Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays !

Christmas trees on sale in Saigon, December 14, 1967.
                  We at RVNHS would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season! We would like to thank all of our Facebook followers and friends for all of their support, and hope all of you can enjoy a pleasant holiday. To highlight this time of year, we would like to share once more this 1969 personal Christmas card from Republic of Vietnam Marine General  Bùi Thế Lân, which we acquired earlier this year. The card is from 1969 when the general was still a colonel. The card was signed by him, and was given to advisors and others who were celebrating the Christmas holiday.
1969 holidays card from then Colonel Bùi Thế Lân, RVNHS Archive.
1969 holidays card from then Colonel Bùi Thế Lân, interior view with signature,
RVNHS Archive.
Bùi Thế Lân as a brigadier general, 1970s.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Nhân Dân Tự Vệ - People's Self Defense Force - VNCH

Postage stamp promoting the People's Self Defense Force, RVNHS Archive.
           The People's Self Defense Force (Nhân Dân Tự Vệ / NDTV) was established in June of 1968. The force was created as a means to arm civilians for self defense against enemy attacks in the wake of the Tet Offensive. People's Self Defense Force units were created throughout the Republic of Vietnam in both rural villages and large cities. The members of the these groups comprised those who were of age, but not currently in military service. A large number of women served in the force as armed combatants alongside male counterparts.

Members of the People's Self Defense Force on patrol
(note the force's insignia on the chest), 1960s.

Female members of the People's Self Defense Force, 1960s.
Postage stamp depicting male and female members of the People's Self Defense Force,
 RVNHS Archive.
           Members of the force received military training, and were given arms and equipment by the armed forces. Some members had previously served in the military, others had not. The precise size and scope of each People's Self Defense Force unit varied depending on the needs of the particular district.
A People's Self Defense Force unit on parade, image courtesy of VNAFMAMN.
Saigon Mayor Do Kien Nhieu presenting arms to newly trained female
People's Self Defense Force members, 1960s.

            Hundreds of thousands of citizens would serve at one point or another during the eight year history of the organization. Some served full-time in the force, others part-time. The nature of the force's activities was defensive. Patrols were mounted by local groups, and security posts on roadways and population centers were operated in support of the regular military forces. However, in times of emergency, People's Self Defense units were mobilized in full and could operate offensively.

Front cover of a People's Self Defense Force member's identification booklet, 1975,
RVNHS Archive.
Interior of a People's Self Defense Force member's identification booklet, 1975,
RVNHS Archive.
A People's Self Defense Force unit on patrol, February 1974, Kien Phong Province.
Postage stamp showing a member of the People's Self Defense Force, RVNHS Archive.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Early Army of the Republic of Vietnam Collar Rank 1950s-60s - QLVNCH

Ngo Dinh Diem with officer at back with early army collar insignia, January 1, 1960,
 courtesy of Getty Images.
            In the early years of the Republic of Vietnam, 1950s to the early 1960s, a collar insignia was worn as part of the dress uniform by soldiers. The insignia consisted of a crossed rifle and sword surmounted by a helmet. It was a standard army branch insignia, and was worn on formal dress uniforms with high standing collars, as well as occasionally on khaki shirt collars. In later years, the formal dress uniform would become a different pattern with a flat lapel collar and no collar branch insignia. In this post we would like to highlight this early insignia by showing examples from the RVNHS Archive.

Early period Army of the Republic of Vietnam collar insignia. Left- bullion, Right- Metal. Circa 1950s-early 1960s, RVNHS Archive.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Quân Trường Đồng Đế - Dong De Military Academy - QLVNCH

Graduation day at the Dong De Military Academy, 1970s.
              The Dong De Military Academy was located in Nha Trang. The academy provided training to non-commissioned officers as well as officer cadets. Specialized training courses were also offered. During its history, thousands would pass through the academy's gate to receive commissions in the military of the Republic of Vietnam.
Dong De Military Academy cadet visor cap and period photo, circa 1960s-70s,
RVNHS Archive.
A cadet at the Dong De Military Academy in formal uniform, 1970s.
             The uniform and insignia worn by cadets at Dong De was similar to that of those at other military academies in the country. The school had a unique shield-shaped insignia, which was worn as a patch on the sleeve in addition to as a badge on visor caps. Formal shoulder epaulettes were black with green fringe, similar to those worn at the Thu Duc Military Academy. The academies of Dong De, Thu Duc, and Dalat together provided the mainstay for the training of officers and non-commissioned officers for the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.
Dong De Military Academy material: School shoulder sleeve patch, textbook, and diploma,
 circa 1960s-70s, RVNHS Archive.
Portrait of cadets of class 10 at the Dong De Military Academy, 1972, RVNHS Archive.
A veteran alumni color guard for the Dong De Military Academy, 2015.