An Association of Allied Advisors & Counterparts
Advisors: First In, Last Out
Summarized Events of Allied Advisor's in Vietnam
Date Command Est US Advisors Comment Advisors Name Unit/Team Location
Continuation of WWII Indochina
3/10/1945 IJA Indochina Japanese troops  occupying Indochina carry out a coup, Operation Meigo, against French colonial authorities and announce an end to the colonial era, declaring Vietnam,Laos and Cmbodia independent. The French administration in Vietnam was ousted and numerous French officials were executed.
March 1945 OSS Indochina   After French intelligence networks collapsed in Vietnam the GBT and the OSS reached out to a man who had drawn positive attention from the 14th Air Force in 1944 when he escorted a downed American pilot out of Vietnam and into China. OSS agent Charles Fenn tracked down the man in question, HO Chi Minh, describing him as articulate and charismatic, and both open and friendly to Americans. Fenn was convinced Ho would be an excellent intelligence agent and the group he represented, the Viet Minh, would also be valuable assets in the war against Japan. Soon thereafter, Ho Chi MInh became OSS agent "Lucius".
July 1945 OSS Indochina 7 OSS Special Operations Team 13 "Deer Team" and Major Allison Thomas parachuted into the Viet Minh base area to train the Vietnamese for operations against the Japanese. They were greeted by a large banner proclaiming, "Welcome to Our American Friends".
August 1945 OSS Indochina   At the end of WWII the "Vietnamese-American Force" entered Hanoi and were welcomed by jubilant, cheering villagers waving Viet Minh flags and offering food. The Viet Minh were in full control in the North. However the Japanese defeat left a power vacuum in Indochina and France began to reassert its authority over Vietnam.
8/22/1945 American
  The American Mission arrived in Hanoi to prepare for the formal Japanese surrender. Led by Captain Archimedes Patti who witnessed the first international ceremony where the Vietnamese flag was displayed alongside those of the Allies and the new Vietnamese national anthem was played after the Star Spangled Banner. Vo Nguyen Giap said "This is the first time in the history of Vietnam that our flag has been displayed in an international ceremony and our national anthem played in honor of a foreign guest. I will long remember this occasion."
9/2/1945 OSS Indochina   Capt. Patti in Hanoi witnessed Ho Chi Minh declare an independent Vietnam and read his Declaration of Independence, which was modelled on the American Declaration of Independence of 1776, to a cheering crowd in an effort to win the support of the United States. This apparent US recognition of Vietnamese indpendence inflamed the French who expected support from the US to help restore their control over the colony.
9/2/1945 French Union (FU)   French forces seize southern Vietnam and opened talks with the Vietnamese communists.
9/15/1945 OSS Indochina   As U.S. Army Major Thomas sat down to dinner with Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap on September 15, 1945, he had one vexing question on his mind. Ho had secured power a few weeks earlier, and Thomas was preparing to leave Hanoi the next day and return stateside, his mission complete. He and a small team of Americans had been in French Indochina with Ho and Giap for two months, as part of an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) mission to train Viet Minh guerrillas and gather intelligence to use against the Japanese in the waning days of World War II. But now, after Ho’s declaration of independence and Japan’s surrender the previous month, the war in the Pacific was over. So was the OSS mission in Indochina.

At this last dinner with his gracious hosts, Thomas decided to get right to the heart of it. So many of the reports he had filed with the OSS touched on Ho’s ambiguous allegiances and intents, and Thomas had had enough. He asked Ho point-blank: Was he a Communist? Ho replied: “Yes. But we can still be friends, can’t we?”

It was a startling admission. In the mid-1940s, the Viet Minh leadership, under Ho Chi Minh, looked to the West for help in its independence movement and got it. As World War II ended, the United States and its allies, most of them former colonial powers, now confronted a new problem. Independence movements were emerging all over the East. But former colonial powers had lost their military muscle, and the Americans simply wanted to “bring the boys home.” During the war, the United States had sought any and all allies to combat the fascist powers, only to find, years later, it may have inadvertently given birth to new world leaders either through misconceptions or missed opportunities. Vietnam’s independence leader, Ho Chi Minh, had been only a relatively minor figure just a few years earlier. In 1945, Ho became the leader of a movement that would result in revolutionary tumult for decades to come.
9/25/1945 OSS Indochina   In the South, the head of the OSS mission to Saigon, LTC Peter Dewey, also angered the French. Dewey, like Patti, was royally treated by the Vietnamese and met often with the Vietnamese to gather information. Their relationship angered both the French and British and, after compaints about their behavior,both were recalled from duty in Vietnam. LTC Dewey, in his last OSS transmission, stated "Cochinchina is burning, the French and British are finished here, and we ought to clear out of Southeast Asia."
9/26/1945 OSS Indochina   Viet Minh ambush KIA LTC A. Peter Dewey OSS Team Project EMBANKMENT Saigon
9/29/1945 Viet Minh   Ho Chi Minh, stating he is "The President of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Vietnam", offers his written condolences to President Truman in regard to the accidental killing of Colonel Peter Dewey and expresses his and the Vietnamese peoples friendship, admiration and respect to the US people and the USA.
1st INDOCHINA WAR (Arbitrary Date)
11/23/1946 FU The French cruiser Suffren and several avisos bombarded the Vietnamese coastal city of Haiphong, killing some 6,000 Vietnamese people. Haiphong
December 19. 1946 Viet Minh   In response to the French bombardment and the failed talks that started on 9/2/1945, the Viet Minh launched an attack against the French in Hanoi and imprisioned French officials.
August 1950 MAAG Navy Section (NAG) 15 Stand Up: Navy Section of MAAG, Indochina formed. Commander James B Cannon and 7 officers and men. Saigon
September 1950 MAAG Indochina 50 Stand Up: 35 Total Advisors. Major effort was military aid to the French. US was prohibited by the FU from providing supplies, material and training directly to the Vietnamese. Saigon
1954 FU   US allowed to send liason officer advisors to Vietnamese forces by the FU.     Saigon
5/7/1954 FU   Dien Bien Phu falls to Viet Minh. The FU lost 1,571-2,293 KIA, 1,729 missing and 11,721 captured.Only 70 escaped to Laos. After the battle 858 of the captured FU troops were evacuated by the Red Cross, but only 3,000 out of 10,863 survived their imprisonment. 2 US KIA. The losses represented about 10% of the total FU forces. KIA James B McGovern and Wallace A Buford Civil Air Transport, Hanoi Dien Bien Province (formerly Lai Chau Province)
2/12/1955 MAAG Indochina   US Department of State and French Minister of Overseas Affairs agree that US aid will go directly to RVN and that all major responsibilities are transferred from the FU to MAAG Indochina. Saigon
February 1955 MAAG Indochina 266 216 Man French & US effort to build-up & train the Vietnamese National Army (VNA). Stand Up: Training Relations & Instruction Mission (TRIM). First Advisors assigned at ARVN HQ & Corps levels. Saigon
11/01/1955 MAAG Vietnam (MAAGV) 266 Reorganization: Breakup of MAAG Indochina to concentrate US assistance in each country served.   Saigon
Early 1956 MAAGV 340 Begin VNA transformation to mirror US Organization structure. First Advisors assigned to Bn level.   Saigon
4/28/1956 FU 340 French withdrawal from Vietnam completed.      
June 1956 14th SFOD 356 16 Advisors from the 14th SF Operational Detachment entered Vietnam to train a cadre of indigenous Vietnamese Special Forces teams.
06/08/1956 MAAGV 355 Homicide TSGT Richard B Fitzgibbon, Jr 1173rd Foreign MSN Sqdn TT Saigon, Gia Dinh Province
10/21/1956 MAAGV 354 Training Accident RVN SF (LLDB) KIA CPT Harry G Cramer, Jr 14th SF Ops Det/ FOG MTT Khanh Hoa Province
10/22/1957 MAAGV 330 In 1957 attacks on US Advisors in Vietnam become more frequent. MAAGV and USIS installations in Saigon were bombed resulting in numerous injuries to Advisors Saigon Region
5/25/1959 MAAGV 327 Advisor's authorized to accompany ARVN units on operational missions "provided they do not become involved in actual combat".
07/08/1959 MAAGV 328 Viet Cong attack on compound. "KIA MAJ Dale R Buis Adv Tm Bien Hoa Bien Hoa Province
07/08/1959 MAAG 5 327 Viet Cong attack on compound. KIA MSGT Chester M Ovnand Adv Tm Bien Hoa Bien Hoa Province
2/19/1960 MAAG 7 685 Special Forces requested to provide anti-guerrilla training to 50,000 man para-military Civil Guard. On the 26th, President Diem requested that both the Civil Guard and ARVN receive the training.
2/19/1960 Whitehouse 746 A military conference recommended that the US assign Advisors to RVN Provinces to attempt to overcome shortcomings of the RVN government at the local as well as the national level.
3/30/1960 USJCS 746 JCS reverses MAAGV policy and directs MAAGV to assist the ARVN to develop an anti-guerrilla capability
July 1960 NAG 806 Additional 60 Navy Advisors arrive in Vietnam  
1961 MAAGV 1,121 315 First Military Advisors placed in Province capitals  
1/17/1961 CIA   Start of multi-year program to raise a guerilla army from the Hmong tribes in Vietnam & Laos. Darlac Province
5/11/1961 MAAGV 1,683 President Kennedy authorizes 400 Special Forces troops and military advisors to covertly train ARVN. Nha Trang
9/17/1961 British Advisory Mission (BRIAM)   Stand Up: Headed by Robert GK Thompson. The Goal was to advise President Diem on counterinsurgency strategy, administrative and police matters, and function as an alternative to MAAGV. Saigon
11/4/1961 CIA 1,715 Est Rhade people near Ban Me Thuot agree with ARVN (with conditions) and CIA to serve as a model village to be defended against the VC. This was the start of the Civilian Irregular Defense Group Program (CIDG). Buon Enao Village
11/11/1961 BRIAM   Robert Thompson presented plan to pacify Delta through "clear and hold" actions of strategic and defended hamlets instead of "search and destroy". This was contrary to US counterinsurgency plans although favorably received by US State Department and White House Saigon
11/16/1961 DOD 2,067 Est Farm Gate aircraft began arriving in Vietnam as authorized by NSM 104. 1st Air Cammando Wing of 352 personnel was to train the RVNAF using older aircraft. Bien Hoa AFB
11/22/1961 Whitehouse   NSM 111 President Kennedy includes approval to train the South Vietnamese Civil Guard and Self-Defense Corps. Washington
11/27/1961 Whitehouse   President Kennedy complains about lack "whole-hearted support" for his policies and demanded who at the DOD was resonsible for his program. Three days later Kennedy, in a called meeting with the US Army's top commanders, expressed disappointment that the army had not moved more quickly to implement his counterinsurgency proposals. Kennedy follwed up the meeting with a memo to McNamara saying he was "not satisfied that the DOD, and in particular the Army, is according the necessary degree of attention and effort to the threat of insurgency and guerrilla war." Washington
12/31/1961 MAAGV 3,400 Total Military Advisors in Vietnam Vietnam
1/20/1962 CINCPAC 7,400 Authorized Advisors to accompany RVN forces on combat operations.   Vietnam
02/08/1962 MACV 11,300 Reorganization: Field Advisory Element established, but MAAGV retained to train RVN armed forces. Saigon
08/03/1962 AATTV 11,330 Stand Up: 30 man Australian Army Training Team Vietnam. (AATTV)  
11/14/1962 MACV 11,330 There were approximately 11,330 military advisors in South Vietnam and KIA.  
10/11/1963 Whitehouse (1,000) NSM 263 President Kennedy orders withdrawal of 1,000 troops. Washington
December 1963 NAG A Total of 742 Naval Advisors are working in Vietnam Vietnam
12/31/1963 MACV 16,330 There were approximately 16,330 military advisors in South Vietnam. Vietnam
Spring 1964 MACV 17,656 1,326 First Military Advisors (Two 13 man teams) placed in Districts around Saigon. Then expanded to 100 5 man teams. Saigon CSZ
5/15/1964 Naval Advisory Group (NAG)   Organization change: Navy Section which in 1950 was a part of MAAG, then MAAGV finally became the MACV Naval Advisory Group,  
7/27/1964 Whitehouse   President Johnson announces an additional 5,000 advisors will be sent to South Vietnam. Da Nang, Quang Nam Province
1965 RVN 22,656 Stand Up: Start of Rural [Revolutionary] Development Cadre Civilian Auxiliary for Village & Hamlet civil projects.
03/08/1965 III MAF   First US Combat Troops arrive in Vietnam Da Nang, Quang Nam Province
July 1965 CAP 22,764 Stand Up: Concept of Marine Combined Action Platoon (CAP) was created. Test of concept included 108 Personnel in 6 CAPS manned from the 3/4 Marines 9th MEB. A Combined Action Platoon was designed as 35 Vietnamese Milita, 13 US Marines and 1 Navy Corpsman, but actual units may have been less by 50% Phu Bai, Thua Thien Province
4/1/1966 Naval Advisory Group (NAG)   The Naval Advisory Group continued its advisory role as a separate command under COMNSVFORV.
March 1967 CORDS   Stand Up. Unified MACV department to handle all civilian and military Advisory efforts with an emphasis on local and Province level civil programs and development. The CORDS program was a departure from the previous Advisory strategy. It shifted the focus to strengthening RVN civil society to a "ground-up" approach instead of the previous "top-downand" approach. The policy included USAID projects, Phoenix PIOCC's at Province level, and more projects at the District and Village levels.
January 1967 CAP 23,786 1,022 personnel in 57 Marine CAPs were operating in I Corps including Phu Bai, Danang and Chu Lai. . Rural I Corps
10/26/1967 MACV CORDS   Corps HQ initiated Regional & Popular Forces (RF/PF) training programs using Mobil Training Teams (MAT) who would rotate among the RF/PF units in a District. Once tested Gen Westmoreland recommended 354 MAT teams.
7/1/1968 CORDS Establishing 147 DIOCC's District levels. At the end of 1968 there were 9,430 US Army personnel as Advisors down to the RVN District and Battalion levels.
Summer 1968 RVN   Formal national expansion of Peoples Self Defense Forces (PSDF) known as Village Militia Program. Saigon
January 1970 CAP 25,986 2,200 personnel in 114 Marine CAPs were operating in I Corps which protected 800 villages and 500,000 Vietnamese. . I Corps and Danang, Phu Bai & Chu Lai
Jan 1971 NZATTV 26,011 25 New Zealand personnel deploy to the 1st Army Training Team Vietnam consisting 25 men to the Chi Lang Training Center. The Team assisted the US Army Training Team train ARVN Platoon Commanders in weapons and tactics. Chi Lang, Chau Doc Province
1971 MACV   CORDS Deputy III Corps requests reduction in size of Advisory Teams.    
Feb 1972 NZATTV 26,036 Stand up: New Zealand deploys the 2nd Army Training Team Vietnam to the Dan Ba Thin Base Camp. The team helped train Khmer National Armed Forces (FANK) personnel in weapons and tactics and first aid. This team also provided first aid instruction and specialist medical instruction at Dong Ba Thin's 50-bed hospital Dong Ba Thin Base Camp, Khanh Hoa Province
April 1972 MACV (10,036) Mandated reductions of Advisors begins.      
11/30/1972 MACV 16,000 Total Advisors and Adminstrators remaining in Vietnam; The same as the 1963 total.
01/27/1973 USARV (12,000) Est Last US Combat Troops leave Vietnam.   3rd Bn/21st Inf Div Da Nang AFB, Quang Nam Province
01/28/1973 Defense Attache' Office, Saigon (DAO Saigon) 1,000 Stand Up: 50 Military, 1,200 DOD Employees, 23,000 Contractors. 2,500 of the 5,000 US Contractors are military training Instructors. 3 DAO Military Assistance Departments established; ARVN, RVNAF & RVN Navy. Former MACV Compound,
& AFB's at Tan San Nhut, Da Nang AFB, Pleiku AFB, Phan Rang
Gia Dinh, Quang Nam, Pleiku & Ninh Thuan Provinces
02/08/1973 DAO (1,250) Est Last Military Advisors leave Districts (Estimated Date)  
03/29/1973 NAVFORV/NAG   Naval Advisory Group (NAG) and Naval Forces, Vietnam formally disestablished. Only 9 Navy and Marine Corps officers were assigned to the DAO; 156 Marine guards are left to guard the US Embassy & DAO in Saigon.
June 1973 DAO (1,250) RVN Training Instructors reduced to 1,250 US Contractors    
6/1/1974 DAO   Gen Murray criticises Washington's reduction in military aid to RVN. Message relayed to PAVN by spy in RVN Gen Vien's office    
August 1974 DAO (1,000) Est In a debriefing meeting with CINCPAC Gen Murray, addressing the devestating aid cuts and President Thieu's misplaced confidence that aid would be restored, warned that "without proper support, the [RVN] are going to lose...after the year they are going to"
04/04/1975 DAO Saigon   Operation Babylift near Tan Son Nhut AFB KIA Orin J "Bob" and KIA June W Poulton plus 33 other DAO employees USDA(Laos), DAO Gia Dinh Province
April 1975 DAO Saigon (1,250) Est Civilian Advisors still located at the Province level
04/29/1975 03:30 DAO Compound   PAVN Rocket hits Guardpost 1 KJA Cpl Charles McMahon Jr and KIA Cpl Darwin L Judge DAO Compound Saigon
4/29/1975 20:30 DAO (250) Est Last evacuees loaded on helicopters and leave Vietnam Saigon
04/30/1975 00:30 DAO Compound   DAO Compound (the Alamo and LZ-36) abandoned and destroyed. DAO moved to Hawaii USMC BLT 2/4 Saigon
04/30/1975 11:30 RVN   South Vietnam Surrenders