Military Wiki
Republic of Vietnam Marine Division
Republic of Vietnam Marine Division SSI.png
Shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1953 – 30 April 1975
Country  South Vietnam
Branch  Republic of Vietnam Navy
Type Marine
Role Amphibious and expeditionary warfare
Size 15,000
Nickname(s) Sea Tigers
Motto(s) Mạnh như sóng thần (Strength as tsunami)

Vietnam War

Republic of Vietnam Marine Division flag Flag of South Vietnam Marine Division.svg

The Republic of Vietnam Marine Division (RVNMD) (Vietnamese language: Sư Đoàn Thủy Quân Lục Chiến

(TQLC)) was part of the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). It was established by Ngo Dinh Diem in 1954 when he was Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam, which became the Republic of Vietnam in 1955. The longest-serving commander was Lieutenant General Le Nguyen Khang. In 1969, the VNMC had a strength of 9,300 and 15,000 by 1973.[1]


The Vietnamese Marine Corps had its origins during French rule of Indochina. The 1949 Franco-Vietnamese Agreement stated that the Vietnamese Armed Forces were to include naval forces whose organization and training would be provided by the French Navy.[2]

In March 1952, the Navy of Vietnam was established. In 1953, the French and Vietnamese governments agreed to increase the size of Vietnamese National Army, so an increase in the size of the Vietnamese Navy was also deemed necessary. As they debated whether the Army or Navy would control the river flotillas, French Vice Admiral Philippe Auboyneau proposed for the first time the organization of a Vietnamese Marine Corps. When the French withdrew from Vietnam in 1954, the Vietnamese Marine Corps was a component of the Vietnamese Navy. The Marine Corps consisted of a headquarters, four river companies, and one battalion landing force. On October 13, 1954, Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem signed a government decree formally creating within the naval establishment a section of infantry, then of brigade strength, later to be designated as the Marine Corps (VNMC).[2]


  • Divisional Units [1]
    • Headquarters Battalion
    • Amphibious Support Battalion
    • Signal Battalion
    • Engineer Battalion
    • Medical Battalion
    • Anti-tank Company
    • Military Police Company
    • Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Company
  • 147th Marine Brigade (Brigades were numbered after the battalions they contained [3]
    • 1st Marine Battalion - “Wild Birds"
    • 4th Marine Battalion - “Killer Sharks”
    • 7th Marine Battalion - “Grey Tigers”
    • 1st Marine Artillery Battalion - “Lightning Fire”
  • 258th Marine Brigade
    • 2nd Marine Battalion - “Crazy Buffaloes”
    • 5th Marine Battalion - “Black Dragons”
    • 8th Marine Battalion - “Sea Eagles”
    • 2nd Marine Artillery Battalion - “Divine Arrows”
  • 369th Marine Brigade
    • 3rd Marine Battalion - “Sea Wolves”
    • 6th Marine Battalion - “Divine Hawks”
    • 9th Marine Battalion - “Ferocious Tigers”
    • 3rd Marine Artillery Battalion - “Divine Crossbows”

A 4th brigade, the 468th, was added to the VNMC in December, 1974.[4]

    • 14th Marine Battalion
    • 16th Marine Battalion
    • 18th Marine Battalion


Major Lê Quang Mỹ (August 1954 - October 1954)
Lt. Colonel Lê Quang Trọng (October 1954 - January 1956)
Major Phạm Văn Liễu (January 1956 - August 1956)
Vice Captain Bùi Phó Chí (August 1956 - October 1956)
Major Lê Như Hùng (October 1956 - May 1960)
Major Le Nguyen Khang (May 1960 - November 1963)
Lt. Colonel Nguyễn Bá Liên (November 1963 - February 1964)
Colonel Le Nguyen Khang (February 1964 - May 1972)
Colonel Bùi Thế Lân (May 1972 - April 1975)


Generally, the VNMC weapons and personal equipments were mostly (if not all) supplied by the United States Marine Corps during the war. However, certain equipment were also routed from the Army as well. The VNMC rarely had any equipment that was RVN genuine, due to the fact that the unit was US-advised. However, their tigerstripe camouflage uniform was considered genuine and is still a valuable collector's item.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Vietnam Marines 1965-73 (Elite) by Charles Melson (Author), Osprey Publishing (November 26, 1992) ISBN 185532251X ISBN 978-1855322516
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brush, Peter (1966). "The Vietnamese Marine Corps". Viet Nam Generation: A Journal of Recent History and Contemporary Issues. Vol. 7 :1-2. pp. 73–77. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  3. Vietnam Marines 1965-73 (Elite), Charles Melson (Author), Paul Hannon (Illustrator), Osprey Publishing, November 26, 1992, ISBN 1-85532-251-X, ISBN 978-1-85532-251-6

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