The Vietnamese Marine Corps

From Viet Nam Generation, Vol. 7:1-2, 1996, pp. 73-77
1996 by Peter Brush

The Vietnamese Marine Corps had its origin during the period of French control in Indochina. The 1949 Franco-Vietnamese Agreement stated that the Vietnamese Armed Forces were to include naval forces whose organization and training would be provided by the French Navy. In 1951, the French proposed a development plan for the Vietnamese Navy, which called for the formation of two naval assault divisions under French command. In March, 1952, French Imperial Ordinance No. 2 was promulgated, officially establishing the Navy of Vietnam. The following year the two naval assault divisions were activated.

In 1953, the French and Vietnamese governments agreed to increase the Vietnamese Army to 57 light infantry battalions for offensive operations. As such operations were to extend into the coastal areas of Vietnam, an increase in the size of the Vietnamese Navy was also deemed necessary. While considerations were underway to decide if the river flotillas should be under the control of the Army or Navy, French Vice Admiral Auboyneau proposed for the first time the organization of a Vietnamese Marine Corps. By 1954, as the French began their withdrawal from Vietnam, the Vietnamese Marine Corps, a component of the Vietnamese Navy, consisted of a headquarters, four river companies, and one battalion landing force. 1

On October 13, 1954, President Ngo Dinh Diem signed a government decree formally creating within the naval establishment a corps of infantry to be designated as the Marine Corps (VNMC). The cessation of hostilities between the French and Vietnamese caused the end of U.S. military assistance to the French in Indochina. Title to materiel previously provided to the French in Vietnam reverted back to American control. Also during that year the U.S. and French military missions to Vietnam were combined into the Advisory, Training, and Operations Mission (ATOM).

In 1955, the Vietnamese Naval Forces passed from French to Vietnamese command. In January, 1955, U.S. ATOM members proposed missions for the Vietnamese Navy and Marine Corps that included light amphibious operations, river and coastal patrol, minesweeping, fire support, and logistic support for military forces. The ATOM proposal envisioned that by 1957 the Vietnamese Marine Corps was to be increased in size to a three-battalion regiment. It would constitute a portion of a general reserve for the Vietnamese armed forces, and would be available for rapid deployment throughout the national territory of Vietnam. French insistence that infantry units should be part of a naval force and operate from boat units was one of the most important tactical innovations to emerge from the First Indochina War. Although French in origin, all further evolution of the VNMC would be at the hands of the U.S. Marine Corps.

In 1954, U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Victor Croizat was designated as the first Senior U.S. Advisor to the VNMC. These first Vietnamese Marines were formed from colonial-era commandos (the 1st and 2nd Battaillons de Marche) who came south when Vietnam was partitioned at Geneva. 2 Vietnamese Marines were recruited as volunteers and attended recruit training at the VNMC Training Command located at Thu Duc near Saigon. The recruit program placed emphasis on patriotism, challenging "young men to prove themselves equal to rigorous, disciplined life." 3 Officers in the Vietnamese Marine Corps were appointed from the National Military Academy, an infantry school for reserve officers, and from a 12-week officer training course for NCO's showing special merit. The training center could accommodate 2,000 students and provided advanced infantry training, officer, NCO, and sniper courses in addition to basic recruit training. Many training command instructors had received instruction at Marine Corps schools in the United States. 4

USMC advisory efforts permeated every aspect of VNMC training, force expansion, logistics, and field operations. When Croizat arrived, VNMC strength stood at 1,150 men and was dispersed from Hue to the Mekong Delta. It was dependent upon the French for logistical support, and a French officer still commanded the 1st VNMC Battalion. 5 The VNMC earned a solid reputation as a fighting force, particularly compared to the regular armed forces of South Vietnam (ARVN). The VNMC, along with Ranger and Airborne units, constituted Saigon's elite national reserve, and were deployed to exploit battlefield successes and redress emergency situations. Normally the individual Marine battalions were attached to a corps, a province, or an ARVN division for combat operations.

In 1958, the Vietnamese Marines were among the first South Vietnamese government (GVN) regular military units committed to fighting the Viet Cong - the 1st VNMC Landing Battalion was ordered into action by the South Vietnamese (SVN) Joint General Staff (JGS) at the end of the year. The battalion spent two months searching for VC in An Xugen, Vietnam's southernmost province. Adhering to then prevailing U.S. policy, no U.S. Marine advisors accompanied the Vietnamese Marines on this operation.

In 1959 the VNMC underwent expansion. The month of June saw the formation of a third landing battalion near the Cuu Long Navy Yard. A fourth rifle company was added to each infantry battalion and the old heavy weapons companies were abolished. These changes increased the strength of VNMC infantry battalions to about 900 men. 6 It was at this time that the VNMC, along with newly formed ARVN airborne units, became the general reserve for the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF). This "force in readiness" was directly responsible to the JGS for any ground warfare mission. As part of this general reserve the VNMC often was assigned to clear particularly hazardous or difficult terrain while seeking combat with the Viet Cong.

U.S. Marine advisors sought to transform the VNMC into an elite fighting unit, encouraging them to take pride in difficult and dangerous operations. The senior USMC advisor proposed the adoption of a distinctive globe and anchor emblem (similar to that of the USMC) as well as black and green tiger-stripe camouflaged utility uniform similar to that worn by French commando units. A dark green beret was authorized for wear in garrison. At this time the U.S. Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) authorized U.S. Marine advisors assigned to the VNMC to accompany them into combat, a privilege that was not extended to other MAAG personnel. 7 These American Marine advisors wore the same distinctive field uniform as their Vietnamese counterparts.

In 1960, President Diem appointed Major Le Nguyen Khang Senior Marine Officer. In November, 1960, the VNMC 3d Battalion became involved in a coup against the Diem government. Upon learning of this coup attempt, Khang led two VNMC battalions from the field to Saigon where they joined other Marine units around the presidential palace. For several hours it appeared that Khang's Marines might clash with the rebellious Marines of the 3d Battalion. After forces loyal to Diem suppressed the coup, the VNMC returned to their combat functions with the general reserve.

In 1961 the VNMC was expanded by the addition of a fourth infantry battalion and a 75mm howitzer battery. The 4th Battalion was organized in the coastal city of Vung Tau, about 60 kilometers southeast of Saigon. While these new units were forming, the JGS ordered the Vietnamese Navy and Marines to undergo operations against Viet Cong forces in the U Minh Forest at the southern tip of South Vietnam. These particular GVN units were deployed because the objective was not accessible by land. This operation made evident the deficiencies of Vietnamese naval forces. Inexperienced sailors had difficulties with navigation, which caused them to arrive late at the embarkation point. The Marines, relying on outdated French maps, made slow progress moving inland. The result was little contact with the Viet Cong.

Similar problems plagued most GVN ground units in this early period of operations against Communist forces. The frequent deployment of the VNMC units in static security roles was opposed by their U.S. Marine advisors as running contrary to the offensively-oriented, elite spirit they sought to instill in the VNMC. In spite of this opposition, the JGS continued to station their Marine units in areas around the capital.

1964 ended in disaster for the Vietnamese Marine Corps. The 4th Battalion had been serving as the reserve force for III Corps. On December 27, the Viet Cong overran the town of Binh Gia east of Saigon. ARVN Rangers and the 4th VNMC Battalion were ordered to retake the town. This was accomplished with no enemy opposition. While attempting to recover the bodies of dead U.S. Army gunship crewmen, a company of Marines was ambushed by a Viet Cong force armed with heavy weapons. The other three companies of the 4th Battalion moved from Binh Gia toward the crash site to lend assistance. This Marine column was ambushed by a large Communist force while moving through a rubber plantation. By late afternoon most of the officers of the 4th Battalion were dead, including the battalion commander. Before eluding the Viet Cong attackers the 4th Battalion suffered about 60 percent casualties. All the U.S. Marine advisors were wounded in the fighting at Binh Gia. The Ranger Battalion, operating nearby, suffered a similar fate in another violent ambush. Within a 24-hour period two elite government battalions had been destroyed. 8

The fighting at Binh Gia was the worst defeat of the war to date for the VNMC, causing the elimination of its 4th Battalion as an effective fighting force. USMC Major Lane Rogers, advisor to the 3d VNMC Battalion, volunteered to go to Binh Gia to assist with evacuation of the casualties. After three days of searching, over 100 allied bodies were recovered. No VC bodies were found. 9

Although no one within the allied command knew the exact size of the enemy force that had defeated the Vietnamese Marines at Binh Gia, it certainly was larger than any enemy force previously encountered. Later MACV learned that the Communists had created the 9th VC Division from two regiments. The South Vietnamese Joint General Staff ordered a joint Airborne and Marine task force to search out and destroy the Communist division. The resulting operation, which ended in February, was unsuccessful; no VC were located.

The VNMC did achieve success against the VC the following month. Intelligence sources indicated one VC battalion from the 2d VC Regiment was in the town of Bong Song in II Corps. Another VC battalion had been positioned along the highway to ambush any GVN relief column. After a ten mile forced march, the VNMC attacked the flank of the VC ambush position. With the arrival of darkness the VC disengaged, leaving behind 63 KIA. 10 In March, the 2d VNMC Battalion was awarded an U.S. Presidential Unit Citation for actions against the Viet Cong. In August, a VNMC task force fought its first battle with North Vietnamese forces operating in South Vietnam near the Special Forces camp at Duc Co near the Cambodian border. VNMC combat effectiveness and morale increased after mid-1965, as evidenced by a declining desertion rate. In November, the 3d VNMC Battalion engaged in an amphibious landing from U.S. 7th Fleet ships with elements of the U.S. Marine Corps. 1965 also saw the expansion of the VNMC with the formation and deployment to operational status of the 5th Battalion.

During June, 1966, Colonel John A. MacNeil, head of the U.S. Marine Advisory Unit, submitted a plan concerning force structure goals for the Vietnamese Marine Corps to Rear Admiral Norvell G. Ward, commander of the American Naval Advisory Group. MacNeil's plan envisioned the enlargement of the VNMC from a brigade to a full division by 1970.

In 1966, the VNMC continued to operate as a segment of the general strategic reserve. Its commandant, Lieutenant General Le Nguyen Khang, in addition to his Corps' duties, served as military governor of Saigon and commander of III Corps. General Khang was the first VNMC graduate of the USMC Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico, Virginia, as were many VNMC field-grade officers. One VNMC battalion remained in the Saigon area while the others were deployed throughout South Vietnam.

In May, the GVN sent two battalions of Marines (without their U.S. advisors) to assist in the suppression of political dissent associated with the Struggle Movement in Da Nang and Hue. A VNMC task force continued to operate in I Corps for the remainder of 1966. VNMC units supported USMC forces in Operations Hastings in Quang Tri province and with the 5th Marines during Operation Colorado in the Que Son Valley near Tam Ky. In September, a sixth infantry battalion was added to the VNMC.

Normally the national strategic reserve remains uncommitted except as dictated by tactical emergency. Even though the VNMC was an element of the GVN reserve it seldom remained uncommitted: In 1967, Vietnamese Marines engaged in combat operations over 80 percent of the time. 11

Except for the VNMC battalion based at Vung Tau, the battalions of the VNMC were based around Saigon. Marine operations in 1967 frequently included security operations in the Capital Military District, combat operations in the Rung Sat Special Zone, campaigns against VC forces in II Corps, and search and destroy operations in III and IV Corps. The VNMC added an artillery battalion to its existing six infantry battalions during the year.

The Rung Sat ("forest of assassins") is a 400 square mile dense mangrove swamp separating Saigon from the South China Sea. The range between high and low tides is 12 feet, yielding rapid currents that make small streams dangerous for troop movements. Boats are difficult to maneuver during tidal periods and at high tide it is impossible for troops to maneuver on foot. The VC employed a system that utilized signal towers to provide early warning on the massing of GVN units. During 1967, the VNMC conducted five battalion-sized operations in this hot, wet, dangerous, and insect-infested environment.

Binh Dinh province in northern II Corps was an area of major VNMC operations throughout 1967. Joint U.S./GVN operations began shortly after the arrival of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in 1965. Binh Dinh province consisted of a heavily populated coastal plain with large uncultivated and under-populated areas away from the coast. All except the coastal areas had long served as VC sanctuaries and Communist influence was strong. The main food cultivation areas were located along Route 1, which was under government control. It was the VC's desire to seize these food-producing areas that led to the deployment of US and GVN forces in Binh Dinh province. VNMC operations in II Corps during 1967 resulted in 202 Communists KIA and 282 captured. Marine losses during the year in II Corp were 49 KIA and 215 WIA. 12

In February and March, 1967, the VNMC provided a brigade that underwent joint operations during Operation Junction City with the U.S. 25th Infantry Division in III Corps. In May, Marine units deployed to the Mekong Delta to participate in riverine operations with the ARVN 21st Division. Other VNMC operations during 1967 included Operation Billings with the U.S. 1st Infantry Division near Bien Hoa and Operation Paddington with the Australian Task Force in Phuoc Tuy province. The most productive Vietnamese Marine operations of 1967 occurred in the fall when the 5th VNMC Battalion served as a maneuver battalion for the U.S. Navy Mobile Riverine Force. This battalion generally moved on the boats of the Riverine Assault Division. The fierce two-day battle of Rach Ruong resulted in the deaths of 175 Viet Cong at the hands of the 5th Battalion, including the commander of the VC 502d Battalion, one company commander, and two platoon commanders. 13 The VNMC engaged in 24 major combat operations during 1967, more than half of which were multi-battalion maneuvers, and resulting in the death or capture of approximately 1,000 enemy soldiers. 14

Although by the time of the Tet Offensive of 1968 South Vietnam had known over twenty years of revolutionary warfare, the capital of Saigon had been spared the ravages of war. That came to an end on January 31. As a component of the general reserve, the VNMC was quickly committed to the fighting. By the morning of the first day of the offensive two battalions of Vietnamese Marines were rushed by helicopter from the Mekong Delta to Saigon. Deploying on the parade ground of the JGS, the VNMC units engaged Viet Cong forces for twenty-four hours before the Communist forces there were repulsed.

In the north, beginning about 3:30 A.M., a mixed NVA-VC force swept into the former imperial capital of Hue. By dawn these invaders had control of the city except for the U.S. advisory compound and the ARVN 1st Division camp in a corner of the Citadel. On February 12, two battalions of Vietnamese Marines moved into the southwestern corner of the Citadel, adjacent to U.S. Marines occupying positions in the southeastern corner. The fighting between ARVN, American, and Vietnamese Marines on one hand, and North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers on the other, swayed back and forth for the next ten days. At 5:00 A.M. the Viet Cong banner, which had flown over the citadel since the fighting, began was replaced with the flag of South Vietnam. The twenty-five day struggle for Hue was the longest and bloodiest ground action of the Tet Offensive and possibly the longest and bloodiest single action of the Second Indochina War. 15

The Tet fighting of 1968 made evident the reluctance of many ARVN units to aggressively pursue enemy forces after overcoming their initial attacks. Too often these units were concerned with their own safety and the well being of their dependents, and their commanders relied on the aggressiveness of U.S. military units and American firepower to push enemy units out of urban areas. Exceptions to the tendency of GVN military units to prefer the defense of their bases rather than seeking the enemy in the countryside included elite GVN forces such as the Vietnamese Marines, Rangers, and Airborne units, who performed well in the fighting in Hue. 16

At the beginning of 1969, 47 USMC officers and nine enlisted men were assigned to duty as advisors with the VNMC. Normally, two USMC advisors were assigned to each VNMC infantry battalion. VNMC strength in 1969 totaled 9,300 officers and men. 17

In February 1969, the VNMC engaged in joint operations with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) near the Cambodian border. This forty day operation yielded one of the largest caches of enemy arms and ammunition of the war. Tons of captured supplies were transferred by CH-47 helicopter from the Parrot's Beak area to the VNMC support base near An Loc. Later that month the VNMC 5th Battalion engaged elements of the 5th NVA Division near Bien Hoa. In fighting that was so close it precluded the use of artillery support, the Vietnamese Marines claimed over 150 NVA killed in action, including an NVA battalion commander. For this action the 5th VNMC Battalion was awarded the U.S. Navy Unit Commendation.

During April a second artillery battalion was added to the Vietnamese Marines. In November, a third artillery battalion was formed; the following month, a seventh infantry battalion was authorized.

In April and May Vietnamese Marines underwent amphibious, riverine, and reconnaissance operations with ARVN and U.S. Navy River Assault forces in areas including the Cau Mau Peninsula and the U Minh Forest. During the summer a Vietnamese Marine brigade conducted reconnaissance-in-force operations with Vietnamese territorial units in Chuong Thien Province before being placed back in general reserve status. 1969 year's end saw the VNMC engaged in heavy combat in III and IV Corps.

In May, 1970, a VNMC brigade consisting of three infantry battalions plus a battery of artillery participated in the GVN incursion into Cambodia. At the end of May this brigade engaged in a six-day period of intense combat, including house-to-house fighting, against the North Vietnamese forces near the town of Neak Luong. 295 NVA were killed, while VNMC casualties totaled only seven KIA. 18 As U.S. Marine advisors were not permitted to accompany their Vietnamese counterparts, the Cambodian fighting was an important test of the ability of the VNMC to operate independently. Contact between VNMC and NVA forces continued until June 16.

In the summer of 1970, the Vietnamese Marines deployed northward into Quang Nam province, establishing fire support bases southwest of An Hoa Combat Base. In 1971, the VNMC underwent its first division-sized operation when it moved to the vicinity of the old Marine Corps combat base at Khe Sanh in Quang Tri province. Operation Lam Son 719, the GVN invasion of Laos, was one of the most important GVN operations of the war.

The purpose of Lam Son 719 was to sever the Ho Chi Minh trail at the Laotian city of Tchepone, thereby thwarting an anticipated NVA offensive and facilitating the redeployment of U.S. combat units during 1971. Two VNMC brigades entered Laos in March by helicopter insertion and overland movement. Their purpose was to occupy firebases that had been abandoned by the 1st ARVN Division. Beginning about March 18, Vietnamese Marines operating from Fire Support Base (FSB) Delta in Laos faced heavy concentrations of NVA forces. Enemy heavy artillery, mortar, and small arms fire brought airborne resupply and medical evacuation operations to a near standstill. On March 21, the NVA launched sustained regimental-sized attacks against the besieged Vietnamese Marine defenders at FSB Delta. The Communist weapons included tanks equipped with flamethrowers. After NVA forces penetrated the perimeter of FSB Delta the Marines were ordered to withdraw. Eventually the VNMC units, tasked with blunting the NVA counter-offensive, fought their way back into South Vietnam. The Marine division as a whole claimed over 2,000 NVA KIA while suffering approximately 1,000 KIA and WIA. The Vietnamese Marines were the last GVN troops to leave Laos during this operation. 19

The results of Lam Son 719 made evident serious command and control weaknesses within the GVN armed forces. Artillery support had been deficient. Personal politics between GVN commanders had a negative effect on tactical operations. The Vietnamese Marines had made the best of a difficult situation, however. A senior U.S. Marine advisor noted that the VNMC alone among the GVN Airborne, Rangers, and regular ARVN divisions achieved local battle successes and maintained their unit integrity. 20

After 1968, the VNMC contained three brigade headquarters with the designations Marine Brigades 147, 258, and 369. These designations originally came from the numerical designations of the battalions under their control. After April, 1971, two brigades were operating in Quang Tri province while the third remained in Saigon. Many senior VNMC officers had been fighting the Communists for twenty years and often perceived little need for American advisors. Consequently, these U.S. Marines frequently felt more like fire support coordinators rather than advisors. These senior VNMC commanders were Northerners by birth and referred to their enemy as either Communists or Viet Cong, but never as "NVA" or "PAVN" (People's Army of Vietnam).

By 1971, South Vietnam had a peaceful appearance to it - few Marines felt the need to wear flak jackets or helmets and rarely carried a loaded magazine in their weapons. 21 In November, 1971, U.S. Marines in I Corps celebrated the birthday of the Corps with their Vietnamese counterparts. Birthday cakes were flown up from Saigon and washed down with large quantities of beer. The quiet and calm tactical situation allowed the regular rotation of the VNMC battalions in the north to Saigon, where the families of the Marines were located. After a period of leave, the rotated battalion participated in training exercises.

With the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Vietnam, much USMC equipment was turned over to the Vietnamese Marines. In 1972 one of the goals of the Marine advisory unit was aimed at fostering a greater sense of solidarity between the VNMC and Vietnamese Navy in order to create an efficient amphibious assault organization.

The tranquility in I Corps ceased near year's end. On December 21, the 5th VNMC battalion, newly arrived to replace the 4th, received more incoming enemy fire in one day than the 4th had received all fall. Enemy activity continued to increase in January and February of 1972. The NVA had organized a corps-level headquarters to carry out attacks against South Vietnam's Military Region 1 (MR1), the northernmost military region in the country, in order to challenge the U.S. policy of Vietnamization. The two VNMC brigades, 147 and 258, were deployed along the western portion of GVN defenses below the DMZ. Brigade 369 was deployed into the area to conduct mobile clearing operations. On March 30, 1972, the NVA fired 12,000 rocket, artillery, and mortar rounds all across the Quang Tri frontier, preparing the way for a force of 25,000 North Vietnamese soldiers supported by tanks and artillery. The outgunned 3d ARVN Division, responsible for the defense of the DMZ region, reeled under the attack. In just two days the NVA had overrun all twelve of the bases and outposts that U.S. Marines had turned over to the 3d ARVN. 22   VNMC Brigade 258 was moved northward to reinforce the crumbling ARVN defensive line and assume security of the vital Dong Ha region. The commander of the 3d VNMC Battalion, Major Le Ba Binh, broadcast on his command radio network that there were "Vietnamese Marines in Dong Ha. We will fight in Dong Ha. We will die in Dong Ha. We will not leave. As long as one Marine draws a breath, Dong Ha will belong to us." 23

Major Binh's promise proved impossible to keep - the invading North Vietnamese outnumbered the South Vietnamese three-to-one. However, along with ARVN Airborne units, the Vietnamese Marines fought a savage series of delaying actions, which finally stopped the NVA offensive north of Hue, and then counterattacked. U.S. Marine advisors never left the side of the Vietnamese Marine Division. Heavy fighting continued into June, with the Marines pushing back into Quang Tri province.

At the beginning of August most of Quang Tri City remained in NVA hands and it had become apparent that the ARVN Airborne Division, weakened by earlier fighting in the Central Highlands, would be unable to dislodge the NVA defenders. The Marine Division was given this mission and relieved the ARVN airborne troops. As September began, Marine units had been in constant street fighting for 35 days under steady enemy artillery attacks. On September 9 the Marines began their final assault. Shortly after noon on September 16, Vietnamese Marines raised the flag of the Republic of Vietnam over the Quang Tri Citadel. During the seven week battle to recapture Quang Tri City, the VNMC had suffered 3,658 casualties. This figure represented approximately 25 percent of the entire Vietnamese Marine Corps. 24

Following the NVA 1972 offensive, the Vietnamese Marine Division remained in the northernmost part of MR1. Here it faced three North Vietnamese divisions. The VNMC maintained aggressive long-range reconnaissance patrols into NVA-held territory in northern and western Quang Tri province. In March, 1973, the U.S. Marine advisory unit was deactivated. After repelling a battalion-sized attack in September, enemy activity in the north fell off except for sporadic mortar attacks on VNMC positions. A 4th brigade was added to the VNMC in December, 1974.

During March, 1975, the Vietnamese Marines were deployed south from Quang Tri to provide for the defense of Danang. By April the GVN began to collapse in the face of the NVA final offensive. ARVN units in Danang disintegrated and only the Marine brigades maintained tactical integrity. For two days the Marines engaged in an attempt to defend the city, fighting the North Vietnamese near VNMC headquarters at Bo Tu Linh west of Danang. When this proved futile, they deployed aboard evacuation ships. Now split into two forces, during the GVN's final hours Vietnamese Marines were reported fighting NVA forces near the presidential palace in Saigon.

Less than 250 Vietnamese Marines ultimately escaped to the US after the fall of Saigon. This group included their two commandants, twenty officers, and 180 enlisted men who ended up in refugee camps in the U.S. For one last time, American Marines who had served as advisors to the Vietnamese Marines were on hand to assist them. 25

The special relationship between the Vietnamese and American Marines was summed up best by the last VNMC Commandant. According to General Khang, U.S. Marines never tried to command their Vietnamese comrades; rather, they served with them as friends and advisors. U.S. Marine advisors frequently worked outside their military fields to provide assistance to VNMC wives and children. American Marines were the only ones to share the food of the Vietnamese Marines - they did not carry their own rations into the field. Instead, they ate food procured in local markets and from individual farmers according to the methods of the Vietnamese Marines. The American Marines made no distinction between the U.S. Marines and the Vietnamese Marines. 26


1. The best source for information on the early years of the Vietnamese Marine Corps is Victor J. Croizat, "Vietnamese Naval Forces: Origin of the Species," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, (February, 1973), 48-58.

2. Major Charles D. Melson and Lieutenant Colonel Curtis G. Arnold, U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1971-1973, (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1991), 23n.

3. Quoted in Graham A. Cosmas and Lieutenant Colonel Terrance P. Murray, U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1970-1971, (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1986), 370.

4. Cosmas, 370.

5. G. H. Turley, The Easter Offensive: Vietnam, 1972, (New York: Warner, 1985), 7.

6. Captain Robert H. Whitlow, U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1954-1964, (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1977), 32.

7. Whitlow, 35.

8. Whitlow, 138.

9. Jack Shulimson and Major Charles M. Johnson, U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1965, (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1978), 204-205.

10. Shulimson, 206.

11. Major Gary L. Telfer, Lieutenant Colonel Lane Rogers, V. Keith Fleming, Jr., U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1967, (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1984), 248.

12. Telfer, 251.

13. Telfer, 253-254.

14. Telfer, 254.

15. Don Oberdorfer, Tet!, (N.Y.: Avon, 1971), 219.

16. Jeffrey J. Clarke, Advice and Support: The Final Years, 1965-1973, (Washington, D.C.:Center for Military History, United States Army, 1988), 325, 327.

17. Charles R. Smith, U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1969, (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1988), 311.

18. Cosmas, 373.

19. Keith W. Nolan, Into Laos, (Novato, CA: Presido, 1986), 344. Cosmas, 378.

20. Cosmas, 377.

21. Melson, 24.

22. Melson, 38; Turley, 145.

23. John G. Miller, The Bridge at Dong Ha, (N.Y.: Dell, 1990), 80.

24. Melson, 126.

25. Turley, 305.

26. Quoted in Smith, 1969, 313. Also Melson, 26 | | HTML'd 29 May 99