’s connection to Brown & Root and how the war escalated under Pres. Johnson, many believe that Pres. Johnson and Brown & Root were working together on the war to ensure it was profitable.

Brown & Root was awarded massive engineering contracts that included new ports, bases, and airports throughout South Vietnam. The construction of this infrastructure was so massive that even today, when you fly throughout South Vietnam, the airport strips, buildings, and other facilities are almost all American-built.

It has been said that Pres. Johnson steered all kinds of contracts to Brown & Root for all types of federal projects in Vietnam that included airport ports, pipelines, and military bases. Some have said that Brown & Root made billions off their defense contracts during the Vietnam war.

Bell Helicopter Supplies To The Vietnam War

One of the Huey By Bell Helicopter

One of the Vietnam War symbols was the sound of the rotor blades of the Bell helicopter named Huey. Bell Helicopter made a lot of helicopters for Vietnam, but the Huey was one of the most famous as it was constantly on the nightly news.

More than 5,000 helicopters were operating in Vietnam during the war, but over 2,500 were lost to enemy fire. For Bell Helicopter, this meant they were constantly replacing the helicopters that were lost during the war.

Besides just the Huey, Bell Helicopter made many other helicopters for the Vietnam war effort. In economic terms, this meant the United States military purchased thousands of helicopters, and Bell Helicopter constantly had business to fulfill these orders.

This would have translated to millions of dollars worth of helicopters being sold to support the U.S. military during the Vietnam war.

Dow Chemical Produces Chemicals For Vietnam War

Victims of Napalm B during the Vietnam War

When the Vietnam War started, Dow Chemical was a small chemical company in Midland, Michigan. But soon, Dow Chemical became the U.S. military’s sole supplier of the dangerous chemical called “napalm,” also known as Napalm B.

Napalm was very simple to make, but it had horrific human consequences—Napalm was a kind of liquid fire that clung to human skin and melted off human flesh.

So horrific was this chemical that witnesses that saw the effects of Napalm spoke of eyelids burned that would not close and human flesh that looked like raw meat. But this did not stop Dow, which continued to produce Napalm for many years.

Dow also later started to produce the famous Agent Orange for the Vietnam War. Agent Orange has been linked with high cancer rates among some Vietnamese Vets and congenital disabilities in Vietnam.

Dow Chemical profited from the Vietnam War because what was once a small chemical company in Michigan has become a household name and colossal corporation that is still profitable today. By 1974 Dow Chemical had become one of the largest chemical companies in the world.

McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company And Vietnam

Douglas F3D Skyknight

McDonnell Douglas Aircraft company supplied a lot of aircraft to Vietnam. In 1977 after the war had ended, they were one of the biggest financial winners of the Vietnam war era. During the war, two defense suppliers, i.e., McDonnell and Douglas, decided to merge and join their efforts together.

They joined together to become a significant player in the Vietnam war crisis for planes for the U.S. military. Like the helicopters, many planes were lost due to enemy fire; McDonnell Douglas Aircraft had a constant business resupplying planes.

The companies that were once struggling or near bankruptcy were again profitable, thanks to the Vietnam War. The war helped them earn millions of dollars.

Lockheed Corp And Their Aircraft For Vietnam

A-12 By Lockheed Corp

Like McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed Corp also made aircraft for the Vietnam War era. One of their more famous planes was the A-12, which made its first flight in 1962.

Lockheed also designed reconnaissance airplanes from the A-12 to fly faster and higher than other planes and provide high-altitude photography.

Lockheed A-12 aircraft became a significant aircraft for the United States during the Vietnam war; it also helped to ensure that Lockheed Corp made millions of dollars in profit.

Boeing Company And The Vietnam War Effort

B-52 Bomber By Boeing’s Company

One of Boeing’s plans for the Vietnam war was the B-52 bomber. This long-range heavy bomber is famous for the constant bombing raids it delivered on North Vietnam.

So many bombs were dropped on North Vietnam that even today, there are still teams trying to clean up and clear up the massive amount of bombs dropped on Vietnam. Between 1965 and 1975, the United States and its allies dropped over 7.5 million tons of bombs on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

Ton by ton or pound by pound, it was the most extensive aerial bombardment in human history—even more bombs than dropped during the entire World War II. The U.S. B-52 airplanes built by Boeing dropped many those bombs on North Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.  

Years ago, in a residential area of Hanoi, there was a small lake known as the B-52 lake. In that small lake was the tail-end of a B-52 plane sticking up. This shows that many B-52 planes were lost in Vietnam, and like the other companies, this translated into huge profits for the Boeing Corp.

U.S. Companies And The Vietnam War

These are some significant players that profited from the Vietnam ward, but the list of companies who had a lot to gain by seeing the war continue also included other well-known brands such as United Technologies, General Electric, and Rockwell International Corp a few.

All these companies could supply something for the Vietnam war effort, which ensured they were profitable. Essentially they made millions of dollars in profit off the American involvement in Vietnam.

I do not think any of these companies wanted to see the war lose so many lives, but they were happy to stand back and make the chemicals, weapons, and planes or build the buildings in Vietnam to get the infusion of cash into their companies.

The Vietnam war was so unpopular to the American public that many of these companies either totally dismissed their involvement in their company history or they glossed over it as if they had no actual involvement in making money off the Vietnam war.

The truth is that hundreds if not thousands of U.S.-based companies found themselves in a situation where they were earning millions of dollars off the death and destruction that was taking place in Vietnam during the war.

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What Happened To The Hmong After The Vietnam War?

When the Vietnam War ended, the Hmong in Laos was in a terrible position; the Hmong fighters were enemies of the present Laotian government and considered “persona non gratis.” Some were forced into labor camps or kicked out of their home and lands. The Hmong made their way eventually to the Laotian – Thai border so they could try to get into the United States via Thailand.

By clicking here, you can discover What Happened To The Hmong After The Vietnam War?

Could America Have Won The Vietnam War?

America could not have won the Vietnam war as it never won the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. The Americans even had a hard time controlling the Vietnamese people in Southern Vietnam, as many were disillusioned with the Southern Vietnamese government. Ho Chi Minh, the leader of North Vietnam, fully understood that another foreign power would not control the Vietnamese heart and soul.

By clicking here, you can discover Could America Have Won The Vietnam War?

What Was The Main Reason For US Involvement In Vietnam?

The main reason for the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War was the belief in the Domino theory; the Domino theory was a principle used to describe the effects on the world if Vietnam fell to communism. If Vietnam became communist, then the rest of Asia, New Zealand, and even Australia would also eventually become communist. At the time, American leaders felt they were fighting for the survival of democracy throughout the world.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading What Was The Main Reason For U.S. Involvement In Vietnam? 

Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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What U.S Companies Profited During The Vietnam War?