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Page 24(The Advisory & Combat Assistance Era: 1954-1964)  


First group of Vietnamese Marine officers to attend U.S. Marine Officers Basic School, Quantico, Virginia, pose with Lieutenant Colonel Frank R. Wilkinson, Jr. (second from right), and Captain Michael Gott (extreme right). At the extreme left is Captain Le Nguy en Khang, a future Commandant of the Vietnamese Marine Corps. To his immediate left is Major Le Nhu Hung, a senior officer of the VNMC. (Photo courtesy of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Gott, USMC).

Vietnamese National forces to the French High Command. Indeed, a criticism frequently voiced by USMAAG officials during the Indochina War had been that the French tended to frustrate the development of the Vietnamese military forces by assigning them static security tasks rather than offensive missions. Even though the forerunners of the Vietnamese Marine battalions had operated as commando units, they too had seen extensive duty protecting dinassaut bases and other French installations. Now this defensive thinking was affecting the attitude of the Vietnamese Marine toward training. Moreover, it was threatening the American effort to transform the service into an aggressive amphibious strike force.

By nature this particular problem defied quick, simple solutions. The Marine advisors, therefore, undertook to adjust the orientation of the entire Vietnamese Marine Corps over a prolonged period through continuous emphasis on offensive training. The advisors consistently encouraged their Vietnamese counterparts to develop training schedules which stressed patrolling, ambushing, fire and maneuver, and night movement. In this same connection the Marine advisors translated U.S. Marine small unit tactics manuals into French, whereupon the same manuals were further translated by Vietnamese Marines into Vietnamese. This process assured that adequate training literature was made available to the individual Marine and his small unit leaders. The offensively oriented training programs and the translation project complemented one another, and combined with continuous supervision by the U.S. advisors and the return of young Vietnamese officers from Quantico, gradually helped impart a more ag-

 

 

 



Page 24(The Advisory & Combat Assistance Era: 1954-1964)