Nearly 1.4 million Americans currently serve in the US armed forces -- that's less than half of one percent of the US population. Many of those troops are deployed around the world, often in countries where US military veterans before them fought battles. For example there are approximately 40,000 US troops in Germany (at an astounding 170-plus US bases there) and the US hasn't actively fought a battle in Germany for 70 years. (Germany was the geopolitical front of the Cold War, of course.) 50,000 US troops are stationed in Japan. 28,000 US troops are in South Korea. The US has military bases in more than 70 countries, according to the Department of Defense.
As for the US military veterans -- discharged and retired military -- there are approximately 22 million former servicemen and servicewomen in the US. That's about 7.3 percent of the population. More served during the Vietnam war (more than half of veterans are over 60) than any other, followed closely by the number of veterans of the Gulf Wars. Data comes from the Defense Manpower Data Center, which is part of the US Department of Defense.
[A consideration of the value of America's broad military footprint is here: Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World]
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