Allied Participation
in Vietnam

Lieutenant General Stanley Robert Larsen


Brigadier General James Lawton Collins, Jr.


WASHINGTON, D.C. 1985   

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 74-28217

First Printed 1975-CMH Pub 90-5

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S., Government Printing Office
Washington DC 20402


The United States Army has met an unusually complex challenge in Southeast Asia. In conjunction with the other services, the Army has fought in support of a national policy of assisting an emerging nation to develop governmental processes of its own choosing, free of outside coercion. In addition to the usual problems of waging armed conflict, the assignment in Southeast Asia has required superimposing the immensely sophisticated tasks of a modern army upon an underdeveloped environment and adapting them to demands covering a wide spectrum. These involved helping to fulfill the basic needs of an agrarian population, dealing with the frustrations of antiguerrilla operations, and conducting conventional campaigns against well-trained and determined regular units.

It is as always necessary for the US Army to continue to prepare for other challenges that may lie ahead. While cognizant that history never repeats itself exactly and that no army ever profited from trying to meet a new challenge in terms of the old one, the Army nevertheless stands to benefit immensely from a study of its experience, its shortcomings no less than its achievements.

Aware that some years must elapse before the official histories will provide a detailed and objective analysis of the experience in Southeast Asia, we have sought a forum whereby some of the more salient aspects of that experience can be made available now. At the request of the Chief of Staff, a representative group of senior officers who served in important posts in Vietnam and who still carry a heavy burden of day-to-day responsibilities has prepared a series of monographs. These studies should be of great value in helping the Army develop future operational concepts while at the same time contributing to the historical record and providing the American public with an interim report on the performance of men and officers who have responded, as others have through our history, to exacting and trying demands.

All monographs in the series are based primarily on official records, with additional material from published and unpublished secondary works, from debriefing reports and interviews with key participants, and from the personal experience of the author. To facilitate security clearance, annotation and detailed


bibliography have been omitted from the published version; a fully documented account with bibliography is fled with the Office of the Chief of Military History.

The reader should be reminded that most of the writing was accomplished while the war in Vietnam was at its peak, and the monographs frequently refer to events of the past as if they were taking place in the present.

Brigadier General James Lawton Collins, Jr., presently the Chief of Military History, US Army, has the wealth of experience required to tell the story of allied participation in the Vietnam War. After having served in Korea as the Assistant Commander, I Corps (Group) Artillery, General Collins had two tours of duty in Vietnam that involved close liaison with all nations participating in the allied effort. In 1964 he was assigned as the senior U.S. adviser to the Vietnamese Regional Forces and Popular Forces, and in May 1965 was named Special Assistant to the Commander, US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. In the latter capacity General Collins was the personal representative of General Westmoreland to the Vietnamese Joint General Staff on all matters pertaining to the co-ordination of U.S., Vietnamese, and allied forces operations. For his outstanding service in Vietnam, the Republic of Vietnam awarded him the National Order and the Army Distinguished Service Medal, two of its most coveted awards.

Washington, D. C.
1 May 1974
Major General, USA
The Adjutant General



More than forty nations provided assistance to the Republic of Vietnam in its struggle against North Vietnam. This aid ranged from economic and technical assistance to educational and humanitarian contributions. Hundreds of Free World civilians worked in Vietnam as doctors, teachers, and technical specialists. Eight nations also provided military assistance. The flags of these Free World countries-the United States, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of China, and Spain-flew alongside the colors of the Republic of Vietnam at the headquarters of the Free World Military Assistance Forces in Saigon. The military contributions of these nations included combat troops, army medical teams, and individual political warfare advisers. The degree of assistance and co-operation among the concerned Free World nations resulted from years of work and involvement. While many nations expressed sympathy for the plight of South Vietnam, aid did not always come easily, quickly, or to the extent desired. Many nations, beset by their own internal economic and political problems, could do little to help; others did nothing. The story of the efforts of the contributing nations and the efforts to enlist their aid is the subject of this monograph.

The members of the Sixth Army Historical Staff, under the guidance of Mr. Herbert Avedon, Sixth Army Historian, gave generous assistance in putting together those elements of the monograph that refer to Korean activities after 1 August 1967. Without their detailed research and helpful suggestions the story of the Koreans in Vietnam would have taken much longer to complete. The revision of the Korean part of the manuscript owes much to the skill of Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Focer, Headquarters, U.S. Army, Pacific.

For their efforts in researching and drafting other chapters in this volume thanks are due especially to Dr. Richard A. Hunt, who helped to assemble the monograph in its final form, overseeing its progress through the staff and contributing to the first chapter; Lieutenant Colonel John E. Eshelman, U.S. Army, who helped to launch the volume; and Loretto C. Stevens, who gave skilled editorial assistance. Their work and support made the his


tory of the Allied effort in Vietnam immeasurably less difficult to tell.

Washington, D. C.
1 May 1974
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army

Brigadier General, U.S. Army



Chapter    Page
I. THE BACKGROUND, 1961-1966 1
Early Negotiations for Aid to Vietnam 2
Free World Troops in Vietnam, 1965-1966 14
Beginnings of Thai Assistance 26
Thai Operations 45
Last Years of Assistance 48
History of Philippine Aid 53
Pacification Efforts 76
The Thanh Dien Refuge Resettlement Project 83
The Korean Commitment 120
Operational Control of Korean Troops 131
Initial Developments 135
Results of Korean Combat Operations 147
Evaluation of Korean Operations 151
Tactics 154
Ambushes 156
Pacification Efforts 157
Far East 161
Middle East 163
Africa 164
Europe 164
North America 168
Latin America 168


No      Page
1. Strength of Free World Military Assistance Forces, 1964-1970 23
2. Location, Strength, and Mission of New Zealand Forces, June 1969 110


1. Organization of Royal Thai Army Volunteer Force, 25 January 1968 39
2. Royal Thai Forces, Vietnam 43
3. Philippine Civic Action Group, Vietnam 63
4. Organization of Philippine Contingent, Vietnam 75
5. Republic of China Military Assistance Group, Vietnam 118


1. Royal Thai Forces, Vietnam, August 1969 45
2. Concept of Ben Cam Operation, Royal Thai Army Volunteer Force, 24 November  4 December 1969 46
3. 1st Philippine Civic Action Group, Vietnam, Disposition, 1967 61
4. 1st Philippine Civic Action Group, Vietnam, Tay Ninh Province, 1967 84
5. Community Plan, Thanh Dien Resettlement Project 86
6. Australia-New Zealand Area of Responsibility, Phuoc Tuy Province, 1969 102
7. Korean Corps Area of Responsibility, December 1966 132


Soldiers of the Queen's Cobras Conduct a Search and Sweep Mission in Phuoc Tho 33
Troops of Royal Thai Black Panther Division Dock at Newport, Vietnam 44
Royal Thai Flag Is Carried Down Gangplank of USS Okinagon 44
Thai Soldiers Board C-130 at Long Thanh for Trip Home 50
Lieutenant General William B Rosson Presents Meritorious Unit Citation to Thai Panther Division 50
Philippine Security Troops Rebuild a Base Camp Bunker 62
Philippine Civic Action Group Member Distributes Medicines 78
Philippine Group Clears Debris After Viet Cong Mortar Hit 80
Entertainers of Philippine Group Play to Villagers 82
Troops of Royal Australian Regiment After Arrival at Tan Son Nhut Airport 91
Living Quarters at an Australian Fire Support Base 92
Australian Soldier Mans Machine Gun Position 94
Members of Australian Civic Action Team Confer With Village Officials 95
Soldier of Royal Australian Regiment Pauses During Sweep of Cultivated Area Around a Village 100
Members of Royal New Zealand Artillery Carry Out a Fire Mission 104
Australian Civil Affairs Team Member Treats Village Boy 107
Soldier of Royal New Zealand Army Cooks His Lunch 109
Australian Soldier Searches for Enemy in Hoa Long Village 111
Soldier of Royal Australian Regiment With M60 112
Royal Australian Air Force Civic Action Team Moves Out Past Vietnamese Temples to Mung Due 114
Korean Marines Prepare Defensive Positions 137
Field Command Headquarters of Republic of Korea Force, Vietnam 139
Korean Troops Use Chart to Show Villagers Types of Viet Gong Booby Traps 144
Korean Soldiers Search the Jungle Near Qui Nhon for Viet Cong 147
Color Guard Displays Flags at Ceremonies 154
General Creighton W Abrams Presents Bronze Stars to Soldiers of the Tiger Division 155
Medic of Tiger Division Treats Village Boy 157
Korean Instructor in Tae-kwon-do Watches Vietnamese Practice After Class 158

All illustrations are from the Department of Defense files The emblem on the front and back covers of the soft-back edition symbolizes the Free World Military Assistance Forces in Vietnam.

page created 18 December 2002

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