VNAF Photos 's Design

VNAF PHOTOS section -



(Class of Tran Hung Dao 1950)

Logo of VBQGVN

Before the Dalat Military Academy was established, there were 2 classes of platoon commander training program at Dap-Da, Hue.

These are the photos of the real first class of the Dalat Military Academy (The graduation ceremony was presided over by Emperor Bao Dai) based on the french Saint Cyr Military Academy program for short-training schedule by the need of leadership for the young ARVN at that time (9 months, unliked the next class after 1956 for 2 years and the middle of 60s to 1975 for 4 years). Be able to command the size of a company in the ARVN, the officer had had to follow the extra charge supplement training programs to handle a battalion or a regiment in the country or in France for the Air Force, Armor, Artillery, etc. After 1956 with the reform of the ARVN, to be able to handle a division, the ARVN officers must go to USA for training at the US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Click here to see the LIST OF CLASS TRAN HUNG DAO 1950
Click here to see the VIDEO CLIP of Class TRAN HUNG DAO's GRADUATION (QuickTime Player only)

The 1st rank cadet is my father Bui Dzinh, and the 2nd rank was Nguyen Van Hieu (larter became General NVH). This was the first class of the Dalat Military Academy based on the french Saint Cyr Military Academy program for short-training class by the need of leadership for the young ARVN (unliked the next class after 1956 for 2 years and the middle of 60s to 1975 for 4 years).

(photo courtesy: François Bui)


Last Cadet

The photo on the left shows cadet Bui Thanh Binh one of the last cadets of Class 31st (last class of TVBQGVN). The photo was taken the day after Alpha Ceremony Night, a traditional night in which the candidates were solemnly accepted as the Cadets of TVBQGVN. A unique coincidence should be noticed: Cadet Bui Thanh Binh was the son of the 1st rank cadet (Thu Khoa) Bui Dzinh of the 1st Class of the Dalat Academy (Class Tran Hung Dao that you have just seen at the top of this page). In another word, they are the symbols of the first chapter and sad final chapter of Dalat Military Academy of Vietnam, the "West Point" of the SouthEast Asia.

Photos of the 31st Class during the first two months of challenging military drill

Photos of the 29th Class during the first two months of challenging military drill

(Truong Vo Bi Quoc Gia Viet Nam)

The following photos depict the last graduation ceremony at Da Lat National Military Academy of Vietnam, sometime in January, 1975. Perhaps, this is the graduation day of the class of 27th. Some photos show President Nguyen Van Thieu in process of inspecting the Regiments of Cadets, the others let you see the whole view of the Le Loi Parade Ground and military guests of the event.

Thanks to Photoshop program, I have spent some time to restore the old pictures, making them fresh and clean to the point I thought they have been just downloaded from the Flash card of my camera. What a deceitful and melancholy feeling, it seems like the pictures have been taken yesterday. Again, full credits go to D.T.Vu, the photo collector!

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SVSQ crest

The Vietnamese National Military Academy (VNMA) was founded in December 1948 in Hue. Under French operation, the academy was simply a nine-month officer training school designed to produce infantry platoon leaders. In 1950 it moved to Dalat because of better local weather and remained under French operation until after the signing of the Geneva Accords in 1954, when the Vietnamese assumed control. In 1955 the American advisory effort began, and the curriculum was extended to one year and in 1956 to two years. In 1959 President Diem first declared the academy to be a full four-year, degree-granting, university-level institution. Expansion planning and construction began, but the program floundered because of the conflicting short-term demand for junior officers and lack of a qualified academic faculty. As a result, the academy graduated three 3-year classes but no 4-year classes and, in 1963, reverted to the production of enlightened platoon leaders with two years of training. The concept was similar to U.S. officer candidate schools throughout 1965. In December 1966, Premier Ky issued a decree which reinstituted a four-year educational requirement, with graduates entitled to receive a Bachelor of Science degree, and changed the academy mission to the following:
The Vietnamese National Military Academy is responsible for training regular army officers for the Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam who possess a university level of instruction and a firm military background.

A VNMA applicant had to be a citizen between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two, unmarried, and a high school graduate to be considered for acceptance. Appointment to the academy was based upon the results of a two-day competitive academic examination and a complete physical examination. The more highly qualified students obtained from this competition provided a basis for developing the potential of an "elite" professional corps. Approximately one out of ten applicants were accepted. In 1968, for example, out of more than 2,500 applicants only 270 were accepted in the four-year program. The attrition rate has been minimal since the academy's conversion to a four-year college, averaging from 4 to 5 percent (the approximate average rate for West Point as well as the Philippine and Korean Military academies is 30 percent). At the beginning of 1969, the academy had an enrollment of 900 cadets with plans to expand the enrollment to 1,000 by the end of the year.

By 1970 the physical plant consisted of ten buildings including four cadet dormitories, three academic buildings, an academy headquarters, a cadet mess hall, and a cadet club. Under construction were faculty quarters, a fourth academic building, a library, and a cadet regimental headquarters.

The four-year curriculum was diverse. Besides military subjects and courses in mathematics, physics, history, English, law, philosophy, chemistry, engineering, and surveying (50 percent of the academic program was devoted to engineering sciences), the curriculum furnished courses to help solve some of South Vietnam's unique problems. For example, a course in hamlet planning covered everything from where to put the village chief's house to how to drill wells for water; another course conducted in sanitary engineering was designed to improve the sanitation in hamlets and villages.

Subjects were taught by the academy's all-RVNAF military faculty of approximately 100 instructors. Classes were held as seminars with small groups of cadets. All cadets had their own textbooks which was something rare in civilian Vietnamese universities. Although the VNMA curriculum was patterned after the U.S. service academies, the cadets were exposed to more classroom hours than the cadets at West Point; however, both participated in the same amount of athletic activity.

In 1969 there were twelve U.S. military personnel in the VNMA advisory detachment. Advisory efforts were geared toward improving the quality of entering cadets, obtaining a better qualified staff and faculty, developing a balanced curriculum, and supporting the VNMA's physical expansion. The U.S. Senior Advisor noted that, although reports and comments about the VNMA graduates have been excellent, "the future of the Academy rests with how well it can keep pace with the changing situation and times. Updating texts, expanding facilities to meet needs, bettering the faculty; these are what are important."

In December 1969, the "West Point" of South Vietnam turned out the first class of ninety-two cadets to graduate from its four-year program. The event set the stage for a crucial test of one of the most ambitious plans of Vietnamization to date. During the colorful pass-in-review graduation ceremony, the long-range importance of the academy graduates was emphasized by the presence of President Thieu and a host of top political and military leaders of the country. In his remarks President Thieu told them "they must be more than military leaders" and urged the graduates to be in the forefront of a nation-building generation.

On graduation these cadets were assigned to the three services as follows: Army 77 cadets, Air Force 10, Navy/Marine Corps 5. During the period 15-20 December 1970, 196 candidates for class number 26 reported to the academy for in-processing examinations. Eight candidates were declared unfit for military service for medical reasons; 250 primary candidates and 119 alternates had been selected for the class. On 24 December, 188 fully qualified candidates were admitted as new cadets and formal training commenced.

During 1970 a cadet in his second year at the Vietnamese National Military Academy became the first Vietnamese to be accepted for entrance to the U.S. Military Academy, West Point.

(D.T.Vu's Collection)
A lot more photos of brochure will be added up here...!