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gressive offensive spirit to the entire Marine Corps.

Summing Up Developments

The years between 1955 and 1959 constitute perhaps the most critical and challenging span in the chronicle of the Vietnamese Marine Corps. Born out of the confusion which dominated South Vietnam in the aftermath of the Geneva Agreement, the embryonic Marine Corps had survived against heavy odds. Even before its scattered components could be drawn together under a centralized command, the Corps had been hurled into combat against the rebellious sects. Over the course of their commitment the Vietnamese Marines had strengthened their own cause through demonstrations of their fighting capability and loyalty. In terms of the VNMC's continued existence, equally critical battles were being waged in Saigon where the Senior U.S. Marine Advisor and the Vietnamese Senior Marine Officer struggled to gain support for the infant service. It was there, ironically, that the destiny of the Vietnamese Marine Corps ultimately had been decided.

On balance, the interval between 1955 and 1959 was characterized by uncertainty, transition, and problem solving. Never sure of the Marine Corps' future, the Senior Vietnamese Marine Officer and a handful of U.S. Marine advisors had carried forward their efforts to transform scattered French-inspired river commando units into a coherent and responsive American-style amphibious force. While this transformation was only partially realized, definite progress was apparent. Vietnamese officers had replaced French commanders, and with American guidance, had given their service a strong interim structure. Many of the more serious problems which had plagued the struggling organization since its inception had been identified. With American assistance, solutions to those problems were being developed and tested. So, despite a stormy beginning and a threatened early childhood, the Vietnamese Marine Corps lived.



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