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.[1], and 20,000 by 1975.[2]


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.[3]

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).[3]


  • 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
      Organization of the Republic of Vietnam Marine Division
  • 147th Marine Brigade (Brigades were numbered after the battalions they contained [4]
    • 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.[5]

    • 14th Marine Battalion
    • 16th Marine Battalion
    • 18th Marine Battalion
    • 4th Marine Artillery Battalion - “Tan Lap”



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.

See also


  1. ^ a b Vietnam Marines 1965-73 (Elite) by Charles Melson (Author), Osprey Publishing (November 26, 1992) ISBN 185532251X
  2. ^ Tran Ngoc Thong, Ho Dac Huan, Le Dinh Thuy (2011). History of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam. ISBN 978-1855322516
  3. ^ a b Brush, Peter (1996). "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. 
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/Vietnam/pbvnmarines.html