Republic of Korea Armed Forces in Vietnam 1964-1973

v.1.0 April 15, 2001

This historical orbat has been written by Mr. Brian T. Kim.

Republic of Korea Survey (liaison) Team

Departed to Vietnam: 19th of August 1964

"Dove" Unit

Arrived on Vietnam: 25th of February 1965

Headquartered at: Bien Hoa

Order of Battle:

       A engineer battalion

       A transport company

       A Marine engineer company

       A security battalion

       A service unit

       A control group

       A MASH unit

Capital ("Tiger") Division

Arrived on Vietnam: 29th of September 1965

Departed Vietnam: 10th of March 1973

Headquartered at: Qui Nhon

Order of Battle:

       Divisional Headquarters and Headquarters Company

       Cavalry Regiment, composed of three battalions

       1st Infantry Regiment, three battalions

       26th Infantry Regiment, three battalions

       Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, Division Artillery

       10th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)

       60th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)

       61st Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)

       628th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm)

       Divisional Engineer Battalion

       Armor company

       Reconnaissance Company

       Signal Company

       Military Police Company

       Medical Company

       Ordinance Company

       Quartermaster Company

       Replacement Company

       Aviation Section

2nd Marine Brigade

Arrived on Vietnam: 19th of October 1965

Departed Vietnam: December of 1971 to February of 1972

Headquartered at: Cam Ranh Bay, Tuy Hoa, Phu Bai, Hoi An

Order of Battle:

       1st Battalion

       2nd Battalion

       3rd Battalion

       5th Battalion

9th (White Mare) Infantry Division

Arrived Vietnam: 27th of September 1966

Departed Vietnam: 16th of March 1973

Headquartered at: Ninh Hoa

Order of Battle:

       Divisional Headquarters and Headquarters Company

       28th Infantry Regiment, three battalions

       29th Infantry Regiment, three battalions

       30th Infantry Regiment, three battalions

       Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, Division Artillery

       30th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)

       51st Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)

       52nd Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)

       966th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm)

       Engineer Battalion

       Armor Company

       Reconnaissance Company

       Signal Company

       Military Police Company

       Medical Company

       Ordinance Company

       Quartermaster Company

       Replacement Company

       Aviation Section

Other Republic of Korea Units in Vietnam

Commands: 100th Logistical Command

Groups: Construction Support Group

1st Logistical Support Group

2nd Logistical Support Group

Army Elements: Army Intelligence Unit

Army Security Corps

Battalions

       Service: Headquarters and Service Battalion

       Engineer: 127th Engineer Battalion

       Transportation: 237th and 239th Transportation Battalions

       Signal: 5th Signal Battalion

       Hospitals: 102nd and 106th Evacuation Hospitals

201st Mobile Army Surgical Hospital unit

Companies

       Infantry: 51st Rifle and 101st Infantry Companies

       Engineer: 1st and 2nd Engineer Companies

†††† Facilities Engineering Company

       Ordinance: 10th and 26th Ordinance Companies

       Ammunition: 53rd and 102nd Ammunition Companies

       Quartermaster: 257th and 258th Quartermaster Companies

       Military Police: 26th Military Police Company

       Aviation: 11th Aviation Company

       Psychological Operations: Psychological Operations Company

       Transportation: 801st Transportation Company

Narrative

At the request of the United States, President Park Chung Hee of the Republic of Korea agreed to send military units into Vietnam, despite opposition of both in Assembly and among the populace. In exchange, United States agreed to provide additional military funds to Korea to modernize its armed forces, totaling about a billion dollars.

Republic Of Korean Army unitsí Area of Responsibility were southern half of the II Corp. The Marine Corps units were deployed on the I Corp alongside with US Marines.

Initially, the AK47-equipped Vietcong and NVA outgunned Korean soldiers, since they were armed with World War II-era weaponry. But soon they received more modern weapons from United States military.

Most of the operations never exceeded battalion-size, but they also conducted divisional size operation. Before conducting a mission, Koreans will carefully laid out the plan and do through search more than once to firmly root out the foes. Koreans quickly learned pidgin Vietnamese language; for fear that most Vietnamese translators are and was spies for Vietcong and NVA. Koreans also had better field intelligence than their American counterparts. Koreans did counterinsurgency operations so well that American commanders felt Korean AOR is the safest. This is further supported when Vietcong documents captured after Tet Offensive warns their compatriots to never engage Koreans until full victory is certain. In fact, it is often the NVA and Vietcong who were ambushed by Koreans and not vice versa. Koreans used deadly hand-to-hand combat equally as destructive fire control.

Total of 300,000 Koreans served in Vietnam, with its actual strength throughout the year was around 45,000. About 4,000 never came back to home alive, with tens of thousands more suffering physical and psychological trauma. Many who fought were equally confused about the war as was with Americans. War also affected the war deeper in Korea than was at United States, one out 200 Koreans were sent to Vietnam, in oppose to 1 in 300 in United States. This was further aggravated with knowledge that they are fighting against fellow Asians who want to expel what Vietnamese saw was foreign invasion. Fighting in a different environment and living in strange culture led to indifferences among Koreans towards Vietnamese. About 4,000 Vietnamese had died by atrocities committed by Korean soldiers.

Officers and men of the Capital Division were the best, received the best and fought well in Vietnam War. They boasted that they have a kill ratio of 1 to 17 and they do not exaggerate their body counts. Men of the 9th Infantry didnít have same caliber as the Capital, but they achieved equal accomplishment in combat. From the creation, Korean Marines were the elite. In Korean War they earned the nickname "Invincible Marines," by foreign press after a Marine squad wiped out a Communist battalion. In Vietnam, they earned the new nickname "Devil Fighters," had a kill ratio of 1 to 25.

Vietnam War was a boon to Korean economy, as construction contracts and other markets were poured currency into Korean wallet. It could be seen in same light with Japan reignited its industry during Korean War.

North Korea also sends its own personals to aid their fellow ideological comrades in North Vietnam. About a hundred pilots and psychological warfare unit fought in Vietnam.

 

Back to Main


All content © 2003 Ravi Rikhye. Reproduction in any form prohibited without express permission.