Archive for Army of the Republic of Vietnam

Remembering South Vietnam: A Tribute to The Republic

Posted in Economics, IV. Columns, Modern History, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2016 by Ian Pham

Remembering South VietnamPhoto via Flickr

This is just a brief tribute to the former Republic of Vietnam and all the brave men and women who fought so bravely to protect the country. We all know very well the story of its tragic fall, but we also know very well what a great nation it was.

This year, to commemorate the day that Saigon fell to the communists, I want to remind everyone of the greatness of South Vietnam. By recognizing the actions, ideals, and achievements of the Southern Republic, I aim to demonstrate to us all why April 30 is such a sad day for any Vietnamese who loves freedom.

Every year since 1975, April 30 marks the fall of a proud, vibrant, and prosperous Republic, one that flourished culturally and economically, and carried itself with courage, pride and dignity. Moreover, this day marks the fall of a democracy, a young democracy, but a true democracy nonetheless.

South Vietnam was a nation that nurtured its young. It was a nation that had a deep love for education, invested heavily in education, and went to great lengths to ensure their citizens the access to this education. In only two decades of its existence, South Vietnam successfully expanded its educational programs by leaps and bounds, growing exponentially at the elementary, secondary, and university levels. To put neatly, South Vietnam was a nation of smart people, with endless potential for advancement and growth.

In terms of economy, South Vietnam was highly competitive, a leader in the Southeast Asia region, and a contender in Asia as a whole. Starting from its humble beginnings as a postcolonial state, South Vietnam showed rapid growth immediately after its birth as an independent nation. Over the course of its lifetime, up until its fall in 1975, South Vietnam prospered economically, excelling in agriculture, heavy industry, and trade. Due to its success, its capital city Saigon garnered huge respect from the world, and earned itself the famous title of “Pearl of the Orient.”

When speaking of democracy in South Vietnam, there is no doubt that the Southern Republic was a true liberal democracy. Secret ballot elections, universal suffrage, multiple political parties, freedom of speech, expression, and association, and checks and balances between its executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, South Vietnam met all of these criteria. In all, South Vietnam was a free country, one that championed the rights of its people, adhered to the rule of law, and kept its people safe.

Lastly, I would just like to recognize South Vietnam as a brave and noble nation that fought with every ounce of its strength to defend its people, from domestic terrorism by the National Liberation Front, the all too familiar invasions from North Vietnam, as well as an abrupt naval invasion by the People’s Republic of China.

In all of these cases, South Vietnam responded, and with whatever resources it had, the Southern Republic fought. This was the nation that captured many VC terrorists, even converting many of them to forsake their communist allegiances and come over to the Republic. Moreover, this was the nation that kept the North at bay for 20 years, and, statistically speaking, eviscerated the communist forces in the majority of engagements on the battlefield.

Finally, South Vietnam was the nation to open fire on the Chinese when the latter sent their warships into Hoang Sa (Paracel) in 1974, thinking that they can push the Southern Republic around. With all that has been shown, it simply needs to be understood here that South Vietnam was a nation that stood tall and fought hard. It was a proud nation, a brave nation, and an honorable nation that kept its people safe.

The loss of this Republic on April 30, 1975 is more than just a page in history. It is a tragedy, marking the day that every freedom-loving Vietnamese person lost their home.

The sadness brought about from the loss of the Republic of Vietnam stems from the greatness of its legacy. Because of its ideals, and because of its bravery, the memory of South Vietnam continues to resonate in the hearts and minds of every freedom-loving Vietnamese person across the world, even inside Vietnam today.

South Vietnam has become a symbol of what it means to be truly Vietnamese in the modern era: smart, hardworking, brave, loyal, and living with integrity. These are the things that the Republic of Vietnam stood for, and these are the type of people who hail from its origins and carry on its legacy. The yellow flag of freedom represents our roots as people of a proud and honorable nation, and reminds us of our undying love for independence and democracy.

In all of this, we cannot forget our veterans. The troops that sacrificed themselves, paying the ultimate price both physically and mentally to defend the ideals of the Republic and keep the people safe, their sacrifice must never be forgotten.

To the soldiers of South Vietnam, the soldiers of the United States, and soldiers of the allied nations who gave their lives to defend freedom in Vietnam, we thank you, for everything.

This is a tribute to the nation of South Vietnam, and all the brave men and women who fought to defend the country and its ideals. This is for you.

Thank you.

This National Anthem Video Will Remind You of What a Badass Nation South Vietnam Was

Posted in IV. Columns, Modern History, Politics, Videos with tags , , , , , , , on November 15, 2015 by Ian Pham

South Vietnam Soldier SaluteImage via Youtube

And it really was, too.

This is just a video off Youtube of South Vietnam’s national anthem. Sung by a chorus, the video displays footage of military parades and other patriotic imagery, played along to the music. It really gets the patriotic blood pumping, and makes you remember why we, along with our parents, siblings, and relatives are so proud of where we came from.

Got a minute? Check it out below:

Pretty awesome, right?

This was the nation to tell Communist China to fuck off when the PRC invaded Paracel back in 1974, fighting vehemently against the invader until the very end. This was also the nation to stand against Ho Chi Minh and the communists, a story that we all know very well.

South Vietnam was a democracy, a young and fledgling democracy, but undoubtedly a democracy nonetheless. It’s national motto was, “Fatherland, Honor, Duty,” and in the face of Chinese aggression and North Vietnamese Communist aggression, the Southern country stood proud and strong.

This is just a small example of what a great nation South Vietnam was, and how proud we are to come from it.

Damn proud, mighty proud.

Original Wallpaper/Art Commemorating South Vietnam and the ARVN

Posted in Art, Modern History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2015 by Ian Pham

ARVN Flag & Motto WallpaperImage by: Ian Pham/Freedom For Vietnam

Last month, Friday, June 19, 2015, was the 50th anniversary of South Vietnam’s National Armed Forces Day (“Ngày Quân Lực Việt Nam Cộng Hòa” in Vietnamese), a day to commemorate and thank the brave soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam for their sacrifices in defense of the former nation’s freedom. The day was celebrated annually in South Vietnam, and after the nation’s fall on April 30, 1975, it would be carried over and celebrated by Vietnamese refugees overseas.

Although I did not get a chance to write about that day at the time it took place, I still want to share with you all my own small way of honoring the sacrifice of South Vietnam’s brave soldiers.

I made the above picture myself, sort of, using my ultra basic computer animation/Photoshop skills. Before explaining the details of this self-explanatory picture, I must first give credit to the 720mpreunion.org website from which I acquired the image for the flag of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the centerpiece of this art/wallpaper. I did not draw that flag myself, but merely included it as part of my design. So, with credit given where credit is due, let’s talk about the picture.

As explained above, the emblem in the picture is the flag of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. It is headed by an eagle, clasping two swords in each claw, surrounded by two laurel wreaths, and carrying the Coat of Arms of South Vietnam on its chest. Behind the eagle are the three horizontal red stripes of South Vietnam’s national flag, which represents the three regions of Vietnam: The North, the Central, and the South.

Under the eagle is a banner that reads:

Tổ Quốc, Danh Dự, Trách Nhiệm,”

This is the official motto of the Republic of Vietnam and its armed forces, and in English means:

Fatherland, Honor, Duty.”

This takes us to the part of the wallpaper/art that I actually worked on myself. The yellow background, and the prominent, in-your-face, black-colored writing in English that reads, “Fatherland. Honor. Duty.” That was all me, people. Pretty crazy, right?

I know the design is simple, but I think it conveys the message strongly.

South Vietnam and its armed forces had a proud and noble motto. They fought by it, and they died by it. The Republic of Vietnam was a democratic nation that championed the rights and freedoms of its citizens. The ARVN defended their country with courage, pride, and dignity. It is because of these reasons that even after 40 years since the nation’s fall, we still honor this nation and its brave soldiers.

We are proud of our South Vienamese legacy, and we will remember the courage and sacrifice that its soldiers made in defense of our freedom.

To the soldiers of the ARVN, from all freedom-loving Vietnamese people everywhere, we thank you.

Here is the Movie Trailer for “Ride The Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Victory & Betrayal”

Posted in Film, Modern History, Politics, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2015 by Ian Pham

Here is the trailer for the new major motion picture, “Ride The Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Victory and Betrayal,” produced and directed by Fred Koster, and executive produced by Richard Botkin.

So, what do ya think? Pretty incredible, right?

Ride The Thunder Movie PosterOfficial movie poster via Ride The Thunder Movie

Here is the synopsis, according to the official website:

“Ride The Thunder” is the true heroic story of a friendship between American Military Legend, John Ripley and Vietnamese Hero, Le Ba Binh. The storyline follows their fight together against the communists during the Vietnam War and then the ensuing aftermath of the fall of Vietnam as Ripley goes home to a divided America and Binh is imprisoned in a communist re-education camp.

Since the movie’s limited release, “Ride The Thunder” has trumped its big-name Hollywood competitors in respective theaters, ranking #1 in America for box office ticket sales during its opening weekend. The movie is continuing to expand to theaters across the United States.

Fred Koster, the film’s producer and director, explains the coming challenges for the film:

“It’s exciting to see the movie expanding across the United States but we know that as an independent film we have challenges ahead in promoting to a wide national audience on a limited marketing budget.  It is simple, where we market well we do great, where we don’t market well we struggle.  People will only come to see our film if they know about it.”

There you have it, the continued success of the film depends on our support. Tell your friends, tell your family members, and let others know about the movie through social media (Facebook, Twitter, and whatever other social network doohickeys you crazy kids are using these days). Most importantly, make some plans to go see the film when it comes to your area. You can demand it in your area here, let the producers know to come to your town!

Above, in this article, is the official movie poster for “Ride The Thunder.” Download it at the official website.

I absolutely can’t wait to see this movie.

This U.S. Marine’s Book “Ride The Thunder” Tells the True Story of the Vietnam War, Is Now a Major Motion Picture

Posted in Books, Modern History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2015 by Ian Pham

Ride The ThunderImage via Ride The Thunder Movie

Richard Botkin is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and the author of the groundbreaking history book Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph. He is also the executive producer of the new motion picture with the same name, debuting in theaters last March and kicking off its nationwide release just this past May. Both Botkin’s literary and theatrical works tell the story of the Vietnam War, as it should be told, describing the true valor and sacrifice of the South Vietnamese and American soldiers against the communist forces in Southeast Asia.

Serving in the USMC from 1980 to 1983 and then 12 years in the reserves, according to Tami Jackson, Botkin’s service “post-dates the Vietnam War.” However, despite this, “many of the men who mentored Rich Botkin, heroes he greatly admires, were Vietnam veterans.” As a result, Botkin has made it his mission to tell the true story of the Vietnam War, and “restore the rightful honor due those Americans and South Vietnamese who served there…”

Ride The Thunder BookImage via WND

Botkin accomplishes this endeavor first through the authoring of his book, Ride the Thunder, published on July 13, 2009, which tells the story of the Vietnam War through the eyes of the allied forces of South Vietnam and the United States. As a source for Vietnam War research, Botkin’s 652-page book, in Jackson’s words, “is the culmination of 5 years of writing, 1 year of editing, 4 trips to Vietnam,” and “thousands of hours interviewing American and South Vietnamese Marines.”

According to Amazon, “Ride the Thunder reveals the heroic, untold story of how Vietnamese Marines and their US advisers fought valiantly, turning the tide of an unpopular war and actually winning – while Americans 8,000 miles away were being fed only one version of the story.” Goodreads declares that “Richard Botkin’s book provides a fresh, provocative look at the Vietnam War and the heroic warriors who fought it.”

Now, after four years of filmmaking, Richard Botkin’s next step in telling the true story of the war in Vietnam has finally reached fruition. “Ride The Thunder,” the new major motion picture, directed by Fred Koster, has made it to the big screen, enjoying a resoundingly successful premier this past March in Westminster, Southern California. The reception has been so incredibly positive and widespread that the film is currently being released nation-wide across the United States.

I have yet to see the movie, but am very much looking forward to it. The trailer for it looks absolutely amazing. I plan to post it here, too. It’s just so good that I think it deserves its own article, which will be up here in a couple days or so, possibly sooner. In the meantime, you can enjoy the trailer by following this link, and maybe make some weekend plans to go see the movie if it’s in your area.

I’m getting a little too excited for this.

Annotated Bibliography: Robert P. Wettemann Jr.’s Book Review of “Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam,” by Thomas P. McKenna

Posted in Books, Modern History, Modern History - A.B. with tags , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2015 by Ian Pham

KontumPhotograph via Steve Shepard/The Battle of Kontum

Wettemann Jr., Robert P. Review of Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam, by Thomas P. McKenna. Oral History Review 39, no. 2 (2012): 387-389.

Thomas P. McKenna served in the Vietnam War as Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. During the U.S. drawdown in 1972, McKenna was still fighting alongside the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), taking on the invading North Vietnamese Army (NVA) at the Battle of Kontum. His book provides a firsthand account of the fighting at Kontum, where the ARVN and their remaining U.S. allies would once again ward off an invading NVA force three times their size.

Robert P. Wettemann Jr. provides a review of McKenna’s book, offering some valuable insight into yet another military achievement by the ARVN and their U.S. allies. Also taking place during the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive in the spring of 1972, the Battle of Kontum saw the South Vietnamese, with the support of the few U.S. forces still in Vietnam, foil another attempt by the communists to overtake the South. The brunt of the fighting took place in the last two weeks in May of 1972, where, in the words of Wettemann, “… a single ARVN division held off the equivalent of three divisions of North Vietnamese soldiers…”

A concise summary of McKenna’s book is presented in Wettemann’s source. Opening with the steady departure of U.S. forces as part of Nixon’s “Vietnamization” policy, Wettemann’s review of Kontum gives coverage of the various stages of the battle, all the way up to the ARVN’s successful elimination of the NVA from the city.

As an academic resource, Wettemann’s review of Thomas P. McKenna’s book provides useful information on the Battle of Kontum, and gives readers some much-needed insight into the points of views of the ARVN and their U.S. allies. The South Vietnamese soldiers and their American advisors fought valiantly at Kontum to crush the North Vietnamese invasion. In authoring this review, Robert P. Wettemann Jr. helps tell this true story of another understated military success by the allied forces of South Vietnam and the United States.

Annotated Bibliography: Gary Lester’s Book Review of “Hell in An Loc: The 1972 Easter Invasion and the Battle That Saved South Vietnam” by Lam Quang Thi

Posted in Books, Modern History, Modern History - A.B. with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2015 by Ian Pham

ARVN Photo, An Loc BattleImage via Amazon

Lester, Gary. Review of Hell in An Loc: The 1972 Easter Invasion and the Battle That Saved South Vietnam, by Lam Quang Thi. Air Power History (2010): 56.

Dr. Gary Lester’s review of Hell in An Loc: The 1972 Easter Invasion and the Battle That Saved South Vietnam provides a concise and informative summary of former ARVN General Lam Quang Thi’s book. According to Lester, “Hell in An Loc is an intimate glimpse into the inner workings of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) during its moment of great crisis in the spring of 1972…” It was then that the U.S. was steadily drawing down its forces in Vietnam, while the North Vietnamese built up their forces for an ambitious military operation to overrun South Vietnam.

In his review, Lester presents many insightful information from General Thi’s book, such as the details of North Vietnam’s 1972 Easter Offensive, a massive military campaign that was even larger than the Tet Offensive of 1968. The enemy’s “three-pronged” operation would find its way to the town of An Loc, where South Vietnam’s 5th Division, consisting of only 7,500 soldiers, confronted and repelled a 21,000-strong North Vietnamese onslaught.

Facing a massive invading force three times their size, the outnumbered ARVN forces incurred losses of 2,300 deaths, while dealing a crushing blow to the North Vietnamese Army, who suffered a loss of 6,500 deaths at the hands of the South Vietnamese. The attack on An Loc lasted from April to August of 1972, ending with the successful defense of the town by the ARVN against the invading North. The ARVN forces were provided with powerful air support from their remaining U.S. allies, who, along with the South Vietnamese Air Force, dealt heavy damage to enemy tanks and artillery.

An important note that Lester pinpoints in his review is the valor and bravery displayed by the “too often voiceless” soldiers of South Vietnam, in a significant battle that was largely ignored by American media. An Loc’s omission from America’s news coverage is an important point acknowledged in Lester’s review, a vivid example of the media’s bias towards the Republic of Vietnam, and how the Southern point of view is methodically neglected and distorted by the majority of Western journalists. Lam Quang Thi’s account of the Battle of An Loc, in the words of Gary Lester, “is a testimony to the courage and bravery of the ARVN garrison at An Loc. The book tells the South Vietnamese side of the story and renders justice to the South Vietnamese soldiers who withstood ninety-four days of horror and prevailed.”

Reading Lester’s review alone, one gains great insight into the Battle of An Loc, as well as a clearer understanding of the Vietnam War, a hotly debated subject in which South Vietnam and the ARVN are almost always misrepresented.