REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

 

NAVAL ENSIGNS & FLAGS 1955-75
 


 

NAVAL ENSIGN


 

NATIONAL FLAG & NAVAL JACK

 

CEREMONIAL FLAG OF THE NAVY

 

APPOINTMENT & RANK FLAGS & PENNANTS

 

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE NAVY

 

ADMIRAL  •  Amiral

 

VICE-ADMIRAL  •  Vice Amiral d'Escadre

 

REAR-ADMIRAL (UPPER HALF) •  Vice Amiral

 

 REAR-ADMIRAL (LOWER HALF)  •  Contre Amiral

 

NAVAL GROUP COMMANDER

 

CAPTAIN  •  Capitaine de vaisseau

 

COMMANDER  •  Capitaine de frégate

 

LIEUTENANT-COMMANDER  •  Capitaine de corvette
 

 

NAVAL OFFICER COMMANDING A PORT
 


The Republic of Vietnam Navy (RVNN) was established in 1955 when the southern half of Vietnam gained independence under a nationalist, non-communist government. Its first ships were hand-me-downs from the French but these were soon replaced as US military aid began to flow. The Navy's operational focus was riverine warfare and coastal security; though it operated large numbers of vessels, most of them were small patrol craft and support ships.  In 1969, however, with the advent of the US "Vietnamization" policy, larger ships were supplied: six former US Coast Guard cutters and a pair of destroyer escorts. All these ships were classified as frigates in RVNN service. Also transferred were a number of ocean minesweepers. As the US Navy stood down its Mobile River Force, the vessels and facilities concerned were transferred to the RVNN, which by 1973 had 42,000 officers and sailors and over 1,200 vessels. This force was organized into two flotillas, each with several squadrons: Flotilla I (patrol vessels) and Flotilla II (logistics and support vessels). For operational purposes, the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) was divided into Coastal Zones and Riverine Areas. Overall command was exercised by Fleet Command, which reported to the Chief of Naval Operations.

The collapse of the RVN in 1975 brought an end to the RVNN. Some of its ships were later incorporated into the navy of unified communist Vietnam; many others, which escaped in the final days with large numbers of refugees on board, sailed to the Philippines. When these ships struck their ensigns the last vestige of RVN sovereignty was extinguished. Those among them judged to be serviceable were taken over by the Philippine Navy.

The naval ensign of the RVNN was the national flag charged with a large black foul anchor; the national flag itself served as the naval jack. Command and rank flags and pennants were, with the exception of the port commander's pennant, based on the national colors: yellow and red. The RVNN used French rank titles; these are given above along with their US Navy equivalents. The Navy's ceremonial flag displayed the naval badge in yellow on a blue field with yellow laurel wreaths in the corners. Above the badge was the service title and below it was the Navy's motto: THE FATHERLAND—THE OCEAN.



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