Saturday, January 17, 2009

Postcard from Vietnamese Marine Training at Quantico

Given the Presidential Inauguration this week, it seems an appropriate time to share this postcard.

It was sent on January 10, 1965 by a Vietnamese Marine, Major Minh, training at Quantico, Virginia.
The machine postmark reads, "Marine Corps Schools, VA."

The recipient was a Warrant Officer in the Vietnamese 1st Marine Battalion, headquartered in Saigon. A receiving cancel in Vietnam marks a transit time of eight days.

General Le Minh Dao

The two covers illustrated with this post bookend the military career of Le Minh Dao, the South Vietnamese General who is perhaps best known for leading the ARVN 18th Division during the waning days of the Republic of Vietnam.

The first cover takes us back to February 1956, when Le Minh Dao was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia for military training. It was sent home to his family and the enclosed letter mentions his recent visit to Washington DC during Tet. He writes that he is attending school regularly and expects to be home in June.

After a long and decorated military career, Le Minh Dao was captured after the at the Battle of Xuan Loc by PAVN forces and was sentenced to live the next 17 years in re-education camps where he became weak and nearly blind from malnutrition.

The second cover was sent from Le Minh Dao from a re-education camp in Ha Son Binh province in April 1982. When he was finally released, he received political asylum in the United States where he lives today.

South Vietnamese Naval Ship Listing

I just added to my collection this cover, sent from the Vietnamese Naval Ship Tran Hung Dao, hull number HQ1 at KBC 3328.

I thought I'd share my checklist that summarizes information I've compiled about each VNN navel vessels, including the ship number, name, type, disposition, associated KBC number(s) and notes.

Click to view VNN Ship Listing

There are quite a few holes, especially regarding the ship names and dispositions, so any help making this listing more complete will be greatly appreciated.