Sunday, May 14, 2017

RVN Women's Army Corps Uniforms - Đoàn Nữ Quân nhân Việt Nam Cộng hòa



Republic of Vietnam Women's Army Corps sky blue service uniforms
 with military postal insignia, circa 1960s-70s, RVNHS Archive.
 
        The Republic of Vietnam Women's Army Corps ( Đoàn Nữ Quân nhân Việt Nam Cộng hòa ) was the principal branch of service for women who served in the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces. As with many branches of the republic's military, its history goes back to the State of Vietnam period prior to the establishment of the republic. Women who volunteered for service in the corps first received general training before commencing specialized programs for the specific element of the armed forces they would be attached to. Women's Army Corps members served alongside all branches of the armed forces ranging from the regular army to air force, navy, and marines.
 
Members of the Republic of Vietnam Women's Army Corps in sky blue service uniforms,
Colonel Trần Cẩm Hương (center)
and Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Thị Hạnh Nhơn (second from right).
 
Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Thị Hạnh Nhơn.
 
      The standard service uniform for women in the corps from the mid-1960s onwards was a sky blue service uniform consisting of a four-button two-pocket short-sleeve shirt and a matching skirt. Olive drab fatigues, camouflage patterns, and other uniforms worn by service personnel of the republic can also be seen in use by members of the women's corps on occasion in contemporary photographs, although the sky blue service uniform was the standard.
 
Warrant officer in the Republic of Vietnam Women's Army Corps.
 
      The two sky blue service uniform tops shown here have insignia for the republic's military postal service. This was the internal mail service for members of the armed forces. One shirt has senior private rank while the other is for a full corporal with one military postal service patch in printed form and the other in silk woven.
 
Second lieutenant Hà Thị Tươi visits a wounded soldier in hospital.
 
Second Lieutenant Hà Thị Tươi and Senior Private Dinh Thi Phan visit dependents of airborne soldiers near Tan Son Nhut airbase.
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

45th Anniversary of the Battle of An Lộc



Republic of Vietnam airborne troops en route to An Lộc, April 14, 1972.
 
            This week marks the 45th anniversary of the Battle of An Lộc. The battle was part of the failed Communist offensive against the republic in 1972, sometimes referred to by historians as the "Easter" or "Spring" Offensive. The campaign saw tens of thousands of enemy troops thrusted against the military and civil strongholds of the Republic of Vietnam. After weeks of fighting, the republic was able to gain the upper hand and achieve victory. The Battle of An Lộc was a pivotal part of this campaign.
 
Wounded defenders are escorted from the frontline, Battle of An Lộc, 1972.
 
Destroyed enemy tank at the Battle of An Lộc, 1972.
 
           An Lộc was a town in Bình Phước Province, and was located roughly ninety kilometers from Saigon. In April of 1972 regular Communist forces based across the border in Cambodia launched an assault into the republic following Highway 13 towards Saigon. The Republic of Vietnam decided to make a stand along the highway at An Lộc. The town was quickly surrounded by the enemy and put into a state of siege. The defenders consisted of a mixture of units of the republic's regular army, rangers, Regional Forces, Popular Forces, and People's Self Defense Forces. The defenders were later reinforced by airborne troops and members of the 81st Ranger Group. Air support was provided by Vietnamese Air Force and United States Air Force units.
 
A defender clearing a tunnel during the Battle of An Lộc, May 22, 1972.
 
Defenders admist the ruins of what was once the main square of An Lộc, 1972.
 
        The Battle of An Lộc lasted for sixty-six days. The defenders were outnumbered nearly five to one. The battle saw continual attempts by the enemy to capture the city, including mass armor assaults. For most of the battle, the defenders could only be supplied by air. Despite fighting under conditions of meager supplies and reinforcements the defenders stood their ground. The enemy eventually was forced to retreat in July, and the victory at An Lộc became a rallying point for the republic. The commanders of the defenders of An Lộc were lauded. These included General Lê Văn Hưng, General Lê Nguyên Vỹ, and Colonel (later general) Trần Văn Nhựt. Generals Hưng and Vỹ were later among the senior officers who chose to commit suicide on April 30, 1975, rather than surrender to enemy forces.
 
Poster issued by the Republic of Vietnam announcing the victory at the Battle of An Lộc,1972, RVNHS Archive.
 
Insignia scroll awarded to ranger units who participated in the defense of An Lộc in 1972,
 RVNHS Archive.
 
 
President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu (center) visits An Lộc as victory was being declared. He is flanked by General Lê Văn Hưng (left) and Colonel Trần Văn Nhựt who were among the battlefield commanders at An Lộc, July 7, 1972.
 
General Lê Nguyên Vỹ, one of the republic's commanders at the Battle of An Lộc, 1972.
 
       In this post, RVNHS would like to commemorate the commencement of the 45th anniversary of the Battle of An Lộc. We would like to pay homage to those who sacrificed all on behalf of the republic and honor their memory by insuring their legacy and triumph is not forgotten.
 
Church services held by the civilian population of An Lộc
who endured the siege during the battle, June 18, 1972.
 
 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Republic of Vietnam Airborne Colonel Camouflage Cap - QLVNCH Nhảy Dù



Republic of Vietnam Airborne Colonel Camouflage Cap,
ca. 1960s-70s, RVNHS Archive.
 
       This camouflage cap was recently acquired by RVNHS, and is currently on display at the Museum of History of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in Westminster, California. This rare piece of headgear was worn by a full colonel of the Republic of Vietnam airborne. The cap is comprised of a mixture of Vietnamese camouflage patterns, and bears colored embroidered insignia. The embroidery consists of blossoms signifying a field officer rank along with the insignia for full colonel and master jump wings. The cap was made by a tailor in Saigon.
 
Republic of Vietnam Airborne Colonel Luong Quang Le (far right)
in camouflage "baseball style" cap with metal colonel rank and jump wings accompanied by subdued blossom wreaths on the brim. Note the crown-pointed camouflage cap with rank and wings worn by the captain at far left.
 
      Caps of this type are sometimes referred to as "baseball caps" due to the pattering of cut. Crown-pointed field caps were also worn. Period photographs show that both types were in use by members of any branch of the armed forces. Airborne personnel can be seen wearing both types of caps in a variety of camouflage patterns or olive drab. It was common for members of the airborne, especially officers, to have jump wings and/or rank worn on these caps. The insignia could be either colored or subdued as well as take form of embroidery, sewn on cloth or silk, or affixed metal insignia.
 
Republic of Vietnam Airborne Colonel Phuoc Vinh Truong in camouflage "baseball style" cap with subdued embroidered colonel rank, jump wings, and blossom wreaths.