Thu Duc/Nam Dinh Reserve Officer Schools

The main purpose of this paper was to provide background information to analyze the national political role of RVNAF, whose officers dominated the political structure of the country. Relationships among officers were critical to understanding what was happening.

Mobilization Order & Reserve Officer Schools

The Thu Duc and Nam Dinh schools for reserve officers were set up in late 1951 as part of a French plan to increase the size of the Vietnamese National Army (Quan Doi Quoc Gia) which officially came into being on May 11, 1950. On July 27, 1951, the then State of Viet Nam issued an order (Arrête No. 372/Cab/DN) providing for the "call to the colors" of young men to be given reserve officer training.

The two schools opened on the same date— October 1, 1951— at Thu Duc, near Saigon, and at Nam Dinh (in the North). They were called in French "les écoles des Cadres de Réserve de Thu Duc et Nam Dinh". In Vietnamese, they were known as Truong Si Quan Tru Bi (Schools for reserve officers).

Data on Early Classes of the Thu Duc School for Reserve Officers
ClassStart DateGraduation DateNumber of GraduatesClass NameTop Graduate
0101 Oct 5101 Jun 52475Le van DuyetPham Kim Quy
0201 Oct 5201 Apr 53579Phung SuPaul Nguyen Thanh Hue
0301 Apr 5301 Nov 53 821Dong DaPham Van Man
03/P01 Sep 5316 Mar 54324Dong DaNguyen Cao Truong
0401 Dec 5301 Jun 541148Cuong QuyetNguyen Van Hai
04/P16 Mar 5401 Oct 54625Cuong QuyetNguyen Thanh Nguyen
0516 Jun 5401 Feb 551396Vi DanNguyen Van Minh
0625 Mar 5708 Mar 58563Cong HoaNguyen Van Vinh
0725 Jun 5810 Jun 59346Nhan ViNguyen Huu Phu
0802 Mar 5907 Mar 60371Bach DangPham Thanh Nhan
0912 Oct 5914 Nov 60330Doan KetLuong Van Hoa
1020 Jun 6014 Jun 61496Thanh TinHuynh Van Be
1109 Jan 6122 Dec 61763Dong TienTran Van An
1223 Oct 6101 Aug 621478Tran Hung DaoNguyen Ngoc Linh
1315 Mar 6228 Dec 621527Ap Chien LuocTruong Dinh Ngu
1417 Sep 6214 Jun 632191Nhan Tri DungNguyen Ngoc Diep
1525 Feb 6327 Nov 631890Cach MangNguyen Luong Y
1627 Sep 6330 Apr 641609Vo TanhMai Van Men
1713 Jan 6422 Oct 641099Nguyen Thai HocNguyen Kim Long
1808 Jun 6418 Mar 651219Phan Van TriTran Van Ngon
1923 Nov 6427 Aug 651407Nguyen HueTran Sach Doc
2012 Apr 6522 Dec 651475Xay DungLy Cong Thuan

During the period from 1951 to 1965, 20,927 cadets were graduated and commissioned as 2nd lieutenants. By September 1973, the total number of graduates had reached 80,115.

Thu Duc Class 1: October 1, 1951-June 1, 1952 - Graduates: (see note)

(Note on graduates: 278 cadets with graduating scores of 12 points (of 20) or better were commissioned as 2nd lieutenants. Of the 278, 28 were commissioned in the artillery branch (indicated by the letter "A" after their class rank), 14 were commissioned in the engineer branch ("E"), 16 were commissioned in the communications branch ("C"), and the remaining 220 were commissioned as infantry officers. Twenty-four cadets scoring 10 points or better were commissioned as aspirant officers. Nine other cadets who scored less than 10 points were made sergeants. The total number of graduates from the first class at Thu Duc as listed in the State of Viet Nam decree (238-QP/ND) is considerably less than the 475 listed in the records available at the school. However, the school records do not list the names of the graduates.)
Pham Kim Quy (1A) Colonel. Deputy Commander of National Police (for Judicial Police)
Nguyen Duc Thang (5A) Lt. General. On study leave since 1972. Assistant to the Chief of JGS 1968-72. Commander of IV Corps in 1968. Rural Development Minister 1965-67.
Phan Dinh Soan (16A) Deceased Brigadier General. Chief, Artillery Branch 1968-72. Killed in a 1972 helicopter crash in Da Nang harbor.
Tran Van Minh (22A) Lt. General. VNAF Commander since 1967.
Nguyen Xuan Vinh (E aspirant) Former Colonel. Deserted from army in 1973. Director of Instruction, National Defense College 1970-73. Former military attaché in Washington.
Nguyen Tai Lam (9C) Colonel. Commandant of the National Cadre Training Center at Vung Tau since 1973.
Doan Van Kieu (14E) Colonel. Director, Military Property Directorate at Defense Ministry since January 1974. Topographical Service Director 1969-72.
Nguyen Thanh Chi (7A) Colonel. Chief, Defense Ministry Personnel Division since August 1972.
Dong Van Khuyen (2) Lt. General. Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics since 1967.
Huynh Ba Tinh (3) Brigadier General. Commander, 3rd Air Division since 1970.
Dinh Van De (21) Retired Colonel. Lower House Deputy from Dalat since 1967.
Pham Ngoc Sang (29) Brigadier General. Commander, 6th Air Division since October 1972.
Le Van Hien (30) Lt. Colonel. Marine Division G-2 since 1970.
Nguyen Khac Binh (36) Brigadier General. National Police Commander since 1971. Director, Central Intelligence Organization since 1968. Private Secretary to President Thieu in 1968.
Ngo Van Minh (43) Colonel. Deputy Commander, 18th Division since November 1973. III Corps Chief of Staff 1971-73.
Huynh Ngoc Diep (48) Colonel. Director of Cabinet, Interior Ministry.
Nguyen Kim Huong Giang (52) Colonel (Navy Captain). Commander of Natl. Police Technical Center. Former Marine officer.
Chau Van Tien (56) Colonel. Gia Dinh Province Chief since 1972. Darlac Province Chief 1969-72.
Tran Van Trong (60) Colonel. Chief, Defense Ministry Studies Division since August 1973. Chief, RVNAF Ordnance Branch 1964-70.
Quach Huynh Ha (75) Colonel. Commissioner General for Civil Service since June 1973. Ba Xuyen Province Chief 1968-73. Chief of Cabinet for Chief of State Nguyen Van Thieu 1965-67.
Vo Xuan Lanh (106) Major General. Deputy Commander of VNAF since 1969.
Nguyen Huu Hau (83) Colonel. VNAF IG since 1971.
Nguyen Phi Phung (184) Colonel. Director of Customs since March 1974. Deputy Director of Cabinet, Defense Ministry 1973-74.
Dao Ngoc Tho (188) Retired Colonel. Lower House Deputy 1967-71. Former logistics officer.
Tran Van Le (207) Colonel. Chief, PX Commissary Directorate since August 1972.
Tran Thanh Nhien (219) Colonel. Kien Phong Province Chief 1969-73.
Ton That Khien (220) Colonel. Thua Thien Province Chief since 1972. Quang Tri Province Chief 1970-72. Quang Ngai Province Chief 1967-70.
Nguyen Van Nghiem (11E) Lt. Colonel. Phu Bon Province Chief 1970-75.
Nguyen Ngoc Loan ( ) Major General. Special Assistant to Defense Minister since 1970. Director General of National Police 1966-68. Air Force officer.
Huynh Cong Thanh (18A) Deceased Colonel. Binh Tuy Province Chief 1972-73. Artillery officer.
Nguyen Van Duc (201) Colonel. Aide-de-Camp to President Thieu.
Nguyen Hien Diem (19A) Colonel. Assistant for Security to the Minister of Interior since November 1973. Former Director General of PSDF.
Pham Ky Loan (186) Colonel. Chief of Staff, Central Logistics Command.
Pham Van Ven (86) Colonel. Chief of Staff, 9th Division since 1971.
Nguyen Van Vinh (A aspirant) Lt. Colonel. Government member on MR 2 Military Field Court.
Truong Bay (26) Colonel. Special Assistant to the National Police Commander since January 1973.
Trinh Hao Tam (65) Colonel. Chief, VNAF Headquarters Operations Staff.
Dinh Thach On (101) Colonel. Deputy Commander, 5th Air Division
To Dang Mai (127) Colonel. JGS logistics officer.
Nguyen Trong Luat Colonel. Darlac Province Chief since November 1973. Special Assistant to II Corps Commander 1972-73. Commander, 1st. Armored Task Force 1971-72. Deputy Commander, 2nd Division 1969-71. Armor officer in II Corps ca. 1965-68.
Le Phu Phuc (1C) Colonel. IV Corps G-6 since 1972. Communications officer.
Nguyen Huu Dien (85) Colonel. Chief, 4th Logistics Command since 1969.
Nguyen Van Hai (202) Colonel. Commander, 16th Regiment since 1972.
Nguyen Van Khai (11A) Colonel. Chief, National Geographic Directorate, Dalat. He has served at the Directorate 15 years.
Nguyen Van Tam (10E) Colonel. Commandant, RVNAF Engineer School since January 1974.

Thu Duc Class 2: October 1, 1952 -April. 1, 1953 - 579 Graduates
Tran Quoc Thu Colonel. Former MR 4 Pacification and Development Center Chief.
Phan Lac Phuc Lt. Colonel. IV Corps Deputy Chief of Staff for Political Warfare since December 1973.
Tran Kim Hoa Colonel. Chief of Military Cabinet at the Prime Minister's Office.
Nguyen Van Thien Deceased Brigadier General. Killed in air crash 1970. Armor officer and Commander, Armor Branch 1958-63.
Tran Ngoc Truc Colonel. Commander, 4th Armored Brigade since February 1974.

Thu Duc Class 3: April 1, 1953-November 1, 1953 - 712 Graduates
Pham Van Man (1) Colonel. An Giang Province Chief since 1968. Artillery officer.
Nguyen Khoa Nam (83) Major General. Commander, 7th Division since 1970. Commander 3rd Airborne Brigade 1966-70.
Hoang Duc Ninh (208) Colonel. IV Corps Assistant for Operations since January 1974. Commander, 44th Special Tactical Zone 1972-73. Bac Lieu Province Chief 1970-72. Older brother of Information Commissioner Hoang Duc Nha; cousin of President Nguyen Van Thieu.
Nguyen Kim Tuan (245) Lt. Colonel. Deputy Chief of MR 1 Reconstruction and Development Center. Aide to LTG Hoang Xuan Lam 1963-72. Well known author who writes under pen name "Duy Lam". Cousin of Mrs. Ngo Quang Truong and nephew of late VNQDD leader Nguyen Tuong Tam.
Pham Kim Vinh (265) Retired Major. Senior editorial staff writer for the Saigon newspaper Chinh Luan.
Vo Van Cam (605) Colonel. Director of Cabinet for President Thieu.
Doan Van De (143) Colonel. Commander, Maintenance & Support Wing, 5th Air Division.
Bui Quang Khuong (131) Colonel. Wing Commander, 4th Air Division.
Pham Trong Phung (255) Colonel. II Corps Artillery Commander since 1973.
Bui Huu Khiem (45) Colonel. Office of Sp. Ass’t at Presidency since 1973. Chief of Staff of 23rd Division 1969-1973.
Nguyen Van Cua Colonel. Chau Doc Province Chief since February 1974. Commander, 4th Armored Brigade 1972-74.
Pham Dinh Chi (519) Colonel. Chief of Staff, 7th Division since 1972.
Vo Thanh Phu (10) Colonel. Chief, III Corps Engineers.
Thu Duc Class 3/P: September 1, 1953-March 16, 1954 - 324 Graduates
Le Chi Cuong Colonel. Vinh Long Province Chief 1974-75. An Xuyen Province Chief 1969-72. Mayor of Da Nang 1966-69.

Thu Duc Class 4: December 1, 1953-June 1, 1954 - 1,148 Graduates:

(Note: Class rankings, if any, are for only the 818 cadets commissioned in the infantry branch.)
Huynh Buu Son (22) Lt. Colonel. Phuoc Tuy Province Chief since April 1973.
Le Quang Luong (125) Brigadier General. Airborne Division Commander since November 1972. Career Airborne officer.
Nguyen Trong Bao (138) Deceased Colonel. Airborne Division Chief of Staff 1966-72. Killed in action in Quang Tri, 1972.
Le Khanh (154) Colonel. Kien Giang Province Chief since November 1973. Kien Tuong Province Chief 1970-73. Khanh Hoa Province Chief 1966-70. Younger brother of Lt. General Le Nguyen Khang.
Ngo Quang Truong (162) Lt. General. Commander, I Corps/MR 1 since May 1972. Commander, IV Corps/NR 4 1970-72. Commander, 1st Division 1966-70. Former Airborne officer.
Truong Vinh Phuoc (166) Colonel. Deputy Airborne Division Commander since November 1972.
Nguyen Ba Tung (173) Lt. Colonel. Airborne Division Adjutant General since November 1972.
Ho Trung Hau (199) Brigadier General. III Corps Inspector General since November 1973. Commander, 21st Division in 1972. Deputy Airborne Division Commander 1967-72.
Le Ngoc Due (219) Colonel. Phong Dinh Province Chief 1972-73.
Nguyen Van Tuong (280) Lt. Colonel. Airborne Division Artillery Commander since 1972.
Lieu Quang Nghia (316) Colonel. Ba Xuyen Province Chief since March 1973. IV Corps Inspector General 1971-73. Former Airborne officer.
Nguyen Van Diem (355) Brigadier General. Commander, 1st Division since October 1973. Deputy Commander 1972-73.
Ton That Soan (371) Colonel. Hau Nghia Province Chief since November 1973. Marine Division Inspector General 1971-73.
Nguyen Viet Can (387) Deceased Lt. Colonel. Killed in action while commanding 33rd Regiment in 1972. Former Airborne officer. Younger brother of deceased Lt. General Nguyen Viet Thanh.
Buu Hap (389) Lt. Colonel. Kontum Province Chief since 1972. Commander, 2nd Division Artillery 1970-72.
Nguyen Thu Luong (462) Lt. Colonel. Commander, 2nd Airborne Brigade since 1972.
Nguyen Huu Lu (481) Lt. Colonel (former Colonel). Commander, 44th Regiment since late 1973. CO, 5th Regt. 1970-72.
Bui The Lan (649) Brigadier General. Commander, Marine Division since 1972.
Le Dinh Que Colonel. Chief of Staff of the Marine Division since 1971.
Nguyen The Luong Lt. Colonel. Commander, 369th Marine Brigade since 1972.
Nguyen Tan Bach Lt. Colonel. Assistant RVN Air Force Attaché in Washington as of 1973.
Nguyen Dinh Tuyen (64) Colonel. Chief, Defense Ministry Press Division since 1965. Political Warfare officer.
Ngo Minh Chau Colonel. Chief, 1st Logistics Command since 1971.
Hoang Tich Thong (120) Colonel. Deputy Commander, 2nd Division since 1972. Marine officer.
Ngo Van Chung Colonel. Deputy Commander, 3rd Division since 1971.
Pham Van Le (243) Lt. Colonel. Go Cong Province Chief since February 1974. Previously on MR 4 Staff.
Le Canh Di Colonel. Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff of 1st Air Division.
Tran Van Si (82) Major. Assistant Armed Forces Attaché in Washington. Older brother of Brigadier General Tran Van Nhut.
Tran Ba Thanh (522) Colonel. Commander, 48th Regiment since 1971.
Tran Van No Lt. Colonel, Commander, 5th Armored Cavalry Regiment since 1972.

Thu Duc Class 4/P: March 16, 1954-October 1, 1954 - 419 Graduates
Le Khac Ly (208) Colonel. Chief of Staff, I Corps Forward Headquarters.
Huynh Van Chinh (221) Colonel. Deputy for Operations, 7th Division, since 1973. Kien Giang Province Chief 1972-73. Commander, 16th Regiment 1967-72.
Huynh Huu Ban Retired Colonel. Chief, J-5 JGS 1970-74.
Cao Van Khanh Colonel. Director General of Customs 1971-74.
Nguyen Thoi Lai Lt. Colonel. Commander, 6th Regiment since 1972.
Tran Huu Minh (143) Colonel. II Corps/MR 2 Deputy Chief of Staff for PSDF since January 1974.
Nguyen Van Son (168) Lt. Colonel. Vinh Binh Province Chief since April 1974. District Chief in Kien Hoa 1968-74.

Thu Duc Class 5: June 16, 1954-February 1, 1955 - 879 Graduates
Le Chau Loc (3) Retired Captain. Senator since 1970. Active in Freedom Party of former Senate Chairman Nguyen Van Huyen. Former civil servant.
Pham Ba Hoa (648) Colonel. Chief, JGS Purchasing Directorate since 1972.
Le Van Hung Brigadier General. Commander., 21st Division since June 1973. Commander, 5th Division 1971-72.
Co Tan Tinh Chau (381) Colonel. Chief of Staff, Capital Special Zone since 1972.
Nguyen Duc Dung Colonel. Pleiku Province Chief since August 1973.
Ha Mai Viet (86) Colonel. I Corps G-3 since November 1973. Quang Tri Province Chief 1972-73.
Nguyen Due Dung (27) Colonel. Commander, 2nd Armored Brigade since 1971.
Nguyen Kim Dinh (104) Colonel. Commander, 3rd Armored Brigade 1971-73.
Trinh Dinh Dang (825) Lt. Colonel. III Corps G-3 since December 1973.
Nguyen Trong Hong (263) Colonel. Chief of Special Office at the Prime Minister's Office.
Dao Duc Chinh (541) Lt. Colonel. Chief of Staff, 5th Division since January 1974. Former Chief of Staff at Thu Duc Infantry School.

Data on the Sole Class of the Nam Dinh School for Reserve Officers
Start DateGraduation DateNumber of GraduatesClass NameTop Graduate
1 Oct 51 1 Jun 52 255 Nguyen Duy Hinh

Nam Dinh Class: October 1, 1951-June 1, 1952 - 218 graduates

(Note on graduates: A total of 218 cadets scored 12 points (of 20) or better and were commissioned as 2nd lieutenants. Another 37 cadets scoring 10 points or better were commissioned as aspirant officers.)
Nguyen Duy Hinh (1) Major General. Commander, 3rd Division since 1972. IV Corps Deputy Commander 1970-72. Armor officer.
Phan Huy Luong (9) Colonel. III Corps Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Logistics since 1972.
Bui Trong Huynh (11) Colonel. Chief, RVNAF Communications Branch since 1972.
Nguyen Van Giam (24) Colonel. Commander, Capital Military District 1966-68.
Phan Phung Tien (31) Brigadier General. Commander, 5th Air Division since 1970. Flew 1960 coup leaders to Phnom Penh after coup failed.
Nguyen Khac Ngoc (36) Colonel. VNAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Training since 1971.
Luong Bui Tung (59) Colonel. Chief, Armor Branch 1965-70.
Nguyen Manh Dinh (72) Colonel. Chief of RVN Region 4 Two Party Joint Military Commission (TPJMC) Delegation since early 1973. Former Defense Ministry Official.
Nguyen Chuc(74) Brigadier General. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister since 1972. Chief of RVNAF Engineers 1967-72.
Le Nguyen Khang (75) Lt. General. Special Assistant to the Chief of JGS since 1972. Commandant, Marine Corps 1964-72. Commander, III Corps 1966-68.
Nguyen Cao Ky (88) Major General. Unassigned since 1971. RVN Vice President 1967-71. Prime Minister 1965-67. VNAF Commander 1964-67.
Nguyen Huu Toan (93) Colonel. Commander, 25th Division since November 1973. Chief, JGS Joint Operations Center 1969-73.
Vu Thuong Van (100) Colonel. VNAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs since 1969.
Vu Ngoc Tuan (121) Colonel. III Corps Chief of Staff since November 1973. Commandant, Quang Trung Training Center 1966-67. Chief of Staff, 5th Division 1965-66.
Nguyen Huu Tan (162) Brigadier General. Commander, 4th Air Division since 1972.
Nguyen Van Luong (169) Brigadier General. Commander, 2nd Air Division since 1969.
Hoang Ngoc Lung (171) Colonel. Chief, J-2 JGS since 1971.
Dang Huu Hiep (178) Colonel. Chief, VNAF AF Section since 1969.
Nguyen Dinh Giao (180) Colonel. Chief of Staff, VNAF 6th Air Division since 1972.
Vu Duc Nhuan (184) Brigadier General. Chief, Military Security Service since 1968.
Leu Tho Cuong (201) Colonel. Deputy Commander, 22nd Division since 1972.
Nguyen Van Kim (212) Colonel. Legal Advisor to the RVN TPJMC Delegation. Administrative/Financial officer.
Nguyen Bao Tri ( ) Lt. General. Chief, RVNAF Central Training Command since November 1973. Commandant, Command and Staff College 1969-72. III Corps Commander 1965-66.
Vu Lo (58) Lt. Colonel. Commander, 50th Regiment since November 1973.
Nguyen Dang Hai (45) Lt. Colonel. Chief, JGS Finance Office since December 1973.
Le Duy Chat (44) Lt. Colonel. Commander, Saigon 7th District since 1968.
Pham Thanh Nghi (148) Colonel. Commander, 2nd Logistics Command since 1969.
Nguyen Kim Phong (122) Lt. Colonel. Assigned to MR 4 Military Field Court.
Vu Van Khien (Aspirant) Colonel. Government member, MR 3 Military Field Court.
Pham Huu Nhon ( ) Brigadier General. Chief, J-7 JGS since 1963.
Than Quoc Khang (27) Colonel. Chief, 3rd Logistics Command since 1971.
Le Ngoc Dinh (49) Colonel. Chief, J-5 JGS since February 1974.
Dang Dinh Linh (205) Brigadier General. VNAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Materiel since 1969.
Nguyen Bich Hoan (173) Retired Lt. Colonel. Foreign Ministry official.
Nguyen Cao Quyen (19) Retired Lt. Colonel. Foreign Ministry official.
Nguyen Dang Hai (45) Retired Lt. Colonel. Director General of the Agricultural Development Bank. Navy Captain.
Nguyen Van (117) Colonel. Commander, Capital Military District 1966

James Nach
Political Section of the US Embassy in Saigon
Unpublished Research Paper, 1973-74