The Republic of Vietnam Marine Division (RVNMD, Vietnamese: Sư Đoàn Thủy Quân Lục Chiến [TQLC]) was part of the armed forces of 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, 15,000 by 1973., and 20,000 by 1975.
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.
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).
A 4th brigade, the 468th, was added to the VNMC in December, 1974.
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, because the unit was US-advised. However, their tigerstripe camouflage uniform was considered genuine and is still a valuable collector's item.
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