Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Early Republic of Vietnam Field Jacket - QLVNCH 1955



Vietnamese made version of a French Model 1947 field jacket, 1950s, RVNHS Archive.
 
            When the Republic of Vietnam was founded in 1955, its armed forces were outfitted with the uniforms and equipment of its predecessor, the State of Vietnam. The State of Vietnam utilized military accoutrements from a variety of nations around the world, but France was by far the greatest supplier. Troops of the Vietnamese National Army (the predecessor of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam - South Vietnam) were issued uniforms that were both manufactured in France as well as locally in Vietnam.
 
Early Republic of Vietnam officer in French Model 1947 field jacket
- note the rank insignia on the epaulettes, 1956, RVNHS Archive.
 
         The jacket shown in this post is a Vietnamese made version of a French Model 1947 field jacket. The 1947 field jacket was one of the principal pieces of field wear worn by soldiers of both the State of Vietnam, and those serving in the early years of the Republic of Vietnam. Variants of two or four pockets existed. As veterans interviewed by RVNHS recall, both variants - even the four pocket type - were often worn tucked into the trousers. Throughout the early 1950s, Vietnamese forces saw a rapid expansion as efforts were made to establish a viable armed force to defend the up-and-coming indepedent state. This expansion, coupled with the general logistic difficulties of receiving enough uniform supplies from overseas, inevitably meant that military garments would need to be produced locally in Vietnam on a scale not seen previously. It was through these newly enlarged manufacturing facilities that the supply chains for the later Republic of Vietnam military quartermaster were established.
 
 
video
A July 1955 newsreel segment showing fighting
between the "new" army under Ngo Dinh Diem
and the armed groups of the Hoa Hao religious sect.
Images of the government soldiers show French Model 1947 style field jackets in use.
 
           Photographs and film footage from the early months and years of the Republic of Vietnam show jackets of this type in use by soldiers throughout all branches of the armed forces.
 
A 1955 photo showing soldiers at the time of the transition of the State of Vietnam to the Republic of Vietnam wearing French Model 1947 style field jackets, 1955, RVNHS Archive.
 
 
 


Monday, June 20, 2016

Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day Exhibit - June 18-19, 2016 - Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces



A selection of dress uniforms and display cases as part of the RVNHS Archive contribution at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016.

               On June 18th and 19th, 2016, RVNHS participated in a commemoration event for the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day (June 19th) at the newly created Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in Westminster, California. This year, June 19th also fell on father's day, which made it an even more excellent opportunity for Republic of Vietnam veterans to come out with their families to remember, educate, and celebrate the rich history of the Republic of Vietnam.

Field and daily service uniforms with military insignia displays as part of the RVNHS Archive contribution at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016.
 
A display case showing some personal items that would have been utilized in daily life by Republic of Vietnam soldiers. Part of the RVNHS Archive contribution at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016.

              Items from the RVNHS Archive were contributed to the display. Included in this post are some photos of these items from the show. Along with the displays from RVNHS, other displays included detailed scale models of Republic of Vietnam naval vessels, aircraft, and vehicles - including several excellent dioramas. Educational displays for the 1974 Battle of the Paracel Islands, and a variety of other exhibits were offered.

A veteran Republic of Vietnam airborne officer who attended the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016.
 
A veteran Republic of Vietnam officer of the 1st Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment (23rd Infantry Division) with insignia from his former unit. Part of the RVNHS Archive contribution at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016.
 
          The best element of the show was being able to interact with veterans and their families, and share items from the RVNHS Archive with others in an effort to promote interest in the history of the republic, and help pass on the legacy of the men and women whose lives were forever intertwined with the Republic of Vietnam to future generations.

9th Airborne Battalion Company Guidon as part of the RVNHS Archive contribution at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016.
 
A selection of decorations and insignia, including grades of the National Order of Vietnam and original manufacturer ephemera as part of the RVNHS Archive contribution at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016.

          RVNHS will continue to maintain an area with a rotating exhibit of items from the archive at the museum during its normal operating hours. More information on the details of these displays will be offered in future postings. We would like to encourage everyone to visit and support the museum. The location offers a unique opportunity to witness and learn about a variety of aspects of the history of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces right in the heart of the largest community of the Vietnamese diaspora.

Early 23rd Infantry Division flag as part of the RVNHS Archive contribution at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016.
 
Naval uniforms, cadet, and other items as part of the RVNHS Archive contribution at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016.
 
Insignia, photos, and other material from military academies as part of the RVNHS Archive contribution at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016.
 
An armor officer uniform, berets, ranger insignia, and other items as part of the RVNHS Archive contribution at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhibit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California.
June 18-19th, 2016.
 
Part of the 1974 Battle of Paracel Islands display at the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Day exhbit at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Westminster, California. June 18-19th, 2016. The show featured many other excellent displays, including detailed scale models of naval vessels, aircraft, and vehicles
used by the military of the Republic of Vietnam.
 
 
 
 


Thursday, June 2, 2016

VNAF Crewman Personal Effects 1975 - KQVNCH



Vietnam Air Force crewman's personal effects: civilian and military identification cards, dog tags, and locket, circa 1960s-70s, RVNHS Archive.
 
          This grouping of personal effects belonged to a member of the Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF). He was born in Hanoi in 1950, and was likely one of the many who made the migration south after partitioning. Included in the grouping are civilian and military identification cards as well as a pair of dog tags on a chain with a locked attached. The cards showing his military identification date to a period that would make them still valid in April of 1975.
 
Vietnam Air Force crewman's personal effects: details of photos as they appear on the identification cards and locket, 1960s-70s, RVNHS Archive.
 
          The identification cards show him last serving with the 4th Air Division, which was based at Binh Thuy Airbase near the city of Can Tho. The division oversaw the 74th and 84th Tactical Wings. The airman was a sergeant, and he wears a pair of flight wings, signifying him as likely the member of an air crew - although it is not certain to which unit he belonged specifically. Along with his two dog tags on the chain is a personal locket. On one side it features his photo. On the reverese, the image of an unknown woman. It is not known what relationship existed between the two, but it is certain they were close.
 
Vietnam Air Force crewman's personal effects: details of opposite sides of locket, 1970s,
RVNHS Archive.
 
          This small grouping of items offer a glimpse into the personal identity of one member of the republic's armed forces in its final months. These items were kept together as a reflection of that identity for posterity into the present. This post is hoped to highlight such individual memories, and encourage others to ensure their preservation for future generations.