Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Marine Advisors With the Vietnamese Marine Corps

Marine Advisors With the Vietnamese Marine Corps. Charles D. Melson and Wanda J. Renfrow, compliers and editors. Occasional Paper. 2009. 188 pp.

Print – http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/429210694

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What sorts of travel advice were new Marine Advisers given prior to their departure for Vietnam?
  • What could an adviser expect from his Vietnamese “cowboy?”
  • What type of terrain is Rungśat?
  • What sort of rations were eaten by the South Vietnamese Marines?
  • What were US advisers expected to do if their advice wasn’t taken?
  • Why was a sense of humor valued by the US Marines and Vietnamese alike?
  • How many different kinds of advisers served with Vietnamese units?


From the preface:

This occasional paper provides documents on the topics of the Vietnamese Marines and the U.S. Marine Advisory Unit from this period. William D. Wischmeyer created the reference that the unit and history was based on. As a captain, he drafted the “Vietnamese Marine Corps/Marine Advisory Unit Historical Summary, 1954-1973,” signed off by the senior Marine advisor on 22March 1973. Another valuable collection of Vietnamese Marine Corps material was kept by then-Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Lukeman when the Vietnamese Marine Corps Logistics Support Branch, Navy Division, Defense Attaché Office was closed in 1975. It and the other essential source material enclosed were sent as part of the Marine Advisory Unit’s command chronology, in the Gray Research Center archive, Quantico, Virginia.

Several documents from this work will be very helpful to writers of period stories or of formulating similar counterinsurgency documents for alien worlds:

  • Senior Advisor Brief
  • What You Should Know When Assigned To A Vietnamese Marine Battalion As An Advisor
  • Techniques of Advising
  • Standing Operation Procedures for Marine Advisory Unit (170 pages plus)

The first two documents are quick tip items. The Techniques of advising is slightly longer, with a long list of “dos” and a few pages of “don’ts.” The Standard Operating Procedures should be consider the adviser’s manual. It details duties of specialized advisers like Motor Transport Mechanical Advisor, Ordnance Advisor and Medical Advisor.


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