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 Does Anybody Know What Weapons Were Carried by ROK Forces during Vietnam? Lots of History - THX Tom
Rocksarge  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 12:41:35 PM EDT
I am interested if they used the M16, Daewoo, or Garand
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AKSU  [Member]
5/25/2010 12:43:05 PM EDT
M1 Garands
motown_steve  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 12:43:54 PM EDT
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?
Riply21  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 12:44:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?
And were quite feared the north Vietnamese would avoid them.

Rocksarge  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 12:44:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?

Rocksarge  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 12:45:16 PM EDT
so there's a chance my Garand could have seen WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. NICE!!!
Originally Posted By AKSU:
M1 Garands

ColtD1911  [Member]
5/25/2010 12:45:18 PM EDT
Originally Posted By motown_steve:

The Koreans fought in Vietnam?

320,000 did.

skygod  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 12:45:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?
KJCA3  [Member]
5/25/2010 12:46:46 PM EDT
I did not know that! learn something new everyday i would love to read some history on this, guess google is about ot be my friend
Riply21  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 12:46:53 PM EDT
They started with m1s rifles and carbines then later received m16s.
motown_steve  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 12:47:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ColtD1911:
Originally Posted By motown_steve:

The Koreans fought in Vietnam?

320,000 did.

No shit?

Learn something new every day.
mmsurber  [Member]
5/25/2010 12:49:55 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Riply21:
They started with m1s rifles and carbines then later received m16s.

I believe this is true. Lots of WW2 surplus were used by us and our allies.
Rick-OShay  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 12:54:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Riply21:

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?
And were quite feared the north Vietnamese would avoid them.

The turks as well....

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osprey21  [Life Member]
5/25/2010 12:55:11 PM EDT
The ROK had two divisions and a Marine brigade in Vietnam (2nd largest foreign troop numbers in country), and they were considered top-notch fighters. By mid war they carried M16's for the most part.
GI-45  [Member]
5/25/2010 1:01:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:
Originally Posted By Riply21:

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?
And were quite feared the north Vietnamese would avoid them.

The turks as well....

Now that I did not know.

monkeyman  [Member]
5/25/2010 1:06:20 PM EDT
About 60K ANZACs fought in VN also.
FightingHellfish  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:08:35 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:
Originally Posted By Riply21:

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?
And were quite feared the north Vietnamese would avoid them.

The turks as well....

Is there a history fail icon?

Both the Turks and the Greeks did have battallions in the Korean War though.
piccolo  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:09:24 PM EDT
it was said (by US troops, noless) that ROK Marines had muscles in their very shit.
Lakemoor  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:09:31 PM EDT
ROK soldiers were paid the same amount as Americans which was a lot of dough back then according to my dad. Korea was very poor during that time period. Apparantly lot of South Koreans volunteered to go to get that pay.

Another thing I read was that ROK troops didn't follow all the rules of war. Lot of bad things happened at their hands.
Screechjet1  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:10:04 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:
Originally Posted By Riply21:

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?
And were quite feared the north Vietnamese would avoid them.

The turks as well....

I do believe you mean, Korea, where the Turks did quite well.

Riply21  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:12:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FightingHellfish:
Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:
Originally Posted By Riply21:

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?
And were quite feared the north Vietnamese would avoid them.

The turks as well....

Is there a history fail icon?

Both the Turks and the Greeks did have battallions in the Korean War though.
He may be thinking about the group called the "young Turks" but they had nothing to do with the Turks.

tominjax  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:14:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
Originally Posted By ColtD1911:
Originally Posted By motown_steve:

The Koreans fought in Vietnam?

320,000 did.

No shit?

Learn something new every day.

My Dad has told me stories about them. He said that when ROK soldiers were in the area that the VC would get the hell out. He says the ROK soldiers would cut a ear off of their kills and hang it on their belts or something like that. They were very feared by the North Vietnamese.
Screechjet1  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:14:18 PM EDT

I'm pretty sure the sizable non-US Free World contigents were:

1) ROKs
3) Filipinos
4) Thais
5) ROCs

Most of these were SOF or SOF equivilents, though the ROKs and ANZACs had their regular line units in addition to the SOF, but those were either picked units (ROK) or just very good normally (ANZAC). This of course, ignores the many foreigners in US formations, to include a number of Canadians.
Garand_Shooter  [Dealer]
5/25/2010 1:15:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ColtD1911:
Originally Posted By motown_steve:

The Koreans fought in Vietnam?

320,000 did.

And they fight alongside us in Afghanistan today.

The ROK has been a pretty steadfast ally.
Rick-OShay  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:16:00 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:
Originally Posted By Riply21:

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?
And were quite feared the north Vietnamese would avoid them.

The turks as well....

I do believe you mean, Korea, where the Turks did quite well.

You are right - my bad...

tominjax  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:21:05 PM EDT
ROK Army and Marines prove to be rock-solid fighters and allies in Vietnam War

The United States did not fight alone in the Vietnam-Laos Wars. Six nations and many indigenous peoples from the region fought with her. One of those was the Republic of Korea (ROK). The Koreans started arriving shortly after the US Marines in 1965, they kept coming, and they stayed and fought until the end, in 1973. At their peak, they had close to 50,000 boots on the ground, the second largest foreign force to fight for the RVN. Over 300,000 served. About 5,000 died. This was the ROK's first military action abroad. It came only 17 years after the republic was formed, only 16 after its fledgling new constabulary was formed, and only 12 after the Korean War concluded. They fought hard. Their enemy, our enemy, paid a dear price for engaging them.

US Army Sergeant Walter Mangelsen, tall soldier in the rear center, Major Bolcar, crouched in front of him, with fellow Republic of Korean (ROK) soldiers in front of a 106 mm recoilless gun, Republic of Vietnam (RVN), summer 1966. Photo provided by Sgt. Mangelsen, presented by Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

July 12, 2006


Active American involvement in Vietnam and Laos began during the Truman administration in the 1950s.

Then, on March 8, 1965, after more than ten years of various levels and mixtures of counter-insurgency and conventional ground and air operations, US Marine Corps Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, the 3-9 Marines, waded ashore at Red Beach, about 10 miles from Danang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

Marines from BLT 3/9 came ashore on March 8, 1965 at Red Beach 2, northwest of Danang. USMC Photo A183676. Presented by ehistory at The Ohio State University.

Marines from the 1st Battalion, 3d Marines disembark from U.S. Air Force C-130 transports at the Danang Airbase on March 8, 1965. Presented by ehistory at The Ohio State University.

That same afternoon, the BLT 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 1-3 Marines, landed at Danang by C-130 transport from Okinawa. The lead aircraft received ground-based sniper fire but landed safely.

These Marines were the first official US ground combat forces put into Vietnam. In theory, all the troops who came before were advisors, and the air units were air units. No matter what the suits in Washington called them, they were US military and a bunch of them died fighting. The Marines, however, were not sent to advise anyone. They were sent to fight the communist enemies from North Vietnam Army (NVA)and their local militia side-kicks known as the Viet Cong, the VC.

Our guess is that few Americans, and perhaps few Koreans, realize that close behind the arrival of the US Marines in Vietnam were the arrivals of one Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Division and one ROK Marine Corps Brigade. They started landing in the RVN during September and October 1965. They also did not come to advise anyone. They came to fight against the NVA and VC.

By the end of 1966, just one year later, the ROK had deployed the second largest foreign force to Vietnam, behind the US.

The names of the Korean Killed In Action (KIA) in Vietnam are engraved on black marble stone, classified by units to which the deceased belonged during the Vietnam War, at the Korean War Memorial, Seoul, ROK. Presented by Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

At their peak, the Koreans had close to 50,000 boots on the ground, the second largest foreign force to fight for the RVN. . All together, over 300,000 South Koreans served throughout the war. All ROK forces were volunteers. About 5,000 of them died in combat in Vietnam, and nearly 11,000 were injured or wounded.

The Koreans did not cut and run when the going got tough. The cease-fire went into effect on January 30, 1973. They stayed until the bitter end, February - March 1973. The contributions of the brave Korean soldiers, Marines and aviators to the war effort were awesome. Their willingness to work with American forces were notable and worth remembering. We Americans owe them a great deal of gratitude. Next time you see a South Korean citizen, thank them for their sacrifice in Vietnam on behalf of our grateful nation.

Brief history to put ROK achievements into context

We must recall that the ROK became a nation-state in 1948, just 17 years earlier than its first combat deployment abroad, to Vietnam.

The Korean peninsula had been occupied by the Japanese since about 1910. When the Japanese were defeated in WWII, the Soviet Army moved into the northern half of the peninsula almost immediately, while the US occupied the south. Much of the country, north and south, faced extreme poverty.

On September 9, 1945, the Japanese flag was lowered in Seoul, soldiers standing at ease, while the flag of the United States was being hoisted, soldiers at attention and presenting arms.

In November 1945, the US Military Government in Korea was set up. Lt. General John R. Hodge was pulled from Okinawa and named the Commander, US Army Forces in Korea (USAFIK), and thereby became essentially southern Korea's chief executive.

At the time, there was considerable controversy in the US on how to handle southern Korea. The US was focused on Japan and wanted little to do with southern Korea at the time. Not only was Japan far more important to the US, many senior American officials were unsure with whom they were dealing in Korea, and were not well-versed in Korean affairs. The history of this period is fascinating and eye-opening.

In early 1946, USAFIK implemented the "Bamboo Plan." This plan set up the Korean Constabulary. This constabulary formed the basis of the ROK Army, ROKA. Men who served with the Japanese army were brought into the constabulary, and communists from the North infiltrated it. Its 1st Regiment was formed in Seoul right away.

In 1948, the North Korean Provisional Government run by the Soviets announced the activation of an army. In response, the US declared the formation of the ROK as a nation-state. That became official on August 15, 1948. Regiments 2-8 of the constabulary were organized in each province in 1949. As a result, the ROK National Armed Force organization was in its fledgling stages.

The political maneuvering and history during this period merit study. It is remarkable that any kind of ROK fighting force could be built under the conditions that endured during these times. In 1949, the last US occupation forces left Korea, leaving a 500-man advisory group behind. The US wanted out and got out.

The Soviets, entrenched in the north, had always wanted to own all the Korean peninsula, they equipped and supplied the North Korean Army, and gave it the green light to invade the ROK. That army did so on June 25, 1950.

The newly formed ROK Army (ROKA) had 95,000 men and eight divisions, but they were vastly outnumbered, outgunned, and surprised, and the Americans were gone.

Exhausted South Korean infantry stretch during a lull in the fighting, July 7, 1950. Photo: U.S. Army. Source: D.M. Giangreco, War in Korea: 1950-1953 (Presidio Press). Presented by the Truman Library.

Understandably, the ROKA was under-trained, under-equipped, oft poorly led, and riven with political partisanship, subversion, and factionalism.

24th Infantry Division troops of Task Force Smith at Taejon railroad station on July 2, 1950. Photo: U.S. Army. Source: D.M. Giangreco, War in Korea: 1950-1953 (Presidio Press). Presented by Veterans Hour.

The US military force at home had been disassembled following WWII. The US rushed a few unprepared battalions from Japan to the peninsula. At this point in time, the ROK was in deep trouble.

A South Korean soldier comforts a wounded buddy before he is evacuated, July 28, 1950. Photo: Department of Defense. Source: Truman Library.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the ROKA and its few American allies took a beating through the first months of the 1950 invasion. Seoul, for example, was captured almost immediately, on June 28, 1950.

Presented by PBS.

By the end of July, North Korean forces had pushed US and ROK forces to the southeast sector of the ROK where they dug in at what became known as the Pusan Perimeter. The truth is that General MacArthur understood the allied force in Korea was in trouble, and as a result set up the Pusan Perimeter concept: withdraw fighting all the way, reinforce and supply the Perimeter from home (Pusan was a very capable port facility), draw the North Korean logistics lines as far as they could go, make a stand and then push them back.

Presented by PBS.

We'll not go into the details of the war other than to say that when the US 8th Army decided to break out of the Pusan Perimeter on September 16, 1950, the ROK I and II Corps were already in position on the northern side of the Perimeter, cocked and ready to go.

Presented by PBS.

While it is true that parts of the North Korean invasion force were battle tested as the result of serving in the Chinese, Japanese and Soviet armies during WWII, they endured a melt-down once the allies broke out of the Pusan Perimeter. They were not the die-hard tough guys many have made them out to be.

The ROK I Corps with the Tiger Division crossed the 38th parallel to the east in late September and early October, capturing Wonson port. The ROK II Corps crossed just thereafter through central North Korea. The US 8th Army followed. A ROKA regiment was the first to reach the Yalu River on the border with China. Much of the allied force approached the Chinese border and MacArthur was itching to cross in. The suits in Washington did not want a fight with the Chinese, and refused the advance. In response, the Chinese crossed and attacked, sending the allied force into a most difficult fighting withdrawal. Interestingly, the Soviets started the fight, the Chinese vowed to finish it, and the Soviets would have received little in return.

By late 1951 - early 1952, a host of actions that had been in train to build up the ROKA took hold, and the ROKs fought with great aggressiveness and valor through the end. Dr. Bryan Robert Gibby, writing
"Fighting in a Korean War: The American advisory missions from 1946-1953," said this:

"By the end of the war, Koreans were bearing a military burden that was inconceivable just two years earlier. It is improbable that an armistice agreement could have been signed without a demonstration of their increased fighting ability."

As we all know, the Chinese pushed back the allies south of the 38th parallel, and the net result was stalemate. The Armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. ROKA had lost 257,000 soldiers in this war. That said, South Korea became a successful and vibrant nation and North Korea became what it was before the war started, an impoverished, nearly failed-state.

The point of this history, from the perspective of this report, is that just 12 years after the Armistice, the ROK found itself sending two premier combat infantry divisions, one hardened Marine brigade, and assorted support personnel to fight in Vietnam in an alliance with the US and others. For those who understand military evolution, that the ROK could undertake this kind of contribution is a major historical milestone.

Republic of Korea National Cemetery, named Dongzak Dong, equivalent to our National Cemetery at Arlington. Presented by

Much of ROK military history in Vietnam is reflected on the web site of the
Vietnam Veterans of Korea. We have worked hard not duplicate what they have done. We have corresponded frequently with Mr. Jae S. Chung, the webmaster for the English site. He has been very helpful. Thanks Jae.

US Army Lt. General Stanley R. Larsen and Brigadier General James L. Collins, Jr. have assembled a terrific
study of allied participation in Vietnam for the Department of the Army. It was published in 1985. It has a very informative section on the ROK’s contribution. We commend both of these sources to your attention.

The national flags of the Republic of Korea, Republic of Vietnam, and United States flying at Da Nang Air Base, RVN, 1968. Presented by


ROK President Syngman Rhee offered to send a ROKA element to Vietnam as early as 1954. Rhee said he was concerned about the spread of communism and the impact events in Vietnam might have on North Korea (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea - DPRK). The timing of his offer was not good. He made this offer less than a year after the Armistice Agreement was signed effectively ending the Korean War. The US was, in 1954, not ready to go at it again with ground forces in Vietnam. The US also did not want to deplete ROK forces protecting the country following the war. The year of his offer was also the same year the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam. US involvement in Vietnam was in its very early and indecisive stages. As a result, the US State Department turned down the offer.

What a difference a decade makes. In May 1964, Major General Norman B. Edwards, Chief, US Joint Military Advisory Group, Korea, began preliminary planning to send a Korean Mobile Army Surgical Hospital to Vietnam. The Korean Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the United Nations Command (UNC) agreed. A survey team of six Korean and five US officers left the ROK in August 1964 for Vietnam. In September an agreement was reached for the Koreans to send and operate a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit in the RVN. The deployment of the ROK Army (ROKA) 1st MASH began in September 1964, first activated at Vung Tau.

We have several photos of the MASH unit people provided by Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

100th Logistics Command "Southern Cross"

Peace Dove Division, Engineers, transporters, logistics security, service, and 1st ROK MASH


Naval Transport Group "Sea Gull Unit"

Aerial Support Group

The ROK Military Assistance Group, Vietnam (ROK-MAG-V), and what came to be known as the “Peace Dove Unit” were set up between February and June 1965. It would consist of 2,416 men and women from a Korean construction support group ("Pigeon Unit"), a Korean Marine Corps engineer company, Korean Navy Tank Landing Ships (LSTs) and Landing Ships Mechanized (LSMs), and a Korean Army security company. This would grow in short order to an Army engineer battalion; an Army transport company; a Marine engineer company; one LST with crew; a security battalion; a service unit; a liaison group, and a mobile hospital (already in Vietnam). An aerial support group was set up later.

ROK-MAG(V) was headquartered at Bien Hoa, near Saigon. The "Peace Doves" built many school buildings, freeways, roads, and bridges for the Vietnamese in the RVN.

The ROK then sent three combat divisions to the RVN over a 12 month period starting in September 1965. The Koreans were willing to send a ROK Air Force (ROKAF) F-86 fighter squadron but that did not happen. There has been much written about why the ROK agreed to send such a large combat force to Vietnam. Much of this has centered on the needs the ROK had for American financial help at home and the positive impact that such a deployment would have on the ROK economy. That's all politics and we'll shy away from those kinds of discussions here.

We will comment, however, that the US commander in Vietnam wanted ROK help for military reasons.

In a June 13, 1965 telegram from General Westmoreland, Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (COMUSMACV) to Admiral Sharp, the Commander in Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC), Westmoreland, among other things, said this:

"MACV has asked for added forces (previously). These consist of two battalions to round out the 3d Marine Division, a ROK division, an airmobile division, the retention of the 173d Airborne Brigade, tactical fighters and a corps headquarters plus combat and logistic support forces. We have also flagged the possibility of additional forces ... II corps has a hopelessly large area to cover with the meager forces available ... The 23d Division is scattered so widely that it cannot react in strength to VC attacks against isolated province capitals and district towns. We are greatly concerned that such towns as Ham Tan in Binh Tuy and Gia Nghia in Quang Duc and even Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan may be attacked. (Army of the Republic of Vietnam - ARVN) Corps commanders without adequate reserves have shown conclusive evidence that they will move timidly and too late in a piecemeal manner upon the event of a VC heavy attack. This is resulting in the loss of ARVN battalions faster than they can be organized, trained and equipped. II Corps requires heavy reinforcements. We have asked for an infantry brigade, an airmobile division and a ROK division."

He then went on to say that his plan was to use the ROKs to secure Qui Nhon and Cam Ranh Bay. (We'll show you a map in a moment) That would enable him to send a brigade of the 1st US Infantry Division, "Big Red One," to the general area of Highway 19 to secure it, which in turn would enable him to get US forces in and out of the Central Highlands of Pleiku and Kontum provinces, and to supply them. He commented:

"The fact is that Highway 19 must be kept open."

Capital "Tiger" Division

9th "White Horse" Division

2nd Marine "Blue Dragon" Brigade

The ROKs exceeded Westmoreland's expectations. They sent the Capital "Tiger Division" to Qui Nhon, and the 2nd Marine "Blue Dragon" Brigade to Cam Ranh Bay and then to Tuy Hoa to get things started in 1965. Then, starting in April 1966, they sent in the 9th ROK "White Horse" Division. Once done, the Marine Brigade could move into the northernmost I Corps to join with the US III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF). In turn, the Koreans created a Korean Army Corps that extended from Binh Dinh Province south to Ninh Thuan Province along the RVN's coastline.

The Capital "Tiger" Division was responsible for Binh Dinh Province, while the 9th "White Horse" Division was responsible for Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa and Ninh Thuan provinces, all in II Corps. The Blue Dragon Marine Brigade was positioned at Cam Ran Bay, in southeastern Khan Hoa Province, then moved to Tuy Hoa, then moved to I Corps. Presented by Shukhevych in Open Diary.

We don't want to get too bogged down in organizational stuff, but a few organizational comments should be made.

When he arrived in Saigon on August 21, 1965, Major General Chae Myung Shin was already wearing at least two hats. First, he was the commander of all Korean forces in Vietnam, known as ROK Forces Vietnam, or ROKFV, kind of an administrative and political job. Second, he commanded the Capital "Tiger" Division, a purely combat job. His role would expand quickly.

By the end of 1965, the Capital Army Infantry Division and 2nd Marine Brigade were largely in place. The 9th ROK White Horse Infantry Division would arrive during the fall of 1966. Once that became fact, at the recommendation of General Westmoreland, the Koreans established a Korean Army Corps Headquarters in Nha Trang, RVN to command and control the two ROK Army Divisions. The Marine Brigade would work with III MAF, which commanded I Corps.

As a result, General Chae commanded ROKFV, the Korean Corps, and the Tiger Division. After setting up and taking over the Korean Corps, he was promoted to lieutenant general.

Commanding General of ROKF-V, Lt. General Chae Myung Shin. General Chae is carrying two different unit patches, one on his right arm is ROKF-V HQ and the other on left is Maengho (Tiger Division). Presented by Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

At some point soon thereafter, Major General Yoo Byung-hyun (shown in this photo to the right) took over the Tiger Division, leaving General Chae in command of ROKFV and the Korean Corps. Wearing his ROKFV hat, General Chae had command responsibilities over the 2nd Marine Brigade as well, but operationally, that brigade responded to operational requests from the III MAF and I Corps commander, at the time Lt. General Walt, USMC.

We'll pause for just a moment. General Yoo Byung-hyun's name gets spelled several different ways. He used "Byong H. Lew," we believe, mostly with Americans. He would ultimately rise to the rank of four-star general and become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the ROK military. Following his retirement, he served as the ROK ambassador to the US from 1980-1985.

This is a photo circa June 1967 of Lt. James Michener, USA who served as General Lew's pilot, taking him in and out of the places where his Tiger Division forces were located.

Command and control, especially among allies, is always complicated. There were many discussions during the course of the early years on this subject. There are two important things to remember about the arrangements as they ended up.

Once set up, the Korean Corps co-located with the HQ ROKFV in the same building at Nha Trang, RVN. This ROK HQ was close to the Headquarters US I Field Force, a US Army Corps-level command, responsible for II Corps, also at Nha Trang. This enabled the US and ROK leadership to coordinate easily. The Koreans also maintained a headquarters in Saigon to assure they got their oar in with the Americans, South Vietnamese and other allies on the "political" and "strategy" fronts.

Field Command Headquarters of the Republic of Korea Force, Vietnam, at Nha Trang, RVN. Presented by US Army.

In effect, the RVN’s coast of II Corps became Korean country. At the risk of oversimplifying a complex war, ROKA responsibility for such a large section of coastline in II Corps freed the US and others to concentrate on the central highlands, just to the west, most significantly Pleiku and Kontum provinces. By late 1964, NVA and VC had worn down the ARVN, which is why General Westmoreland said he needed reinforcements for II Corps. A significant part of the NVA strategy was to split the central highlands in half, and then defeat the allies in each half. They did not succeed.

There has been much written about what ferocious fighters the Koreans were in this war. That they were, ferocious and steadfast, as you will see. They did not come to Vietnam to play marbles, and the enemy was scared to death of engaging them. There have also been allegations of their committing crimes against humanity. We'll not comment on that. We will simply tell you what the ROK code of conduct was during this war. It was as follows:

"To the enemy, be courageous and fearful. To the Vietnamese people, behave with kindness and warmness. To our allies, show them we are well disciplined and reliable."

We will also say that the general officers in the Korean military echoed this code publicly and frequently.

A ROK Nurse, rank 1st Lt., and a technician provide medical treatment to a captured Viet Cong at the 102nd ROK Evacuation Hospital, Nha Trang. Presented by the Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

The official US military history on ROK participation in the Vietnam War says this:

“In summary, it appears that Korean operations in Vietnam were highly professional, well planned, and thoroughly executed; limited in size and scope, especially in view of assets made available; generally unilateral and within the Korean tactical area of responsibility; subject to domestic political considerations; and highly successful in terms of kill ratio.”

We believe this to be an understatement. Some US military commanders complained that the ROKs were too limited in the size and scope of their operations, and some believed they stood down too long between operations, and that they spent too much time planning their operations.

ROK Color Guard displays flags at ceremonies commemorating the third anniversary of Korean forces in Vietnam. Presented by US Army.

That said, nearly all will agree that the story of the ROK military in Vietnam resides in its very high kill ratio of enemy killed to Koreans lost and the stark fear these courageous war fighters brought to the hearts of the enemy. Captured enemy documents reflect that the enemy worked hard to avoid the Koreans, and were told to stay away from them unless they were sure of victory. You will see victory against the ROKs in Vietnam could never be assured, even when the ROKs were vastly outnumbered and engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Somehow, in most instances, the ROKs would emerge the victors and the battlefield would be strewn with dead enemy.

The story of the ROK military in Vietnam is also one of intense combined operations with Americans, most especially helicopter units that carried them in and out of combat assaults. The ROKs earned great respect from the Americans with whom they fought.

Finally, the story is one where ROK military actions enabled US ground forces to be used elsewhere; they opened avenues of attack for the Americans to attack into other areas; and, when combined with American and allied forces, the ROKs added a highly lethal and trustworthy dimension.

There were differences between some US commanders and the ROK senior leadership on the best way to employ the ROK force. The ROKs very much favored small unit operations, aggressive offensive raids on isolated targets, offensive ambushes, especially at night, and, because of their martial arts expertise, they felt they had a distinct advantage in close hand-to-hand combat, which was most certainly true. Some US commanders tended to favor larger scale operations conducted more frequently, and Americans were not trained as well in close quarters combat.

Whatever the case, the Koreans found their niche and killed a great many enemy as a result.

Their overall approach was designed around the individual company. They trained their combat companies to be independent. They designed their tactical company bases to support this approach. We want to show you a few photos of this design, presented by the Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

This photo shows the design of a Tiger Division company base. You can see the outer circle which was made of wire entanglements and heavily fortified barriers. By heavily fortified, the Koreans meant the barriers had napalm, illumination mines, barbed wire and claymore mines.

Extensive and very solidly built trenches surrounded the base inside the outer circle, with many of the trenches ending up at the outer circle.

This is a graphic sketching the design. The tactical operations center was in the middle, along with a landing zone (LZ) for helicopter resupply and medevac. You can see the trench system was designed to enable crisscrossing fields of view and fire.

This is another nice photo of a ROK firebase. We're not sure which outfit used it, but believe fliers saw it frequently on their way to runway 33 at Phu Cat. If that is correct, then it was a Capital "Tiger" Division base. Photo presented by 361st Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (TEWS), 1970-71, "aerial Photos."

One more very important point must be made. The ROK, and for that matter, the American commitments to Vietnam were made understanding they created heightened risks to the security of South Korea. The communist government in Pyongyang, North Korea took note of that. The Korean DMZ area, and the offshore islands, had been hot zones since the end of the Korean War. Infiltration by communist agents had also been problematic These were the realities of living adjacent to a hostile North Korea. But during the Vietnam War years, the North Koreans stepped up their harassments to very dangerous levels.

USS Pueblo docked in Pyongyang, capital of communist North Korea. The North Koreans give tours of this hijacked ship. They call it the "armed spy ship of the US imperialist aggression forces." Presented by Neil Mishalov.

On January 23, 1968, North Korean naval vessels and MiG fighter aircraft attacked and captured the USS Pueblo electronic intelligence ship in international waters off the coast of North Korea, and towed it to Wonson harbor. The enemy killed one American, captured 82 remaining crew, held them prisoners for 11 months, and kept the ship. The 7th Fleet wanted to sail into Wonson harbor, take back the Pueblo, and inflict whatever damage to the harbor that was necessary. There were other more aggressive plans, including some involving nuclear attack. All of them were rejected by the suits in Washington. The enemy in North Korea holds the ship to this day and the US has never retaliated.

US Navy EC-121M "Warning Star," designated by the Navy WV-2/3. Presented by Wikipedia.

On April 15, 1969, two North Korean MiG fighter aircraft shot down an unarmed US Navy EC-121M electronic intelligence aircraft over international waters of the Sea of Japan, about 90 nautical miles from the North Korean coast. All 31 crew were lost. The aircraft and crew were from Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One (VQ-1), Atsugi Naval Air Station, Japan. Both the North Koreans and Russians knew that the aircraft was well over international waters when engaged and shot down. Once again, the US decided not to retaliate.

In addition, the North Koreans attempted to assassinate ROK President Park Chung Hee in 1968 and again in 1974. The 1968 attempt was made two days before the seizure of the Pueblo.

In October 1968, the enemy in the North infiltrated the eastern coast of South Korea in a failed mission; 110 enemy were killed, seven were captured, and 13 fled. North Korean agents infiltrated Huksan Island on the west coast in November 1969, and 15 were killed. North Korean intruders ambushed and killed four US Army soldiers near the southern boundary of the demilitarized zone, also in October 1969.

On December 11, 1969, North Korean agents hijacked a Korean Airlines YS-11 commercial airline and forced it to land at Wonson, North Korea. The aircraft was damaged on landing. There were 51 persons aboard; 31 were released in February 1970. To our knowledge the remaining 12 including crew were not repatriated.

While the North Koreans did not dare invade the ROK in force, they made life miserable for American and ROK troops deployed to the Korean DMZ. American military men died in the process and the DMZ was declared a combat zone. Richard Kolb, writing
"Fighting Brush Fires on Korea's DMZ" published by the March 1992 issue of VFW Magazine, said this:

"Overshadowed by a more pressing war and largely concealed by Washington, the brush fire war that flared along Korea’s Demilitarized Zone in the 1960s went virtually unnoticed by the U.S. public ... Dennis Kulak, who served with the 2nd Infantry Division in 1969-70, put it even more simply. 'Being on the DMZ during the Vietnam War was like being in between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Grunts did what had to be done many times without recognition' ... Hostilities on the (Korean) DMZ were timed to coincide with events in Vietnam. Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s dictator, issued his declaration of war in a speech on Oct. 5, 1966: 'U.S. imperialists should be dealt blows and their forces dispersed to the maximum in Asia.' Within weeks, North Koreans were probing the DMZ in preparation for a major strike ... Spring 1967 witnessed a dramatic increase in losses due to ambushes, sabotage and mines. From May to year-end, 300 hostile actions in the U.S. sector claimed 15 American lives and 51 wounded. In the first day-long fire-fight, lasting 18 hours, NKs assaulted a guard post with .30 and .50 caliber weapons.

"When the Tet Offensive erupted in Vietnam, Kim took his cue and escalated the fighting in Korea. Thousands of Vietnam-destined (US) troops were diverted to Korea in the first months of 1968. The 2nd Division was reinforced, and tours extended for some of those already stationed there.

"Throughout the year, fire-fights became part of the routine for DMZ grunts. Some 700 hostile actions were recorded. In one action, on April 21, a patrol from Co. B, 2nd Bn, 31st Infantry, engaged a force of up to 75 NKs south of the DMZ. It was perhaps the largest U.S. fight of the border war. In 1969, action tapered off substantially. Nonetheless, men continued dying.

"Defending the 'Z' cost America 44 of its sons as well as 111 wounded from 1966 through 1969 ... In addition, the ROK Army lost 326 killed and 600 wounded through 1971. Some 715 North Koreans died in action."

Not many Americans understood what was happening in this, "the brush fire war," fought at the same time Americans and South Koreans were fighting in Vietnam, with the US fighting in Laos as well.

At long last, we want to introduce you to the three major combat outfits from the ROK that fought in Vietnam. We try to highlight the types of fights they got into, and some results. Perhaps more important, we try to demonstrate how they and American soldiers and aviators fought together, as a team. To the extent we were able, we try to highlight the men involved, Korean and American.

Cowboy1967  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:21:11 PM EDT
My dad has the utmost respect for ROK Marines.. He was stationed in I corp.. He and one of his fellow US Marines would tell us stories about how feared the ROK was, and that they wouldn't even put up wire or mine for a perimeter defences.. they would hang welcome signs for charlie and the NVA.
tominjax  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:21:25 PM EDT

ROK Tiger Division, A-Battery, 10th Artillery Battalion, posing at their tactical base at Dong Xuan, southwest of Qui Nhon, with a few Yanks in 1970. Presented by Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

July 12, 2006

ROKA Capital "Tiger" Division

Korea’s Capital Division was the first to deploy, though we have seen at least one reference to the ROK Marines being the first to deploy. We'll leave it that they both arrived at about the same time, which is true. The Capital division deployed beginning in September 1965.

The Capital Division was formed from the Capital Security Command in February 1949, having evolved from the 1st Regiment of the Korean Constabulary, responsible for Seoul. On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded the ROK, Seoul fell four days later, and allied forces were pushed south to the Pusan Perimeter, where they stopped and stood.

Two important events ended the enemy advance.

US Marines land at Inchon, September 15, 1950. First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez, USMC, leads the 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines over the seawall on the northern side of Red Beach, as the second assault wave lands, 15 September 1950. Wooden scaling ladders are in use to facilitate disembarkation from the LCVP that brought these men to the shore. Lt. Lopez was killed in action within a few minutes, while assaulting a North Korean bunker. He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his gallantry in this assault. U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Presented by US Naval Historical Center.

The US Marines landed at Inchon, ROK on September 15, 1950, easily defeating the enemy force there. This landing forced the enemy to retreat from the Pusan Perimeter , and enabled the allies to break out of the Pusan Perimeter in southeastern ROK, and head north through ferocious fighting at impressive speed.

Presented by PBS.

The second event was that the ROK I Corps, which included the ROKA Capital Division, invaded North Korea from the east coast in September 1950, and captured Wonson, North Korea on October 11. That enabled an unopposed American landing at Wonson a few days later. The ROK II Corps crossed into North Korea as well, moving into central North Korea. Following their lead, the US 8th Army crossed thereafter. Pyongyang fell that same month. By October's end, ROKA forces had made it to the Yalu River and the border with China.

While we do not want to minimize the difficult fighting, the fact is that US and ROK forces, once they took the offense from the Pusan Perimeter and Inchon, cut through the North Korean Army like a hot knife through butter. Thousands of enemy surrendered or fled. By the end of October, the North Korean Army at best could be called dysfunctional. Only two Chinese Communist Armies crossing into the war saved them, and they only put things back to where they were before the war broke out.

Fast forward 15 years from the shaky start of the Korean War. The Capital Division set up shop in Vietnam during fall 1965 in a strong position, including two infantry regiments with three battalions each, four field artillery battalions, an armor company and several other support companies.

USS Vernon County, LST-1161. Presented by the Home site for the USS Vernon County.

The Capital Division began its deployment to Vietnam in September 1965. The USS Vernon County, Landing Ship Tank (LST) 1161, was among those US 7th Fleet vessels bringing the Tigers to Vietnam, directly from Korean waters. The USS Terrell was another.

This photo shows "Korean troops coming ashore at Qui Nhon," presented by the US Army Transportation Museum. We do not know the date of this photo. It gives us a chance to mention that Korean units, like American ones, moved often by US Army heavy boat companies. For example, the 97th Heavy Boat Co. at Cam Ranh Bay supported combat landings up and down the coastline, throughout II Corps. Moving troops by vessel along the coast was among the most safe ways of moving them.

This is a ROK Tiger "Compound" at Qui Nhon in 1965. Photo credit: Tiny Freeman. Presented by the 84th Engineers.

Obviously, life improved. This is Camp Thunderbolt, headquarters and home of the ROKA's Capital "Tiger" Division, near Qui Nhon, RVN. Presented by Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

The division settled in at a place called ROK Camp Thunderbolt, RVN, near the city of Binh Khe and the An Khe pass, and not far from the city of Qui Nhon, in Binh Dinh Province, northern II Corps.

The 161st Aviation Co. arrived at the port of Qui Nhon in late November 1965. They set up camp on a hill in the An Sou Valley, about 12 miles west of Qui Nhon. There was nothing there, and the unit had to build what they could build from the ground floor up. They even built a wonderful chapel on a small knoll overlooking the base. This all would be re-named Lane Army Airfield (LAAF) after CW2 Robert C. Lane, the first 1st Air Cavalry Division Sky Crane casualty of the war.

This 1965 photo shows the beginnings of Lane AAF at An Sou. Photo contributed by Mike Verdecchia, 170th AHC. Presented by 161st AHC.

Lane AAF near Qui Nhon, RVN, 1968, when occupied by the 128st Assault Helicopter Co., which replaced the 161st. In the background, far left center, you can see the chapel built by the 161st. Photo presented by 161st AHC

This is the Tiger area at Lane AAF. At center, you can sort of see the ROK flag flying. Photo credit: Sp5 Randy Putnam, Gunner and Crewchief, 174th AHC, Feb 1967- Feb 1968. Presented by 174th AHC.

The Koreans provided security for Lane AAF. Members of the 161st have commented that they rested easy knowing the Koreans had that responsibility. They have said that whenever the VC tried to attack the field, the Koreans would retaliate quickly and lethally. We have seen many comments like this from American GIs deployed to locations secured by the Koreans.

The division was known by several names. It was the Capital Division, nicknamed the Tiger Division, the Maeng Ho (Brave Tiger) Division to Koreans. Most of its operations were called "Maeng Ho (Nr.)." Its area of responsibility (AOR) was Binh Dinh Province, northern II Corps, RVN, colored pale red on the map below.

Vietnam Military Regions and Provinces.

Let's talk a bit about this province. A declassified CIA document created on March 3, 1965 said this about Binh Dinh Province, several months before the Tigers arrived:

"The Viet Cong are continuing to make significant gains in the northern and central provinces of South Vietnam, particularly along the low coastal regions. Viet Cong effectiveness in Binh Dinh Province was manifested in their ability to isolate the coastal districts and to restrict government control to all but the district towns and heavily populated areas."

There was a fear that the ARVN might not be able to prevail in Binh Dinh, and the VC might be able to split II Corps. Splitting the corps was a NVA objective; they thought they could prevail if the province were split in two. In August 1965, when the first US Army combat units arrived in Vietnam, virtually the entire Binh Dinh Province, the most populous coastal province, was controlled by the North Vietnamese and VC. The same held true for Pleiku Province to the west.

This is a view of final approach into Qui Nhon from the air. You can see the runway just to the upper right of center. You are looking south. You can see how close the rich rice fields are to the north of the city (bottom half of photo). Photo credit: "bigpiper." Presented by

In 1965, the city of Qui Nhon was the only secure town in the province. Much of Binh Dinh province had been a hotbed for VC activity for nearly two decades before the Americans or Koreans ever arrived. It was one of 11 provinces that formed the most central military region of the RVN, known as the II Corps Tactical Zone, and among the most strategic. Route 1 ran north-south from Saigon along the coast all the way to Hanoi, North Vietnam. It intersected with Hwy 19 in the southern part of Binh Dinh Province, which ran east-west through neighboring Pleiku Province all the way to the Cambodian border.

Binh Dinh Province was the Tiger Division's AOR. Key markers included Hwys 1 and 19, Qui Nhon (red dot), Phu Cat Mountains and Phu Cat Air Base (AB) (blue dot), and An Khe (green dot).

The main task for the Tigers was to clear the province of the enemy. The Tigers did not come to Vietnam to fool around. Hwy 19 was high on their list of "things to do." It was a lifeline for allied forces, especially American, operating in Pleiku and Kontum provinces to the west.

The Tiger Division started arriving in September 1965, and quickly took positions on Hwy 19 (QL19) from Qui Nhon to An Khe. This allowed the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles" to hold its position in and around An Khe. About a month later, the brigade turned over its area of responsibility (AOR) to the Koreans. Within two months the Tigers had moved north out of Qui Nhon and made it halfway to Phu Cat Mountain as well.

Joseph Galloway wrote the following in March 2003:

“South Vietnam had Route 19, which ran from the coast up into the Central Highlands. It was garrisoned from beginning to end by American and Korean soldiers guarding the bridges and the high mountain passes.”

One of France's finest combat regiments, Groupe Mobile 100, which had fought valiantly in the Korean War, drove across the Mang Yang Pass between An Khe and Pleiku in 1954 and virtually the entire regiment was destroyed. The road remains dotted by French graves.

The Mang Yang Pass looking toward An Khe (east). Photo credit: Baker. Presented by the 15th Field Artillery Regiment.

Hwy 19 through the Mang Yang Pass had a "hair-raising" hair-pin turn for all those who had travel it by convoy. This area was ripe for enemy ambush, and many occurred. This is a photo of it taken from a US Army helicopter gunship providing protective cover for a US convoy of the 1/69th Armor. Photo courtesy of Phil Gesell, 238th AWC, 1970-71. Presented by RJ Smith's 1/69th Armor "Panthers" web site.

In January 1966, the Tigers hooked up with the 1st Cavalry and ARVN units to launch Operation White Wing-Masher-Thang where they cleared the northern half of Binh Dinh Province of the enemy. The operation terminated in March. Together, they destroyed the NVA 3rd "Sao Vang" (Gold Star) Division. This in turn enabled the US Marine 3rd Division to move into position to conduct Operation Hastings against enemy infiltrators through the DMZ father north.

Korean soldiers search the jungle near Qui Nhon for enemy. Presented by US Army.

By June 1966, the Capital Division controlled all the area north of Qui Nhon to the east of Hwy 1 and up to the base at Phu Cat Mountain.

An Khe pass

ROK Tiger Division Fire Support Base (FSB) set up near An Khe Pass. Photo courtesy of Phil Gesell, 238th AWC, 1970-71. (NB: Source said this was possibly a ROK FSB. We have other photography confirming it is). Presented by RJ Smith's 1/69th Armor "Panthers" web site.

The Tigers extended their control to the north and south of Hwy 19 all the way into the An Khe pass, and south along Hwy 1 to the border between the adjacent province. This is a feat neither the French or the ARVN were able to accomplish in over 20 years fighting.

This is a photo of a Tiger Division base at Phu Cat. Photo credit: John Stymerski. You can see the Phu Cat Mountains in the background. Presented by the C-7A Caribou Association.

Entrance to the Tiger Division base at Phu Cat. Photo credit: John Stymerski. Presented by the C-7A Caribou Association.

The moral of the story is the Korean Tigers quickly set up shop and took control.

In October 1966, within the span of 22 days, the 22nd ARVN Division, the ROK Tiger Division, and the US 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) conducted three closely coordinated operations to destroy the enemy in the central and eastern portions of Binh Dinh province.

Overall, the operation was best known as Operation Irving. They started by pushing various enemy forces out of their hideouts and toward the sea. They uprooted elements of the NVA 610th Division from mountain sanctuaries and then forced the enemy into a geographically contained pocket. The 1st Cav air assaulted into the pocket, the ARVN and ROKs attacked from the south, the ARVN heading to the northeast, the Tigers to the north through the Phu Cat Mountains. The ARVN and US Navy prevented any escapes to the sea and provided fire support. Artillery, USAF AC-47 gunships, Army helicopter gunships, and USAF B-52s all took part.

Members of an engineer "Tunnel Rat Team" explore enemy tunnel during Operation Irving. Presented by US Army.

With the coastal areas well under control, the 1st Cav moved to the west and air assaulted into enemy regroupment areas. They brought in engineers to destroy enemy tunnel complexes, and employed heavy doses of artillery. The enemy decided the battle was over. This enabled a major pacification effort to get underway in the province. The Koreans and ARVN both learned first hand the value of air mobile combat operations.

The Tiger Division, and, the White Horse Division as well, employed a cordon technique wherein they would encircle an enemy stronghold in a strangle-hold. They would destroy enemy attempting to break out, and eventually starve them out. Some commanders complained that all this took too long, but ROK kill ratios demonstrated the pay-off to be lots and lots of dead enemy.

Lt. General William R. Peers, USA, then the commander, US 4th infantry Division
has said this about the Korean technique:

"There were several key elements in their conduct of this type of operation. First, they are thorough in every detail in their planning. Secondly, their cordon involves a comparatively small area, probably not in excess of 9 to 10 square kilometers for a regimental size force. Third, the maximum force is employed, generally consisting of a regiment up to something in excess of a division. And finally, the operation is rehearsed and critiqued before it is begun. Units are moved into locations around the periphery of the cordon by a variety of means, including helicopters, trucks and by foot, but so timed that all arrive in position simultaneously to complete the encirclement. The density of the troops is such that the distance between individuals on the cordon is less than 10 meters. They leave little opportunity for the enemy to ex-filtrate in small numbers. Areas, such as streams and gullies, are barricaded with barbed wire and other barrier materials, reinforced by troops who may remain in water chest deep over night. The closing of the cordon is very slow and deliberate, not a rock is left unturned or piece of ground not probed. When the area has been cleared, they will surge back and forth through it to flush out any of the remnants. Another critical feature of their operation is the availability of reaction forces. The enemy soon knows when such a cordon is put around him. If he cannot ex-filtrate by individuals or in small numbers, he may attempt to mass his forces and break out at one point. Against such contingencies the ROKs utilize several reaction forces to reinforce critical areas. They have found that the enemy may make one or even several feints at various points around the cordon prior to making the main effort to breach the encirclement. Hence, the ROK deployment of reaction forces is by small incremental elements until such time as the main effort is located, and then the action becomes rapid and positive. Through the use of these tactics, the ROKs have developed the cordon and search operation to a fine state of art. The ratio of enemy to friendly casualties has been phenomenal, on one occasion in excess of 100 to 1."

In their examination of
"Allied Participation in Vietnam," Generals Robert Larsen and James Collins said this about a cordon operation conducted by a Tiger Division unit:

"An analysis of an action by Korean Capital Division forces during the period 23-29 January 1968 clearly illustrates the Korean technique. After contact with an enemy force near Phu Cat, the Koreans 'reacting swiftly ... deployed six companies in an encircling maneuver and trapped the enemy force in their cordon. The Korean troops gradually tightened the circle, fighting the enemy during the day and maintaining their tight cordon at night, thus preventing the enemy's escape. At the conclusion of the sixth day of fighting, 278 NVA had been KIA with the loss of just 11 Koreans, a kill ratio of 25.3 to 1.'"

On line, April 21, 1968, Operation Maeng Ho 11, minutes before assault on Ky Son. Two ROK APCs and B21 in background, with 1/69th Armor tank Lt Hasty and Meerholz can be seen on their tank "Bootlegger" in the far background. In the ensuing firefight, Meerholz was killed, and Lt Hasty received the Silver Star for fighting with his tank. Photo credit: Barry Dwyer. Presented by RJ Smith's 1/69th Armor "Panthers" web site.

Binh Dinh Province, especially the area north of Qui Nhon, was a rice-rich area. Despite the Tigers' best efforts, the enemy, especially the VC, would return, over and over. On April 23, 1968, following the defeat of the NVA in Tet 1968, the US 1st Battalion, 69th Armor, 4th Infantry Division married up with B Company 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry (Mechanized) and elements of the Tigers' 26th Infantry in an operation called
Maeng Ho 11, or Brave Tiger 11.

Tiger Division infantry on a ground sweep with US 1/69th Armor tanks. Photo credit: Wayne Gunderson. Presented by RJ Smith's 1/69th Armor "Panthers" web site.

The NVA had built 50 two-man bunkers in a tight semi-circle around a place called Ky Son, close to the coast. The enemy put its entire force inside the Ky Son area. The Tigers came in and surrounded the area, setting up their famed cordon. Air strikes and naval fire were brought in to prepare the battlefield. Then B Co., 1/69th Armor and ROK and US infantry moved into the cordon. The fighting was intense, the enemy tried a breakout, but B Company's tanks were positioned with a clear field of fire and together with the ROK infantry waiting for the breakout attempt, they destroyed 80 percent of the NVA force; 201 enemy dead for a 100:1 kill ratio.

First Sergeant Maurice Ferry (left) and PSG Wellner, 1/69th Armor, with ROK Tigers, February 1969. Photo courtesy of Stretch Grohman. Presented by RJ Smith's 1/69th Armor "Panthers" web site.

Korean instructor in Tae-Kwon-Do watches local South Vietnamese practice after instruction. Presented by US Army.

The Koreans also took their Karate demonstration team around to the villages to impress and make friends with the locals. We will talk more about the warfighting impact of Tae-Kwon-Do when we talk about the ROK 2nd Marine Brigade "Blue Dragons." Suffice to say here that the Koreans felt they had a clear advantage in close hand-to-hand combat, and they employed that advantage whenever the enemy foolishly came close enough, with considerable lethality.

161st Huey at a Korean Tiger Division outpost, 1966. Photo credit: Thomas Bobbitt. Presented by 161st AHC.

The US 161st Aviation Company "Pelicans" and "Scorpians" and the 129th Assault Helicopter Company "Bite and Strike" did quite a bit of business with the Tigers. The name of the game here was combat air assault. The 161st's area of operation throughout the first half of 1966 was in and around the Phu Cat Mountains.

In April 1967, the 129th AHC, the "Bite and Strike," was assigned the mission to support the Tiger Division at Qui Nhon. As a result, the 129th moved from Khanh Duong to Lane AAF. During the 129th's first month flying for the Tigers, its men flew 12,908 sorties, to that point, an all time record for the company. This was a good combo. The Tiger Division quickly earned a reputation for being one bunch of tough cookies. The 129th pilots and gunners liked that, creating a business card that read, "You call, We kill," with the message, "Call us for death and destruction night or day."

One of the first issues the 129th and Tigers had to deal with was providing the Tigers greater gunship support. The Koreans were reluctant to call for such support because of language problems, and some concern about gunship accuracy. To get by this, the 129th carried a ROK interpreter aboard. The 129th also demonstrated the accuracy of their fire to alleviate ROK concerns about fratricide.

The 129th also found that the Koreans operated their three regiments in a large area, occupying semi-permanent areas, maneuvering at mostly platoon and company levels, mostly by ground. Together, the Tigers and 129th worked out plans to conduct assault operations by air, moving these forces around more quickly to more areas of hostile activity. Here are a few photos.

Troops of the Maeng Ho Cavalry Regiment are lined up for the airlift to the 2nd phase of Operation Bun-Gae. Presented by Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

ROK forces waving to departing helicopter and then moving out after their combat air assault landing, flown in by the 129th AHC. Photo credit: Barry Swanson. Presented by 129th AHC.

The terrain in their area was rough, and landing zones (LZs) could usually only handle 2-3 helicopters at a time. Not all air assault landings were easy, as this photo shows.

Soldiers are being air-dropped for Operation Maeng Ho #10 from a chopper (we believe 129th AHC) at a vulnerable spot. The helicopter could hardly land on the ground due to various difficult conditions. Presented by Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

The Americans and Koreans worked together and started inserting Korean combat troops into blocking and attacking positions simultaneously. The Koreans grew to like the whole concept, as they were able to improve their performance against the enemy. In one of their early operations, they killed 47 NVA and captured 38 weapons using the technique.

Enemy arms captured by ROK Tiger Division troops in an operation in early 1970 west of Phu Cat. Photo credit: Allan Hewitt. Presented by 129th AHC.

The Koreans were known not only for their uncanny ability to hunt down and kill enemy, they were also well known for a special capacity to uncover enemy arms caches, discover tunnels, and underground weapons storage areas. It was like they had radar in their noses.

129th AHC Bulldog resupplying ROK 105 Artillery post west of Phu Cat, early 1970. Photo credit: Allan Hewitt. Presented by 129th AHC.

The 1968 enemy Tet offensive, of course, affected everyone in South Vietnam. This is a good place to pause for a moment and comment on the
129th AHC's experience with the Tigers in 1968. In January, the supposed beginning of Tet, and the monsoon season, the 129th flew almost 3,000 sorties for the Tigers and the Tigers killed 154 enemy. In February, Operation Ho San Guin II killed 28 more enemy, followed by Dok Su Ri Maeng Ho 10 killing 81 more, and the 129th flew 9,307 sorties. This operation continued into March and the Tigers killed an impressive 664 enemy and took 57 prisoners, employing the 129th for 3,263 sorties. April started slowly. Operation Dok Sa Ri Bunks 68-1 netted only nine enemy dead. But then Maeng Ho 11 kicked off in a major sweep from Phu Cat AB to the South China Sea from April 20-26, 1968. The 129th flew over 13,000 sorties. It just kept going like that throughout much of the year.

Patrol Boat, rigid Mark II, widely used by Brown Water Navy in Vietnam. Presented by wikipedia.

US Navy Game Warden Mobile Riverine Force operations, known as the Brown Water Navy, supported this ROKA Tiger effort on the Qui Nhon Peninsula, in an area known as the Second Coastal Zone (II CTZ), a coastal area roughly from just north of Qui Nhon south to Phan Thiet, which was below Cam Ranh Bay and Phan Rang. Game Warden was the nickname of Navy operations to interdict enemy traffic in the Mekong Delta. It was known as Task Force 116 (TF 116). By July 1968, shortly after this operation with the ROKs, TF 116 was covering the entire network of rivers and sloughs from the Cambodian border to the South China Sea and into I Corps. TF 116 mainly consisted of six River Divisions, each of which had from 3-6 River Sections. Originally, Game Warden had 120 Patrol Boats River (PBR), 20 Landing Craft (LCVPs), eight UH-1B Huey Helicopters, and four specially modified Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs). By mid-1968, the PBR inventory increased to 250. The LSTs operated as mobile bases for the PBRs, able to moor up to 16 PBRs alongside.

River Division 53's River Section 532 combined with the USS Hunterdon Country (LST 838) provided the blocking forces for the ROKA Tiger sweep. As the Tigers swept the area, USN Patrol Craft Fast (PCF) and PBRs provided blocking patrols. This was the first time TF 116 units operated in the II CTZ. River Section 532 and the TF 116 sustained no casualties even though they actively engaged the enemy. They managed to grab up 11 Viet Cong who tried to escape by sampan.

USS Hunterdon County (AGP-838) Patrol Craft Tender anchored at Ham Loung, River, RVN, 1967. Presented by wikipedia.

Hunterdon County coordinated communications between the TF 116 patrol boats with elements of the ROKA, US Army, TF 115 and USAF units. Her sailors could guard four FM frequencies simultaneously to enhance the coordination.

General Kim, Chief of Staff, ROKA, said that the success of his ground operation was the direct result of the employment of TF 116 and harbor defense units blocking the waterways. It is also worth noting the the Vietnamese Navy operated similarly organized Coastal Groups. Its Coastal Groups 21 and 22 participated in these operations as well, in coordination with ROKA Tigers and TF 116. CG 22 operated north of Qui Nhon just east of Binh Dinh. They largely provided gunfire support along with River Section 532 as the ROKA moved in. Eventually, the USN turned over all its Brown Water assets to the Vietnamese Navy and by 1972 had the entire job.

By the time the Maeng Ho operation was finished, the Tigers had killed 201 enemy and took 79 prisoners.

On January 30, 1968, the outbreak of Tet, General Westmoreland sent a telegram to Admiral Sharp, the Commander-in-chief, Pacific (CINCPAC), and, among other things, told him that some few attacks had been made against Qui Nhon. He noted at the time that the enemy was holding the "radio station and the maintenance area but has lost 50 KIA. The ROKs have the radio station surrounded but have not attacked, since the enemy is holding three hostages."

This was the Qui Nhon radio station after Tet 1968. Presented by John T. Wisor.

Well, that was on January 30. On January 31, the enemy was routed from the area, thanks to the ROK Tigers and the US 93rd Military Police Battalion. The above photo gives you an idea of what it must have been like for the enemy inside once the attack began.

Back in May 1972, the
Pacific Stars and Stripes featured Tiger Pfc. Hong Moon Hee, recipient of the prestigious Order of Im Hyon, for actions on March 11, 1972 on Hill 638 in the An Khe Pass, RVN. The title of the story by Hal Drake tells this private's story: "Hold your position, or die in it." That's the way he was trained, and that's what he did.

This map shows you the position of Hill 638 at the western end of the Mang Yang or An Khe Pass. You will recall the photo of the hair pin turn we showed earlier. It is just to the east of Hill 638, so you can imagine the hill's critical importance to traffic moving through that turn on its way to allied bases in Pleiku and Kontum to the west and northwest. Map presented by RJ Smith.

It was night, Pfc. Hong Moon Hee was in his assigned trench position, and at least five enemy were approaching, now about 10 feet away. He quickly identified them as an enemy sapper team. He promptly lit a flare, then tripped a claymore and blew some of the enemy to pieces. He then threw a grenade, and then fired his M-16 to finish the job. But the enemy now knew where he was. His position was now the target of enemy rocket propelled grenades.

Tiger Division outpost on Hill 638. Presented by Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

Seemingly all at once, Hee's Tiger Cavalry Company came under full attack by a North Vietnamese regiment that wanted Hill 638 because of its strategic view over both sides of Hwy 19. The enemy had dug its own trench and foxhole lines all around the hill, most notably on top of the slopes, and had worked hard to camouflage their positions.

The ROKs committed 12 more companies to the battle. The Tigers fought for 16 days to hold the hill. They killed 705 enemy, lost 41 of their own, often in hand-to-hand combat, bayonets fixed to their M-16s.

Lt. Lee My Pyo, described as a little guy, led a 24-man attack through a line of broken trees the day the hill was secured, March 24, and received the Order of Taegeug, the country's highest military decoration for valor in combat (shown in photo, presented by Orders, Medals, Decorations of the ROK, a very informative site).

In this photo, you see Tiger Division troopers carrying a colleague killed in action near Phut Cat, 1968, awaiting helicopter transport out. Photo courtesy of Bob McGee. Presented by RJ Smith's 1/69th Armor "Panthers" web site.

Well over 700 enemy died in the fight for Hill 638. The enemy did not take the hill and was forced back away.

The US Army 24th Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Detachment was formed in 1965 and was sent immediately to Vietnam. It was among the first PSYOP detachments sent to Vietnam. It first went to An Khe, assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division G-5 (Civil Affairs). They would drive around using their loudspeakers to announce to locals that the An Khe area was going to see a major US troop buildup and get a runway.

They were then switched to the G-3 Operations and were written into combat plans, doing leaflet drops and loudspeaker operations from a C-47 "Goonie Bird."

Loudspeaker Jeep of the 24th PSYOP Detachment bearing the emblem of the ROK Tiger Division. There are bullet holes in the door above "US Army." Presented by 24th PSYOP Detachment.

SSgt. Dan Eberhardt was a team non-commissioned officer (NCO) of HE-3 Team, attached to the Tiger Division for about six months near Qui Nhon. Eberhardt has said this:

"We participated in several operations with the Tiger Division throughout their area of operation. We coordinated leaflet drops and conducted loudspeaker missions from the air, on boats, and on the ground. The shoulder patch of the Korean Division was of a tiger's head. That's where the idea came from to paint the Vehicle with the patch."

It was, no doubt, an effective PSYOP tool to let the locals and the enemy understand the Tigers were there.

Let's switch gears for a moment.

Airman Robert "Robin" C. Michael II, pictured here, a combat forward air controller (CFAC) known as a Recon, Observe, Mark and Destroy, or ROMAD, was reassigned from Osan AB, ROK, to Camp Thunderbolt in late September 1965, by way of Jungle Survival School in the Philippines. He was part of a two-team Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) that moved from Korea to the RVN. His FAC leader was Capt. Nicholson. Michael's callsign was Ragged Scooper Two Alpha.

Airman Michael has said:

"The Korean and Vietnamese Flags flew over my compound in Vietnam. No American Flag ever flew over this compound when I was assigned to this Korean Tiger Division Compound named Camp Thunderbolt."

That's his picture to prove it!

This is a posed shot to show the ROMAD jeep with radio gear mounted. The officer could talk to airborne FACs and attack aircraft pilots and bring them in on their targets. Photo credit: CMSgt Derrill Ballenger, Ragged Scooper 45B, Tour of Duty Jan 66 - Jan 67. Presented by CMSgt Derrill Ballenger

Nicholson and Michael went with the Tigers on sweeps, raids and ambushes. They normally wore RVN uniforms, so they would not stand out to the enemy as Americans. If they could, they would take the jeep as far as they could, and then strap the radios on and go on the sweep with the ROK soldiers. Or, they would simply strap on their radios and go with the ROKs directly.

The ROKs had three Bird Dogs, two OD green, one silver, used for airborne FAC. This one is parked at the ROK HQ dirt strip. Airman Michael got in some combat flights to help him learn how to identify targets. Photo credit: Robert Michael.

These are the three ROK O-1 Bird Dog reconnaissance and FAC aircraft in the Tiger Division inventory at the outset, circa 1965-1966, operating out of Qui Nhon, we believe. Photo presented by Vietnam Veterans of Korea.

When required, Nicholson and Michael worked with a Bird Dog O-1E FAC above to bring in air support, usually napalm followed by 500-1000 lb "blockbusters," as he called them. Capt. Nicholson did not limit himself to CFAC work, though. An USAF pilot, he also flew the ROK O-1E Bird Dog FAC aircraft such as the ones shown above.

This is what Airman Michael calls a "true A-1E" because of the blue canopy and the rear seat. The outboard white bombs are "Willie Pete" phosphorous (two each side), there are 10 OD Green bombs in-board (5 each side). The centerline tank is a fuel cell, and the aircraft had two .30 caliber machine guns. This aircraft is parked at Qui Nhon Airfield, RVN, 1965-66. Photo credit: Robert Michael.

Michael said all the FACs, and the Koreans, preferred A-1E fighter-bombers to the jets, because they did better hitting their targets and they could loiter around waiting to do it again.

Amn Michael's radio antenna from one of his radios is visible, as well as that of the side profile of one of the Korean officers. Photo credit: Robert Michael.

The photo above shows Airman Michael on a sweep with the Tigers. A group of Tiger troops was pinned down by enemy fire, just below this ridge. Michael brought in an A-1E air strike on enemy positions and that was the end of that. This sweep took place near the coast line in September - October 1965.

Michael and the others received this Tiger Patch from the ROKs. Michael has said the patch was awarded to him and it was an honor and privilege to wear it. Michael stayed in Vietnam until the Tet offensive, served out his enlistment, and left the Air Force at the rank of staff sergeant.

Michael took some other photos and we want to show a few to you. He was very proud to have served with the Tigers, saying:

"They did a great job in the cause of freedom."

This was the Korean Tiger Unit to which Michael was assigned while in Vietnam, 1965 - 1966. The picture was taken during the 1965 Korean USO Show which came to Vietnam from Korea at Christmas time. 90% of this units men are present for this for this show. Photo credit: Robert Michael.

Capt. Nicholson is on the right, standing with his ROK counterpart. Note that Nicholson is a USAF pilot, which is what were used as CFACs on the ground, and he and Michael were assigned to and fought with a ROK Army outfit. Photo credit: Robert Michael.

We ran across a great photo of US troops vs. ROK Tiger Division troops in a "game" (no such thing) of volleyball at LZ Diamondhead at Binh Khe on Highway 19, and we'll close this section with it. Tiger Division infantry forces were located there along with US artillery troops, we believe, C Battery, 7-15 Field Artillery Regiment "Indian Heads."

US vs ROK allies (from Tiger Division) at LZ Diamondhead. Photo credit: Mike Donley. Presented by 15th Field Artillery Regiment.

Today, the Capital Infantry Division is a mechanized division and is part of V and VII ROK Corps, Third ROKA (TROKA). TROKA is responsible for guarding the most likely potential attack routes from North Korea to Seoul.
tominjax  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:22:02 PM EDT
ROKA 9th "White Horse" Division

ROK White Horses, "horsing around," west of Phan Rang, preparing to be picked up and taken back to base, mission accomplished. Photo courtesy of Gary "Lizard" Revheim. Presented by the 48th AHC.

The ROKA 9th "White Horse" Division's deployment to the RVN was approved by the Korean National Assembly in March 1966 and the Commander-in-chief, UN Command in Korea, an American Army general, agreed. The division began to deploy in April 1966 and arrived in September and October 1966.

The ROKA 9th Division was hastily created in late 1950 during the Korean War and operated in the mountainous terrain of Sorak and Odae in the northeast, not far from the 38th parallel. The North Korean II Corps cut it off in late 1950 and the division suffered heavy casualties. Down, but not out.

White Horse Mountain, Korea. Presented by Military History Online.

During October 1952, all three 9th Division regiments, the 28th, 29th and 30th (12,000 men) held Hill 395, northwest of Chorwon, North Korea, known as White Horse Mountain. The division prepared for a Chinese assault. A captured North Korean officer who knew of the impending attack and did not want to be in the fight betrayed his comrades and told the ROKs about it. Many support units helped the 9th ROK Division, but at the end of the day, it was the 9th ROK Division pitted squarely against the Chinese 387th Army. The 9th held under ferocious Chinese human wave attacks by three Chinese Divisions of 23,000 troops. We have seen reports that ownership of the hill changed some 24 times; other reports say the Chinese charged up the hill 24 times. The 2nd Infantry Division-Korean War Veterans Alliance has written this about the 9th:

"9th ROK Division won high praise from everyone. It was apparent that modern training and equipment had brought a great improvement in Korean units since the early part of the war."

All together, the allied force inflicted 10,000 casualties on Chinese forces and swept those who survived out of the area. ROK casualties were high as well. This was the bloodiest battle of the Korean War. The 9th ROK Division was renamed after the battle, and forever after was, and is, known as the White Horse Division.

Three 9th ROK Division men received the US Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for their service in the Battle of White Horse Mountain. The DSC is the second highest military decoration of the United States Army, awarded for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. The ROK recipients were Major General Kim Chon O., 9th Division; 2nd Lt. Chung Nak Koo, 11th Co., 28th Regiment; and Sergeant Kim Man Su, 9th Co., 29th Regiment.

Fast forward 16 years from the shaky start of the Korean War. The division, officially named the 9th Division, but best known as the White Horse Division, went to the Ninh Hoa area of the RVN at the junction of Highways 1 and 21. You will recall Hwy 1 went north-south from Saigon along the coast all the way to Hanoi North Vietnam. Hwy 21 went east-west across the RVN from Ninh Hoa through Dar Lac Province, which was adjacent to Cambodia. Hwy 21 did not go into Cambodia, however.

Vietnam Military Regions and Provinces. Presented by

The White Horses had a larger area of operations (AOR) than did the Tigers to the north. Their AOR also hosted several very important cities, ports and military bases at Tuy Hoa, Nha Trang, Cam Ranh, and Phan Rang.

The Republic of Korea's 9th (White Horse) Division conducts a firepower demonstration at the Tuy Hoa camp, June 14, 1968, where ROK troops were holding one-week training sessions for South Vietnamese Popular Forces soldiers (local militia) in infiltration, rifle firing and other combat tactics. Since the course began in April 1968, over 600 troops had taken part. Photo credit: Kim Ki Sam. Presented by the Stars and Stripes.

The 28th White Horse Regiment went to the US airfield at Tuy Hoa, about half-way between Nha Trang and Qui Nhon; the 29th Regiment positioned in and around the Ninh Hoa area, just north of Nha Trang; and the 30th Regiment took positions on the mainland just west of Cam Ranh Bay to protect it. This enabled the Koreans, their two divisions, the Tigers and White Horses, to control Route 1 and the neighboring populations all the way from just north of Qui Nhon to Phan Rang. You will also recall that it enabled the 2nd ROK Marine Brigade, which arrived about a year before the White Horses, to move north into Marine Country, I Corps.

Let's take a look at each regimental area.

Tuy Hoa Airfield, October 1965. One year later the home of the 28th White Horse Regiment, ROK. Presented by Persuaders 65, C Battery, 17th FA Bn.

As you can see in the above photo, there wasn't much at Tuy Hoa when the 28th White Horse arrived. It was the southern-most city in Phu Yen Province. Phu Yen is a coastal province with a coastline 189 kilometers long, and many mountain ranges extending close to the sea.

Tuy Hoa AAF in 1970-1971. Photo credit: Jim Kelley. Presented by 134AHC.

The US 820th Red Horse Engineers deployed to Tuy Hoa AB in October 1966 and completed about 50 percent of the construction of the base, including 170 aircraft revetments, 120,000 sq ft of wooden buildings, and 175,000 sq yds of AM-2 matting. Among other things, it would become a F-100 Super Sabre base for the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW).

In his assessment of June 13, 1965, General Westmoreland, Commander, US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (COMUSMACV) said this about Phu Yen Province.

"The VC control Phu Yen Province except for Tuy Hoa itself."
As a result, one of the first things the 28th White Horse Regiment had to do was join up with the 1st Brigade, 4th US Infantry Division and elements of the 101st Airborne Division in Operation Adams on the coast and open Highway 1 north of Tuy Hoa. The operation, which began on October 26, 1966, extended into 1967. At its end, VC domination of Phu Yen Province was eliminated, 491 enemy were killed, and 160 individual and crew-served weapons were captured.

Phu Yen Province was the northernmost province in the White Horse's AOR, and butted up to Binh Dinh Province, in the Tiger Division's AOR. As result, the two collaborated on multiple operations to prevent the enemy from taking the offensive in the area. The NVA's 95th Regiment bore the brunt of Korean wrath. Operation Oh Jac Kyo in July 1967 blocked NVA 95th Regiment intentions to launch an offensive in Phu Yen Province. Operation Hong Kil Dong netted 638 enemy dead for a 24:1 kill ratio. It is our understanding that the Tigers would join forces with the White Horses as far south as Ninh Thuan Province, the southernmost province in the White Horse's AOR.

The White Horses celebrated their 18th anniversary during Operation Baek Ma 9 in October - November 1968, taking down 382 from the NVA 18th Regiment, rendering its 7th Battalion ineffective. During one engagement, on the anniversary date, October 25, the Koreans killed 204 enemy without any Korean losses.

In this photo, you see Henry S. Fleckinger, Pathfinder (standing alone in background), attached to the 268th Combat Aviation Battalion, working helicopters as they make their way into a landing zone to pick up ROK White Horse Division troops (probably 28th Regiment) and take them on an air assault mission in late 1967. Presented by 268th Pathfinders.

The 268th Combat Aviation Battalion's Pathfinder Detachment deployed to Phu Hiep Army Airfield (AAF) near Tuy Hoa in May 1967 and supported both the Tiger and White Horse Divisions and the US 173rd Airborne Brigade from that location. They went to the field with the Korean Infantry to control their helicopter support. Operating as four man teams, the Pathfinders secured, marked, cleared, and established drop and landing zones and provided initial aircraft guidance at remote locations. They also provided some limited air traffic control capabilities.

An instructor from the ROK 28th Regimental Combat Team points the barrel of a Vietnamese Popular Forces soldier's rifle off to the side during training in getting under a barbed-wire fence, Tuy Hoa, June 14, 1968. Photo credit: Kim Ki Sam. Presented by the Stars and Stripes.

This photo shows a joint Military Police (MP) patrol. The tall MP to the left is from the 504th MPs at Tuy Hoa, we believe, the 3rd Platoon, Company A. To his immediate left, and to the far right, are two 28th Regiment White Horse troops, the one on the far right obviously an MP as well. Photo credit: Sung-Yung Choi. Presented by Military Police of the Vietnam War.

Tuy Hoa did not escape the Tet Offensive of 1968. During the early morning hours of late January, the 5th Bn, 95th NVA Regiment attacked the airfield, the provincial prison and American artillery positions. The 4-503 infantry of the 173rd Airborne responded to the attacks against an artillery position, reinforced by the 28th ROKs. They inflicted heavy casualties on the NVA. The 4-503rd battalion commander then decided to lead a charge against the NVA, who were surrounded at the time. The battalion suffered 19 KIA and 39 WIA, tough losses.

1960's –– South Vietnam –– An Air Force F-100 Super Sabre fires a salvo of rockets at a jungle target. May 1967. Photo presented by the US Air Force.

His brigade commander told him to withdraw, and USAF F-100 Super Sabres from the 188th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS), New Mexico Air National Guard, based at Tuy Hoa, were brought in. The 188th was known as "The Enchilada Air Force." They destroyed the NVA unit. The ARVN then went in and cleaned up the VC who were supporting the NVA; the VC had withdrawn to avoid the Super Sabres, leaving their NVA brothers to pay the price.

As an aside,
Pat Birmingham was a F-100 "Hun" pilot at Tuy Hoa. The pilots had been given the day off in honor of the Tet holiday. Several had been drinking, others resting when their operations officer made the rounds, told those who had been drinking to take an immediate nap, and told the rest to get to their squadrons to brief, fly and fight. Birmingham has written:

"A lot of us couldn't believe that the NVA and VC were being so foolish. They didn't have much support from the civilian community, and they surely got their butts kicked ... I wrote home that I thought we'd just won the war, only to learn later that we had been undermined at home and in Paris by losers calling themselves Americans."

Colonel Abner M. Aust, Jr., commander, 31st TFW, Tua Hoa, published an end of tour report based on his experience from May 3, 1968 - February 8, 1969. He said this about the 28th White Horse Regiment:

ROK White Horse 28th Regiment 105 mm howitzer at the center of Tuy Hoa AB, with USAF A1C Louie Green posing with it. Photo credit: James Shepherd. Presented by Vietnam Security Police Association.

"28th Regiment of the 9th White Horse Division is tasked with the ground tactical responsibility for this section of Phu Yen Province. This Regiment consists of three battalions of about one thousand men each. It also includes three artillery batteries with 105mm and 155mm Howitzers. The regiment operates continually in company and battalion sized units in the mountainous area near the base. These highly professional ROK troops provide intelligence and keep the enemy divided into small groups and constantly on the move. The ROK artillery is capable of firing pre-planned illumination or HE (high explosive) concentrations for the installation. Two companies of ROK Army personnel have been designated to support our base in the event of enemy attack. These companies are maintained in readiness at the ROKA compound."

Let's now take a look at the 29th White Horse Regiment, in Ninh Hoa.

Ninh Hoa field, 1969. The photographer, who took this from the air, said, "The terrain was beautiful, but the airfield was nothing but dirt. Photo credit: Bobby Schulze. Presented by the 48th AHC.

This is a closer look at Ninh Hoa, sometime in 1969 or 1970. Photo courtesy of "Lefty" Seymour. Presented by 48th AHC.

White Horse Headquarters, Ninh Hoa, late 1968. "It was a very impressive set up they had there, very clean and well laid out." Photo credit: Steve Mathews, "Rat Pack 15" 6/68-6/69, 281st AHC "Intruders." Presented by the 281st AHC.

Major Derald Smith, USA, 174th AHC, "Dolphins and Sharks," flew out of Ninh Hoa supporting the 29th White Horses in March 1967. The 174th also flew out of Tuy Hoa supporting the 28th Regiment.

Left-to-right: Major Henry "The Fying Dutchman" Schwarz; Major William Dalrymple; Major Jo (phonetic spelling), ROK 9th Division, and two unknown Korean officers. Photo credit: Major Derald Smith. Presented by 174AHC.

Major Smith was assigned to the 29th as a liaison officer. Good fortune would have it that he knew his Korean counterpart, Major Jo (phonetic spelling), an aviator himself, from their days together in Korea. Smith said the 29th caught on to air assault insertions quickly and commented they were very successful.

174th AHC Hueys are lined up on a ridge-line north of Ninh Hoa during combat assault operation with the White Horse Division, 1967. Photo credit: WO-1CW2 Tom Auman. Presented by 174th AHC.

Smith called the Koreans, "Tunnel Rats," because they could come up with huge caches of weapons from well concealed enemy tunnel complexes. This next photo gives a you sense for how well they could sniff out these caches.

29th ROK Regiment displays captured weapons at Ninh Hoa, March 1967. WO1 Tom Birch, 174th AHC Dolphin pilot, 1st Platoon, is proud of the ROK accomplishment. Photo credit: WO1 Tom Birch, Presented by 174thAHC.

The 48th AHC "Bluestars" flew for both ROK divisions. On May 1, 1967, it set up a forward base of operations at Ninh Hoa to support the 29th Regiment. Right away, the 48th started seeing increased action, and, in its unit history, comments:

This was one of many White Horse outposts supplied by the 48th AHC. Photo courtesy of Larry Hoenig. Presented by 48th AHC.

"This mission heralded a continual gaining of mutual respect, admiration and friendship between this unit and soldiers of the Korean Allied Force."

The 176th Aviation Co. (Airmobile) "Minutemen" also supported the White Horses. In fact, the company was activated at Ft. Benning, Georgia in October 1966, the main body of its force arrived at Phu Hiep near Tuy Hoa in February 1967, and was declared operationally ready in March 1967. The 176th's unit history then says the following:

"The first operation in which the 176th was involved was with the 9th ROK (White Horse) Infantry Division. During the short time the Minutemen supported the White Horse Division, the 176th provided command and control and utility aircraft throughout the Korean area of operations adjacent to Ninh-Hoa. While participating in Operation Beak Ma II and Operation Ojackyo the unit encountered its first experiences with troop repelling due to the hazard of landing zones located on sharp ridges and razorback ridge lines. Both operations proved to be successful and were performed without any major difficulties."

During much of 1968 the 48th AHC, even though short-handed, did a land-office business with the White Horses. Initially, the two units suffered from language problems when conducting combat assaults. But they solved this together by placing an English-speaking Korean on board the aircraft to coordinate between the Korean ground commander and the American aircrew.

The Koreans were also supplied by truck. Ken Karrow, 53rd Supply Co., supplied them by truck north and west of Nha Trang, which we assume to be the 29th Regiment's area around Ninh Hoa. The 53rd would supply perishable rations with single trucks, but started picking up small arms fire. The Koreans were asked to provide escorts, and much to Karrow's amazement, the Koreans showed up with a 2.5 T truck with a .50 cal machine gun mounted on her, something Karrow had not seen before. Sparrow commented:

"Things are a little hazy with time, but I do know that the small arms fire did not continue!"

As an aside, the 53rd was originally designated the 53rd Engineering Co. (Supply Point), and was part of the 35th Group (Construction), which in turn was part of the 84th Engineer Battalion. The 84th, and all its units, the 53rd included, participated in ten campaigns in the Korean War and was nicknamed "Conquerors of the Imjin" for having bridged the Imjin River. President Syngman Rhee presented the battalion with the ROK Presidential Unit Citation for that achievement.

We'd like to switch gears just a bit here to highlight a significant innovation involving the White Horses and the 48th AHC. As you have seen through most of this report, the Koreans were very dependent on US aviation for air support, whether combat assault, close air support, or reconnaissance.

A UH-1D/H Huey helicopter training program was begun in 1967 as a cooperative effort between the Commander, ROK Forces Vietnam, and the US Army's commanding general, 1st Aviation Brigade. The Koreans established the 11th ROK Aviation Company in September 1967 at Nha Trang, RVN. We understand it was initially subordinated to the 100th Logistics Command, which had established earlier as part of the "Peace Dove Unit" program. They also established a ROKFV Aerial Support Group to handle support issues. We have seen a report that says the Aerial Support Group and 11th Aviation Co. eventually became known as the "Silver Horse Division." AS an aside, the US 1st Cavalry Division also had an 11th Aviaiton Company.

At the time, the ROKs had precious few UH-1 Huey helicopter pilots. They did, of course, have fixed wing pilots and pilots trained in other kinds of helicopters. But the Huey was the workhorse for ROK combat assaults in Vietnam and they wanted and needed more of their own pilots to help carry the burden of that work.

The 1st Aviation Brigade's 17th Combat Aviation Group, the 17th CAG, commanded at the time by Col. John A. Todd, led the training effort. The training began at Nha Trang on July 6, 1967. We have seen a report that by October 1967 the 17th CAG had given the Koreans seven Huey helicopters. We also understand that 12 pilots were trained in the US at Army aviation schools and that seven more were to be trained in Vietnam, though we are unsure of the timeline.

ROK 9th Division Capt. Kim Ki Hwann, one of the pilots trained by the 48th AHC, 1968-1969 at Ninh Hoa. Photo courtesy of Peter Kim. Presented by 48th AHC.

Four ROK aviation qualified officers were the first to qualify to enter the training. They were Capts. Kim Ki Hwann, Han Ki Sun, Choi Hu Yong and Lt. Choi Seung Woo. The captains graduated from flight school together in 1965 as fixed wing pilots and had more than 1,000 hours each in fixed wing aircraft with some previous training on helicopters, mainly the OH-23 observation helicopter. Lt. Choi was fixed wing rated as well but with fewer hours and this was his first exposure to helicopters. Most pilot comments we have seen indicate it is fairly easy to train a fixed wing pilot to fly a helicopter, partly because the fixed wing pilot already understands all the procedures associated with flying, air traffic control, and communications

The Korean officers did their initial transition training at Nha Trang and then went to Ninh Hoa with the 48th AHC for two months combat flight training, called "On the Job Training," OJT. From this point through at least the end of 1968 these four ROK pilots flew combat for the 48th.

The 48th AHC was one of the 17th's units and played a lead role in this new program. This was a natural because the 48th shared the White Horse headquarters compound at Ninh Hoa, and, of course, the 48th had been providing much support to the White Horse division, as well as to the Tigers.

White Horse Capt. Kim with a 48th AHC "Blue Star" Slick Huey at Dong Ba Thin, RVN, August 12, 1968. Photo courtesy of Peter Kim. Presented by 48th AHC.

This is a 48th AHC slick carrying 9th ROK White Horse insignia on the nose. Photo courtesy of Peter Kim. Presented by 48th AHC.

The intent was to have a total of 16 pilots qualified by the end of 1968. Prior to that, the 176th Aviation Co. (Airmobile) "Minuteman" received five Korean aviators at Lane Army Airfield (AAF) and trained them in airmobile assault techniques. In September 1968, the 129th AHC, which replaced the 176th, brought in four Korean pilots, all captains, all experienced pilots for their OJT program. They completed their program at the end of October and returned to the 11th ROK Aviation Co. As soon as they left, four more came in.

As an aside, the 60th AHC "Ghostriders" replaced the 48th to support the White Horse Division, and flew them on combat assaults right up until the end. One 60th aviator said the White Horses he was with wanted to continue fighting, peace treaty or not, but that was not to be.

We mentioned earlier that the 30th White Horse Regiment went to positions on the mainland just west of Cam Ranh Bay to protect it. This map shows you what we mean by the "mainland." You can see that the main port and storage facilities were on a peninsula. You can see Route 1 running on the edge of the coastline of the mainland. Americans would call their camp, "ROK Island."

ROK 3rd Bn, 30th Regiment, 9th Division White Horse outpost. Photo credit: Bobby Schulze. Presented by the 48th AHC.

ROK White Horses, "horsing around," west of Phan Rang, preparing to be picked up and taken back to base. Photo courtesy of Gary "Lizard" Revheim. Presented by the 48th AHC.

Vietnamese officers and men receive training in artillery observation from the 52nd Artillery Battalion of the 30th ROK Regimental Combat Team at Tuy Hoa, June 14, 1968. Photo credit: Kim Ki Sam. Presented by the Stars and Stripes.

Jeff England served with the US Army 127th MP Company from November 1967-November 1968.
He has listed some of his memories. One of those is this one:

"I remember the White Horse and Tiger Divisions of the ROK Army, and that Charlie (Viet Cong) never tried to blow the bridge outside White Horse Headquarters."

About all we know about this young man is that he is a wounded Korean soldier in the 12th USAF Hospital at Cam Ranh Bay, RVN, in 1967-68. He's playing the harmonica! Looks like his left leg took a beating. (Photo credit: rogerjeanita at webshots).

On the left is former US Army Captain Thomas Leo Briggs, standing at Cam Ranh Bay with his ROK White Horse Division counterpart, a lieutenant. Briggs has said this is one of his favorite photos, and he has since attended Vietnam Veterans of Korea functions in Seoul.

This is a temporary checkpoint at the bridge connecting the mainland to Cam Ranh peninsula. ARVN, Korean White Horse, USAF Security Police, and US Army Military Police all shared the duty here. In this case, an American is checking traffic while three White Horses are inside the checkpoint.

We'll conclude this section with the White Horse Band.

White Horse Band at Ninh Hoa. Photo credit: Steve Mathews, "Rat Pack 15" 6/68-6/69, 281st AHC "Intruders." Presented by the 281st AHC.

Today, the 9th White Horse Infantry Division is part of the I ROK Corps, Third ROKA (TROKA). TROKA is responsible for guarding the most likely potential attack routes from North Korea to Seoul. The I ROK Corps defends the Munsan Corridor.

tominjax  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:22:46 PM EDT

The 2nd ROK Marine Brigade "Blue Dragons"

Korean Marines prepare defensive positions near Tuy Hoa, RVN. Presented by US Army.

The 2nd ROK Marine Brigade "Blue Dragons" landed at Cam Ranh Bay in early October 1965, shortly after the Tiger Division arrived in Qui Nhon. The 9th ROKA White Horse Division was not yet in Vietnam, and would not arrive in this region until late 1966.

The ROK Marine Corps was only formed in April 1949 with an initial strength of 380 men, mostly volunteers from the ROK Navy and Coast Guard, with outdated Japanese weapons left over from WWII. It grew to two battalions by the end of 1949.

When the North Koreans invaded in June 1950, the allies were forced south to the Pusan Perimeter where they held. While that fighting was underway, in August 1950, a 3rd ROK Marine Battalion was created. The three battalions were organized into the 1st Korean Marine Corps Regiment and attached to the US 1st Marine Division (MARDIV). Following the Inchon landings, the ROK Marines occupied Inchon, enabling US forces to move toward Seoul.

In the spring of 1952, a decision was made to use ROK Marines to defend islands in the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan. There are many of them, if you study a good map, and you'll see that many lie astride North Korea. As a result, the 2nd Marine Regiment was formed with three battalions, two deployed to the Yellow Sea islands, one to the Sea of Japan islands. Several US Marines have commented that while the ROKs were there to defend the islands, they frequently conducted raids into North Korea, not content to sit still on an island. Many of the islands are fairly close to the North Korean mainland, and have been a bone of contention and source friction.

The Corps quickly established itself as a potent fighting force in the Korean War, called the "Ghost Busters" by some, "The invincible Marines" by others, and "The Legendary Marines" by still others.

The Blue Dragon Brigade, evolving from the 2nd Marine Regiment, was also organized around three infantry battalions (1st, 2nd and 3rd) supported by a composite artillery battalion, a heavy mortar company, an aviation detachment, and the normal support.

Fast forward 12 years. The Blue Dragons are headed to fight communism in Vietnam.

President Park Chung-hee reviews the ROK Marine Corps' 2nd Brigade, the "Blue Dragons," which had been tabbed for deployment to Vietnam as a combat unit. Presented by East Asian Affairs.

The 2nd ROK Marine Brigade deployed to Cam Ranh Bay in late September and early October 1965, at about the same time the ROKA Tiger Division deployed to Qui Nhon to the north.

The Blue Dragon brigade was commanded by Brigadier General Yun Sang Kim, shown in this Defense Department photo presented by the USMC, "US Marines in Vietnam, 1967."

All the Blue Dragon brigade's officers had been trained by the USMC at Quantico or San Diego. One US Marine colonel at Hoi An is said to have remarked some years later:

"We taught them everything we know, and now they know it better than us."

We're sure our Marines would take issue with that, but the point is, the Korean Marines were good, damn good.

The main message of this map is that the Blue Dragons moved from Cam Ranh Bay in a series of steps until they got to "Marine Country" of the III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF) in I Corps. The arrival of the ROK White Horse Division in 1966 enabled the ROK Marines to move north.

The brigade remained at Cam Ranh for a couple months. The Dragons then deployed to the Tuy Hoa area to lend a hand against the NVA 95th Division, which had disappeared for a while but then reared its ugly head in the rich rice regions around Tuy Hoa.

Rice transplanting, Tuy Hoa area. Presented by

The land in much of the Tuy Hoa area was very fertile for rice, and as a result, a major target for the VC and NVA. The 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division went over to Tuy Hoa, and the two brigades, one Army, one Marine, one US, one Korean, worked together until the end of December 1965 when the 101st brigade had to get over to Phan Rang. That left Tuy Hoa in Korean Marine Corps hands.

On December 31, 1965, and through January 17, 1966, the 47th ARVN Regiment joined with the 2nd ROK Marine Brigade to conduct Operation Jefferson, designed to secure the rice harvest in the Tuy Hoa valley. US Army and USMC helicopters supported the ground operation. This allied force engaged elements of the 95th NVA Regiment, opened Highway 1 and blocked sea infiltration routes in the area of Vung Ro Bay.

J. Hurley, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, posing with a ROK Marine near Qui Nhon, 1966. Photo credit: J. Hurley. Presented by

In one battle in January 1966, two battalions of NVA tried to overrun two ROK Marine companies. The fight lasted for three hours and the enemy suffered 400 dead outside the Marine perimeter.

When the 9th ROK White Horse Division arrived in fall 1966 and got settled in, it took responsibility for Tuy Hoa and the Blue Dragons were moved into I Corps, the responsibility of the III MAF. The Dragons were positioned in Quang Ngai Province south of Chu Lai, the southernmost province in I Corps.

I Corps, the northernmost corps straddling the DMZ and Laos, quickly became known as "Marine County" as the III MAF was assigned responsibility for it, the only corps assigned to a non-Army organization. As an aside, when the US Marine command structure was activated in Vietnam in May 1965, it bore the name III Marine Expeditionary Force, III MEF. On May 7, just two days later, its name was changed to III MAF in part because General Westmoreland had suggested to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the word "expeditionary" would ruffle the Vietnamese, stemming from the days of the French Expeditionary Corps.

Let's get back to the Dragon deployment to I Corps.

ROK Marine site south of Danang, RVN, 1969. Photo taken by USMC HMM-265. Presented by popasmoke.

In August 1966, the Chu Lai region was added to the Dragons' area of responsibility (AOR). The Dragon's 1st Battalion arrived about three miles south of Chu Lai on August 1, 1966. The 2nd Battalion arrived in September. This freed the 1/26 Marines to replace Brigade Landing Team (BLT) 3/5 Marines aboard the Special Landing Force (SLF), at the time, the USS Iwo Jima. It also was helpful in enabling the US Marines to concentrate more effort on the DMZ area and northern I Corps.

High aerial shot of Chu Lai. The southeast corner perimeter is not visible. Picture compliments of Leslie Hines, Americal Division Veterans Administration (ADVA) historian. Presented by the 176th Assault Helicopter Co.

The 5th ROK Marine Battalion arrived in 1967, to reinforce I Corps, which at that time was being strained by heavy NVA infiltration across the DMZ and from Laos. They arrived just in time. The year 1967 was a very hectic and active year for the allies in I Corps, and the Blue Dragons were in the thick of it.

Fire Support Base (FSB) Ky Tra, 1970-1971, at the time of this photo the home of 5/46th Bn, 198th Light Infantry Brigade (LIB). This FSB was northeast of Chu Lai and was constructed and occupied by the Blue Dragons, surrounded by booby traps, with only one safe trail down the hill. Photo contributed by Wallace Young. Presented by the 176th Assault Helicopter Co.

Lt Col James F. Durand, USMC, has presented an inspiring
account of the incredible battle of Tra Binh Dong fought by the 11th Company, 3rd Brigade, 2nd ROK Marine Brigade, the 11-3 Blue Dragons in February 1967.

The approximately 300 11-3 ROK Marines at the village of Tra Binh Dong in the Chu Lai region were attacked by about 1,500 man NVA regiment on February 14, 1967 (we have also seen a figure of about 2,400 NVA). The Marines were attacked in two directions and the enemy managed to breach the perimeter defenses. SSgt Bae Jang Choon and his first squad, 3rd platoon, rather than abandoning their position, fought with bullets, then grenades, then entrenching tools, pick axes, and finally fists. Pfc Kim Myong Deok killed 10 enemy with his rifle as the enemy advanced on him. Sgt Lee Hak Won took hand grenades in both hands, waited for the enemy to approach, and at the very last moment, threw himself and the grenades on the advancing enemy killing himself and four NVA. Pfc Lee Young Bok lured the enemy to his position, slipped into a spider hole, then released several grenades as the enemy entered the trench.

Second Lt. Shin Won Bae, the 1st platoon commander, and his platoon sergeant, Gunny Sergeant Kim Yong Kil, gathered a force together to destroy an enemy mortar position. When they approached within 20 meters of the target, they threw grenades and advanced, threw more grenades and advanced, and kept doing so until they reached the objective and took the mortar tubes with them back to their own positions, leaving the dead enemy behind.

The NVA attacked with flame throwers, and the Koreans moved toward the flames, firing machine-guns and throwing grenades, killed the enemy and took the flame throwers.

Lt Gen Louis W. Walt, Commanding General (CG), III MAF, speaks with Capt Jung, Commanding Officer, 11th Company, the morning following the battle, surrounded by BGen Kim Young Sang, CG, 2d ROK Marine Brigade, and other senior Marines. Around their feet are plenty of dead enemy. It's hard to read facial expressions, but General Walt appears to be acting like Capt. Jung's coach, or even dad, and Capt. Young looks mighty proud. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Veterans of Korea. Presented by Marine Corps Gazette.

And it just kept on like that until the Marines finally zeroed in their artillery, brought in USMC A-4s and some attack helicopters, and finished the battle. The NVA left 243 dead behind. There were over 100 NVA dead within the perimeter, and another 140 dead enemy straddled on the wire. Time magazine would say this in its article, "A savage week," February 24, 1967:

"It was knife to knife and hand-to-hand—and in that sort of fighting the Koreans, with their deadly tae kwon do (a form of karate), are unbeatable. When the action stopped shortly after dawn, 104 enemy bodies lay within the wire, many of them eviscerated or brained."

The US Marine Corps History and Museums Division, in a booklet entitled,
The Marines in Vietnam 1954-1973, talks about this battle this way:

"The heroic defense by the ROK Marine Brigade's 11th Company against a regimental-size attack southwest of Chu Lai triggered a series of actions, which resulted in the destruction of much of the 1st Viet Cong Regiment and perhaps some of the 21st NVA Regiment . With the enemy fixed in the hook of the Tra Khuc River, two ARVN airborne battalions were heloed into position to the west and behind the enemy, more ARVN blocked along the river to the south, a battalion of the 5th Marines went into position in the foothills to the northwest, and the ROK Marines pushed southwest from their base camps along Route 1."

Make no mistake about it, however, the ROK Marines took casualties. As an example, the 1st Hospital Company, 1st Marine Division at Chu Lai, later Danang, received many wounded ROK Marines as patients. Most of them were badly wounded, far too many requiring limb amputations, many requiring bilateral leg amputations.

Left to right, Lt. Kim Joong Ho, Commander James S. Maughon and Lt. Commander Llewllyn examine Pfc Kim Jerng Sey following his operation. Photo credit: Gy Sgt Galden Pase, USMC. Presented by The Observer, January 3, 1968. Provided by Jim Kellogg.

This ROK Marine lying in bed at the 1st Hospital Co. at Chu Lai is Pfc Kim Jerng Sey, ROK Marine Corps, 21. He was shot through the heart and other vital organs. He was wounded on a night search and destroy mission with the 26th Co., ROK Marines on the Batangan Peninsula near Chu Lai. An AK-47 shot tore through his flak jacket and penetrated the pericardium, the small conical membrane sac that encloses the heart. It continued through the heart and the diaphragm, bounced off a rib, and cut through the liver, stomach and spleen, before exiting through his back.

A MAG-16 helicopter picked him up less than 30 minutes after he was hit, and he was on the operating table within 15 minutes of arriving at the 1st Hospital. When he arrived, two other operations were underway. Lt. Commander John L. Reed came right over and went to work, assisted by Army nurse 2nd Lt. Rodger Springer. Together they removed his spleen and repaired his stomach and liver wounds. The operating room called for help. The hospital commander, Commander Jim S. Maughon responded immediately and started working on the other wounds. Lt. Kim Joong Ho, a doctor with the ROK Marines, assisted. Kim took 14 pints of blood before the operation was over.

These three photos show Pfc Kim Jerng Sey following his surgery. In the second photo, you see two suction bottles removing excess fluids from his chest to the right side of his bed, and in the next photo, several more suction bottles moving fluids from his abdomen.

These photos were provided by Jim Kellogg, shown here, who worked in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the 1st Hospital Co. at Chu Lai. Jim took care of many ROK soldiers and Marines who came to the hospital, many, far too many, who had to have their legs or arms or both amputated. Jim has commented to us how valiant these men were.

That's Pfc Kim Jerng Sey on the left, during his recuperation period. Incredible! Americans who worked in the hospital said that these Marines, no matter how baldy hurt, demonstrated tremendous courage, many wanting to get back out there and kill enemy, even with limbs missing.

USMC CH-53 working with ROK Marines south of Danang, RVN. Photo presented by popasmoke

It should be mentioned here that by April 1967, General Westmoreland decided that considerable focus had to be shifted to I Corps. There was friction between Westmoreland and the Marines, and, in fairness, the NVA was infiltrating through the DMZ and from Laos at increased rates.

Task Force Oregon was deployed to the corps, consisting of three Army brigades of six infantry battalions sent mainly to Quang Tin and Quang Ngai, the two southernmost provinces, freeing the Marines to focus their attention on the northern three provinces in the corps. Task Force Oregon, by October 1967, would be reorganized into the Americal Division, the seventh Army division fighting in Vietnam. So the Army was now in Marine Country.

During the summer of 1967, the 2nd NVA Division and VC units were conducting major operations in the southern three provinces of I Corps, the southernmost being Blue Dragon Country. By this time, nine US Army battalions were operating in and around Chu Lai. Along with the three ROK Marine Battalions just to the south of Chu Lai, these combined units forced the NVA and VC main force units to withdraw from the populated areas and move back into the mountains. They continued to cause problems for allied forces from the mountains, but at least they were out of the major population centers.

During July 1967, US Navy (USN), USMC and Korean Blue Dragons had been watching movements by a NVA trawler (labeled Skunk Alpha) suspected of being loaded with ammunition sailing slowly southward along the coastline.

Disguised enemy supply craft on the open seas. Photo taken by Patrol Squadron One P2V Neptune, which flew close enough to the ship to get her hull number "459" and identify large crates on the deck, along with no running lights. July 1967. Photo presented by "Sa Ky River Victory."

The USN's "Market Time Northern Surveillance Group" had been tracking the trawler for several days, mainly using P2V Neptune patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron One.

Map graphic presented by "Sa Ky River Victory."

When south of the Paracel Islands, "Skunk Alpha" turned directly toward the Blue Dragon coastal area, headed toward Cape Batangan (also known as Batagnan Peninsula) south of Chu Lai and Danang. She was spotted on July 11 fairly close to the shoreline. Skunk Alpha then turned away eastward, then northward back toward the Paracels. Then on July 13, she turned south again, then west and headed straight for Cape Batangan yet again.

The USN prepared a major operation to get this boat, wanting to do so before her crew could blow up the ship, a routine practice for the Skunks.

The 174th AHC "Dolphins and Sharks" was called in to support the operation. The Shark gunships would provide close air support while the Dolphins would bring in a ROK Marine air assault force to be used as needed. The details of the operation, along with very interesting photography and graphics, can be viewed in the article,
"Sa Ky River Victory."

Once the trawler turned to shore, apparently hoping to off-load her cargo to VC waiting on shore, various naval vessels worked exceedingly hard to trap the ship, get a firm identification, and identify her destination. Once that was done, the appropriate USN Swift boat patrol craft were tasked; the 174th Shark gunships were given directions; the 174th Dolphins carrying ROK Blue Dragon Marines were told their beach assault destination; and US and RVN Navy ships were positioned, everyone waiting for Skunk Alpha to enter the 12 mile limit.

The weather was bad, it was night, seas were running at 8-10 feet, the winds were blowing above 30 knots, and Skunk Alpha was trying to get into the smooth waters of the Sa Ky River, get to the nearby VC reception point, and unload and escape under the cover of lousy weather and darkness.

The enemy, attempting to get to shore, spotted approaching ships and opened fire. Swift boats accurately targeted the pilot house, killing the crew, and preventing the enemy from blowing up the ship. Shark gunships also opened fire and dropped flares to light up the area. Shore-based Blue Dragons opened up with artillery fire.

Skunk Alpha disabled, adrift and smoking, July 15, 1967. Photo presented by "Sa Ky River Victory."

Following a short naval battle that required some pretty good coordination and seamanship in the rough waters, Skunk Alpha was disabled. It became apparent its entire crew was dead or very badly wounded, and she went aground on the rocks.

The 174th Dolphins were airborne carrying ROK Blue Dragon Marines. They air assaulted in to secure the beach site, and clear out any VC waiting for their ship to come in.

Skunk Alpha "berthed" at a dock at Chu Lai. The disabling hits on the pilot house were devastating to the trawler's crew.

Here you see a portion of the cache of weapons and ammunition the trawler was carrying to enemy waiting on shore. Both this and the previous photo are credited to Major Derald Smith, USA, 174th AHC, and presented by that unit.

Raul "Bean" Herrera provided some interesting background on Skunk Alpha to Vietnam Magazine, published in February 1996, and revised by Larry Wasikowski. He said this

"Skunk Alpha had been well suited for her mission. Her holds were lined with fiberglass between the hull and its sheathing. She was also equipped with a high-capacity pumping system. Her engine was muffled for silent running. There was also 2,000 pounds of TNT strategically located aboard the vessel, that could be set off to self-destruct if she were to fail in her mission. Luckily (BM2 Bobby Don) Carver's mortar round had knocked out the detonation button. He saved thousands of Allied Forces' lives, including those of his crew. PCF-79 (patrol craft - Swiftboat) surely would have gone down in that explosion."

Throughout much of 1967, the NVA moved major force levels across the DMZ and into northern Quang Tri Province from Laos, most especially toward the Marines' Khe Sanh Combat Base (KSCB). The "Hill Battles of Khe Sanh" were fought throughout the year, an intensive and very difficult prelude to the major NVA assault on the base in 1968. The Marines assessed that as many as 12 full strength and fully supplied NVA divisions led by the 304th NVA Division intended to attack KSCB and destroy the US Marines located there. This was one of two major NVA objectives for 1968: Tet and Khe Sanh.

USMC CH-46 from HMM-263 heading back from the DMZ, returning with Korean Marines and seven or eight Viet Cong captured by Korean troops, taking them to Da Nang, April 1968. Photo credit: Ramiro Alvear, gunner. Presented by

A South Korean Marine from 1st Battalion, 2nd ROK Marine Brigade (Blue Dragon Unit) escorts three Viet Cong prisoners captured during a search-and-destroy patrol near Tuy Hoa on April 15, 1966. The prisoners were caught setting booby traps on a trail. Presented by Stars and Stripes.

The Blue Dragons sent in a detachment of ROK Marines who specialized in jungle warfare. Their mission was to capture as many NVA regulars as possible for interrogation. The Blue Dragons did this with considerable dispatch, operating only at night. Marines write that the Dragons would always come back with prisoners.

Also in December 1967, the 11th Infantry Brigade arrived in southern Quang Ngai Province. That permitted the Blue Dragons to move north to the vicinity of Hoi An. That in turn allowed 1st MARDIV battalions to start moving farther north.

Then, on January 18, 1968 the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division arrived for what it called Operation Van Buren. They joined with the ARVN and ROK Marines to engage the enemy's 95th Regiment, which was reinforced by the 3rd VC Regiment and local VC militia. The operation continued, renamed Operation Harrison on February 21, through March 25, with the enemy's 95th Regiment incurring severe casualties. We have seen various numbers of 95th Regiment killed. They are all very high. The bottom line was the 95th was virtually taken out of business.

The Tet Offensive of 1968 was, of course, everywhere. On January 30, 1968, General Westmoreland sent a telegram to Admiral Sharp, CINCPAC and told him, among other things, the following:

"Timely warning of the attacks plus rapid reaction by US/ARVN/ROK forces has brought the situation in the Danang area under control at this time. Casualties so far list 89 enemy KIA and 7 friendly KIA. Noteworthy among the counteractions launched in the early morning hours was that of the ROK Marines, who, in response to an enemy ground attack in the Hoi An area, inserted a force by helicopter, engaged the enemy, killing 21 with no friendly casualties."

"Ham Salad Alpha." Korean Marine position south of Da Nang. Daily resupply mission for HMM-265. In the Spring of 1968 it was one of the hottest zones in I Corps. It took gun ships and fixed wing aircraft to get in and out. Presented by

Pacific Stars and Stripes reported on March 20, 1968, that Brig. Gen. Yun Sang Kim, commander, 2nd ROK Marine Brigade, said that his troops arrived in the Hoi An area of Quang Nam Province one day before Tet. He decided that instead of bombarding the city, he would draw the enemy out of the city and then attack them. During the Blue Dragon effort in this area from January 30 - February 29, his forces killed 609 enemy, with his losses at 50.

The Blue Dragons conducted six "Victory Dragon" operations during 1968 in Quang Nam Province, and 12 more in 1969. Edwin H. Simmons, Brigadier General, USMC, has written a summary of
"Marine Corps Operations in 1968" for the USMC History and Museums Division, in a booklet entitled, The Marines in Vietnam 1954-1973, and he writes this about these Victory Dragon operations in 1968:

"The ARVN had stood up to the test of the Tet offensive well. In 1968, they accounted for 26,688 enemy killed, more than double the 12,488 attributed to them in 1967. The ROK Marine Brigade in its Victory Dragon series had killed another 2,504 enemy. Added together, the Free World Military Forces in I Corps in 1968 had killed over 100,000 of the enemy, taken nearly 35,000 weapons."

It's worth noting that an enemy sergeant from the 31st NVA Regiment told his interrogators in 1968 that the mission of his unit was to "attack Hoi An, five times if necessary, and set up a liberation government." Their attacks failed.

Hoi An area. Courtesy of Google Maps.

Barrier Island, about 34 miles south of Danang, RVN, and just south of Hoi An, had long served as a haven for enemy units. It was fortified with bunkers, tunnels and fighting holes. Marines had fought there before and would fight there again. We have been unable to specifically locate Barrier Island. That said, we do know it is one of the islands shown on this satellite image of the Song Hoi An River just south of Hoi An, flowing west to east into the South China Sea.

In May 1969, HMM-362 lifted the 1/26 Marines to the island, setting them down in an area boxed off on the land side by the ARVN, Blue Dragons, and elements of the Americal Division. The Operation, known as Daring Rebel, yet again proved the concept of large-scale cordon-and-search operations in disrupting the VC.

Washtenaw County (LST-1166) at Naha, Okinawa in 1962, preparing to load for duty in the Republic of the Philippines. Presented by NavSource.

Then, on September 11, 1969, the target was once again the Barrier Island. The Washtenaw County, US Navy tank landing ship LST-1166, participated in the first combined US-ROK amphibious landing combat operation since 1953, the first ROK Marine amphibious landing in its 20 year history, and the last Special Landing Force (SLF) operation of the war. The assault was known as Operation Defiant Stand. Several units participated in this combined operation, including: USMC HMM-265 (from the ROK Blue Dragon standpoint appropriately nicknamed "The Dragons"), Brigade Landing Team (BLT) 1-26 Marines, the 3rd Battalion Blue Dragons, South Vietnamese patrol craft, and several 7th Fleet ships.

We've had a bit of a problem piecing the attack together, but we'll give it our best.

Just prior to the amphibious assault, the USS Vancouver group feinted an amphibious operation about 10 miles south of the real target to draw off defenders at the target.

HMM-265 lifted BLT 1-26 and some Blue Dragons aboard CH-46Ds from the USS Whetstone to the far side of Barrier island. The USS Whetstone was the primary control ship, controlling the landings across Red Beach. The USS Taussig, a destroyer, provided offshore fire support.

The Blue Dragons set up a blocking position across the island. The 1/26 Marines landed just south of that blocking position and moved north to join the Dragons. Then the Washtenaw County brought US Marines and the 5th and 6th Companies, 3rd Battalion Blue Dragon Brigade, ashore by amphibious assault on the northern edge of the island. This force then swept south to the USMC-ROKMC blocking position. In all, 293 enemy were killed.

Vietnamese patrol craft cut off escape routes from the island.

For the record, General Simmons was upbeat about prospects in I Corps. Yes, there had been Tet; but the enemy was soundly defeated in that offensive. Yes, there was the major siege of the Marines' Khe Sanh Combat Base in 1968, following over a year of Hill Battles against that same base. The enemy was soundly defeated during all attacks as well. General Simmons has said in his summary of 1968:

"Many of the Viet Cong main force and local forces, old opponents of III MAF, had been shredded by the long war and had been dropped from our estimates of his order of battle as being no longer combat effective ... Even with the NVA, quality was down. North Vietnamese prisoners were often extremely young and poorly trained. Battlefield discipline had declined. Dead and wounded were being left behind and so were weapons."

Simmons had good reason to feel optimistic in 1969. In I Corps, the pacification program was doing well, some 60,000 enemy had been killed, with the ARVN and Koreans combining to kill 27,440 of those, and 10,567 enemy had been captured or threw in the towel and defected.

This photo, presented by popasmoke, shows a USMC HMM-263 "Thunder Eagle" CH-53 helicopter on its side after hitting a ROK Marine camp bunker and crashing. One US Marine, Sgt. McNiel, was killed. John "JD" Barber flew into this camp south of Danang at about the same time of this crash to evacuate Blue Dragons during floods of fall 1970. He has said his aircraft was almost half submerged in the water while the Dragons waded through the water and boarded. His report indicates that the Dragons stood on top the bunkers because of the flooding.

In 1970, command arrangements started to change in I Corps. The US Army's XXIV Corps became the senior command in the I Corps Tactical Zone, vice III MAF. III MAF now fell under the operational control of XXIV Corps. The III MAF Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR) included all Quang Nam province, a northern slice of Thua Thien Province, including the Hai Van Pass, and part of Quang Tin Province to include Que Son Valley. Danang was the major population center, accounting for 418,000 people of the 970,000 in the TAOR.

The 1st MARDIV's main job was to keep the enemy away from Danang. The division set up a series of concentric circles of forces. The division and its service units along with the 1-5 Marines took charge of the ring closest to Danang. The 1st Marines took charge of the next outer circle, called the "Rocket-Belt." The Blue Dragons retained control of their TAOR, in the Hoi An area up to the Marble Mountain area, while the 1-5 Marines and the 7th Marines were to the west and southwest of the ROKs. They successfully defended Danang.

We mentioned in a previous section how ROK Army martial arts experts would tour the villages to impress and teach the locals, and we said we would return to that subject.

It turns out that the Blue Dragon martial arts program and use of martial arts in close combat made a big-time impression on 2nd and then 1st Lieutenant James L. Jones, then a platoon and company commander with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines in the RVN's I corps.

General James L. Jones, USMC, is the current Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). Prior to that, when he was the Commandant of the Marine Corps, he adjusted previous martial arts training programs into one that continues today, called the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP).

He recalled how his Marines in Vietnam envied the skills demonstrated by their Blue Dragon colleagues. We mentioned earlier the Battle of Tra Binh Dong. You will recall the Dragons were engaged in a considerable amount of hand-to-hand combat in which they used their martial arts skills with great effect. Then Capt. Jung, who led the 11th ROK Marine Company in that battle, after retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel, emphasized two areas in which martial arts influenced his Marines in that battle:

"First, the enemy suddenly overwhelmed our trenches and continuously piled up to the degree that we were unable to use rifles and bayonets as weapons. There were many instances in which we were pushing and pulling each other inside the trenches. At that time, Tae Kwon Do became the Korean Marines’ weapon and by hitting the enemy in his vital parts, we brought him under our control.

"Second, it can be seen that the courage to be unafraid when facing your enemy was trained through Tae Kwon Do. Although we didn’t have a path of retreat and had to stay in our position, the fortitude to fight bravely while exposed to the enemy led to victory at the Battle of Tra Binh Dong."

Retired Major General Shin Won Bae, who later commanded the Blue Dragon brigade agrees:

"Even though tactics call for fixing bayonets to rifles during close quarters to neutralize the enemy, our weapon at the time, the M–1 rifle, was not a weapon that could be wielded quickly. In urgent situations, the Marine in the front would fiercely strike the enemy’s face and vital parts using Tae Kwon Do, causing him to momentarily lose his will to fight. Then a second Marine would finish off the enemy with the rifle. Additionally, striking the enemy with an entrenching tool was highly effective in destroying the will to fight among the enemy’s lead elements. While Tae Kwon Do demonstrated its practical effectiveness on the battlefield, more importantly, martial arts training instilled the confidence to defeat the enemy in each Marine. I think this is the greater significance of Tae Kwon Do training."

It turns out, in Vietnam, one enemy tactic was to try to move in as close to US ground forces as possible, to avoid artillery, mortar and close air support fire. Not so for the Koreans. The enemy told their troops to stay away and avoid close-in combat with them. It is worth noting that the RVN government asked the Koreans to train their troops in martial arts. The RVN was the first foreign country where Taekwondo was taught on such a large scale. The program started in 1962.

You will be interested to meet Randall Arnold, Master Sergeant, USMC (Ret.), shown below, on the left, saluting his officer on the day of his retirement, July 1, 2005. When he retired, he was the last enlisted man in the Marine Corps on active duty to have served in Vietnam. There are no more. Hard to believe.

Assigned to Danang in January 1970, he worked as a communicator with the Communications Support Company, 7th Communications Battalion, III MAF. After pulling that duty, he was sent to support ground operations with the 2nd ROK Marine Brigade and the 2nd Marine Corps Combined Action Group at Hoi An. While there, the Blue Dragons introduced him to martial arts. He has said martial arts have since become a significant part of his life and family:

“That’s when I first started getting into martial arts. I used to watch (the ROK Marines) work out. Those guys train really, really hard, and they’re tenacious fighters. Their intensity impressed me so much that later on, when the battalion moved to Red Beach on Danang Bay, I continued to study under a Korean Army colonel. It opened up a lifelong passion.”

By the time Iraq came, our military forces, Marines and Army included, had developed many techniques to kill their enemies from a distance. But they still train in a serious way for knife and hand-to-hand fighting. You might wish to read, "MCMAP and the Marine Warrior Ethos," by Capt. Jamison Yi, USMC.

A modern-day US Marine demonstrates MCMAP take-down techniques. The insert shows the technique employed in an operation in Baghdad. Presented by "MCMAP and the Marine Warrior Ethos," by Capt. Jamison Yi, USMC.

Michael Yon, writing "Gates of Fire" published on August 31, 2005, tells of Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Robert Prosser's hand-to-hand, life-or-death experience one fine day in Mosul, Iraq. This is a must read, and it has terrific on-scene battle photography taken by Yon. Most important, it stresses that in modern urban warfare, the capacity to prevail in hand-to-hand combat will be crucial.

We'll finish our story with two photos.

These are some of the ROK Marines that flew the O-1 "Bird Dog" Forward Air Controller (FAC) missions with US Marines, 1970. We believe these men flew as observers in the back seat to help coordinate between the USMC pilot and the Korean Marines on the ground he was supporting. Presented by

Yes, ROK soldiers and Marines are tough cookies. We have read one man's account of how his father, a Marine Gunny Sergeant, worked with ROK Marines in Korea, and would tell his son:

"Those guys are so hardcore one of 'em could get shot and think it’s a mosquito bite."

But, at the end of the day, this photo shows that a troop is a troop. God bless them all.

Let's finish with this proud photo:

ColtD1911  [Member]
5/25/2010 1:27:28 PM EDT
Good post.
WinstonSmith  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:37:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?

They did. My father almost shot one by accident.
USMC6177  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:55:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By motown_steve:
Originally Posted By ColtD1911:
Originally Posted By motown_steve:

The Koreans fought in Vietnam?

320,000 did.

No shit?

Learn something new every day.

One does not fuck with ROK Marines

Serious face
GarandM1  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:56:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Riply21:

Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?
And were quite feared the north Vietnamese would avoid them.

Yep, they were pretty tough fighters, not at all afraid of the VC.
GarandM1  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 1:57:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Rocksarge:
so there's a chance my Garand could have seen WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. NICE!!!
Originally Posted By AKSU:
M1 Garands

ARVN troops were issued Garands, too, so it's a very good chance. Assuming, of course, you got one that was taken back before the country fell.
USMC6177  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 2:04:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By piccolo:
it was said (by US troops, noless) that ROK Marines had muscles in their very shit.

I laughed out loud at this as I have heard it many times.
Tahawus  [Member]
5/25/2010 2:05:59 PM EDT
ROK soldier+Garand+machete = fear of God in the NVA and Vietcong.
piccolo  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 2:24:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By tominjax:
My Dad has told me stories about them. He said that when ROK soldiers were in the area that the VC would get the hell out. He says the ROK soldiers would cut a ear off of their kills and hang it on their belts or something like that. They were very feared by the North Vietnamese.

They were not very kind and loving people to the communists because they were victims of poverty and poor upbringing. Their conduct was quite disgraceful.

Of course, these days ROK Marines have been trained in sensitivity.

They now sit down with the enemy and discuss their differences and show him that they care. They let the love pour out all over the enemy so he sees the error of his ways and when the enemy starts to attempt to see the point of view of the kindly ROK Marines, they smile, look very lovingly onto their eyes while another Marine comes up from behind and slits their throats.

piccolo  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 2:26:47 PM EDT
Originally Posted By USMC6177:
One does not fuck with ROK Marines

That is a characteristic they share with Texas diamondback rattlesnakes and discarded condoms.

Wash-Ar15  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 2:58:04 PM EDT
i had one as a customer.He must have been early 50's or so. First time i met him, I knew that he was ex mil by the haircut and look. After a while he told me he served in Vietnam. I ask him how how he got to US and he told me that ex mil get a leg up in the immigration ladder. the guy was like 6 ft 3 and for a 50 something,could have kick my ass 10 times over.
ffsparky26  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 3:01:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By motown_steve:
The Koreans fought in Vietnam?

Viet Cong were scared shit less of ROK Marines per every Vietnam vet that I have talked to who worked with the ROK Marines.

5/25/2010 3:10:26 PM EDT
ROK Marines are some tough bastards!
Some serious VC killing machines!

crurifragium  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 3:16:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:
Originally Posted By ColtD1911:
Originally Posted By motown_steve:

The Koreans fought in Vietnam?

320,000 did.

And they fight alongside us in Afghanistan today.

The ROK has been a pretty steadfast ally.

I've heard the Taliban haven't been stupid enough to attack them yet...
guardian855  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 3:21:08 PM EDT
Actually, the ROK soldiers pay were remitted directly to the South Korean government, the soldiers probably saw very little of that pay. The US government also sent billions of dollars in aid in exchange for the troops, so the South Korean government was very motivated to send their troops to Vietnam.

Originally Posted By Lakemoor:
ROK soldiers were paid the same amount as Americans which was a lot of dough back then according to my dad. Korea was very poor during that time period. Apparantly lot of South Koreans volunteered to go to get that pay.

Another thing I read was that ROK troops didn't follow all the rules of war. Lot of bad things happened at their hands.

US_PATRIOT_1776  [Member]
5/25/2010 3:24:35 PM EDT
Very cool thread. I will read it in detail later
guardian855  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 3:24:54 PM EDT
Another interesting fact:

Adjusted for population, a greater number of Koreans fought in the Vietnam War as their American counterparts. 312,853 Koreans were dispatched as combatants and another 100,000 Koreans resided in Vietnam during the war involved in various civilian enterprises. 4,687 Koreans died in that war according to the Korean Ministry of Defense. But no official casualty figures including the total number of Koreans missing and wounded have ever been released.
blkt72  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 4:13:18 PM EDT

I'm 43 and should have known this, I didn't. Thank you for the education.
MallNinjaSK  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 6:20:47 PM EDT
Great posts tominjax. I'm fucking pumped.

cavscouty  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 6:34:00 PM EDT
Awesome post, wow. Thanks!
cosmos556  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 6:35:00 PM EDT
ROK was NO joke. Evil dudes!!
JIMBEAM  [Team Member]
5/25/2010 6:40:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:
Originally Posted By ColtD1911:
Originally Posted By motown_steve:

The Koreans fought in Vietnam?

320,000 did.

And they fight alongside us in Afghanistan today.

The ROK has been a pretty steadfast ally.

I had a chance to buy a ROK Marine a beer when I was in Korea last month. Good kid.

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