Sunday, December 18, 2016

General Ngô Quang Trưởng - QLVNCH

Lieutenant General Ngô Quang Trưởng in the 1970s.
           December 13th marked the birthday of one of the most well known commanders in the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Ngô Quang Trưởng. Trưởng was born in  Kiến Hòa province in 1929. He entered the military during the State of Vietnam period, attending the Thủ Đức Academy. He received his commission in 1954, and entered the airborne. One of his first citations for merit was awarded to him for bravery during the Battle of Saigon in 1955 against the Bình Xuyên.
Trưởng as a major during his early years with the airborne, 1960s.
         In subsequent years, Trưởng continued to be promoted for military achievement and his capabilities as a commander. He served with the airborne through the mid-1960s with distinction, pariticipating in major engagements throughout. After twelve years, he was transfered out of the airborne to take over command of the republic's 1st Infantry Division. He later went on the be a corps commander and one of the leading figures of the armed forces.
Brigadier General Trưởng with the 1st Infantry Division, 1960s.
Lieutenant General Trưởng with marines awaiting air transport in Tan My
during the 1972 campaign, June 29, 1972.
        General Trưởng was regarded by many of his contemporaries as one of the most capable commanders in Southeast Asia. He played a central role in the 1972 victory against the Communist invasion. He served the republic through 1975. He later lived in Virginia in the United States where he authored several texts documenting his views on the war. General Trưởng passed away in 2007. In this post, RVNHS would like to reflect on the life of General Trưởng and his role in the republic on the occasion of what would have been his 87th birthday.
Funeral of Lieutenant General Ngô Quang Trưởng in 2007.

Monday, December 12, 2016

VNAF 1st Helcopter Squadron - KQVNCH

A rare photo of a Vietnamese Air Force H-19 Helicopter during an operation in the early years.
          The helicopter is undoubtedly one of the most iconic images of the conflicts in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) was heavily involved with the helicopter war, and at its height included over twenty helicopter squadrons. The birth of the VNAF's helicopter squadrons coincided with the founding of the Republic of Vietnam. The 1st Helicopter Squadron of the Vietnamese Air Force was established at Tân Sơn Nhứt in April of 1956.
An H-19 Helicopter of the Vietnamese Air Force.
       The squadron initially did not have any aircraft. Helicopters had been used in Vietnam during the State of Vietnam period, but by 1956, those that were left were in need of repair and were fastly becoming outdated as innovations in helicopter designs boomed worldwide. The first new helicopter received by the 1st Helicopter Squadron was the updated Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw. These helicopters would be the main operational helicopters of the squadron in its very early years. The men of the 1st Helicopter Squadron were the pioneers for the later helicopter airmen and squadrons of the VNAF. In 1963, the squadron was redesignated the 211th Squadron, and would continue to serve the republic through 1975.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Republic of Vietnam 18th Infantry Divison Certificate - Australian Army - 1 ATF

Republic of Vietnam 18th Infantry Divison - 1st Australian Task Force ( 1 ATF) weapons training certificate to Danh Soc of B Company of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, signed by 1 ATF commander, General Stuart Paul Weir, March 1970, RVNHS Archive.
              Australia began sending official military advisors to the Republic of Vietnam in 1962. As the military mission of Australia expanded, a central base of operations was established in Phuoc Tuy Province. One feature of the geography in the area selected for the Australian base were the remnants of an extinct volcano, which consisted of a partial crater. The Australians came to refer to this location as "Horseshoe Hill" due to its shape.
Australian instructor and Republic of Vietnam 18th Division soldiers,
Horseshoe Hill, Phuoc Tuy Province, 1969.
             Horeshoe Hill and the surrounding areas served as operation and training centers for Australian soldiers and their advisors to the military of the Republic of Vietnam. The majority of Republic of Vietnam servicemen who received training from the Australian Army did so in these areas of Phuoc Tuy Province. The Republic of Vietnam's 18th Infantry Division was trained more by Australian advisors than any other division in the Vietnamese military.
Soldiers of the Republic of Vietnam 18th Infantry Divison after finishing training at
Horseshoe Hill, Phuoc Tuy Province, 1970.
Australian instructor and Republic of Vietnam 18th Division soldiers,
Horseshoe Hill, Phuoc Tuy Province, September 1969.
            The training courses taught by Australian army instructors at Phuoc Tuy ranged from standard small arms courses to patrol and infiltration tactics as well as larger size unit operations. Training was conducted nearly year-round with most courses lasting for a few weeks. In later years, the 18th Infantry Division would become immortalized at the 1975 Battle of Xuan Loc when the division held out against the odds to delay the enemy.
General Stuart Paul Weir (left) at Phuoc Tuy, signator of the posted training certificate,
February 11, 1969.
            The document shown in this post is a certifcate issued to a Republic of Vietnam servicemen in the 5th Cavalry Regiment for completing a four-week training course in weapons and tactics at Horseshoe Hill in Phuoc Tuy. The document bears the insignia of the 18th Infantry Divison and the 1st Australian Task Force, which oversaw the training. It is signed by the Australian Task Force commander, General Stuart Paul Weir, and dates to March of 1970. In this post, RVNHS would like to reflect on the history of the 18th Infantry Division and of the Australian military instructors who helped to shape the division in support of the cause of the Republic of Vietnam.
A tank of the Republic of Vietnam 5th Cavalry Regiment in action near Bien Hoa,
February 1969.