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7th Division

Organized January 1, 1955
(Decree 012-QP/ND of January 17, 1955)
(JGS Order 474/TTM/1/1/SQ of January 22, 1955)

The history of 7th Division began with the French Union forces' 7th Mobile Group which was later designated the 2nd Mobile Group (Lien Bien Luc Dong 2). On September 1, 1952 the unit became the 31st Mobile Group (Lien Bien Luc Dong 31). It was one of two Vietnamese mobile groups formed in the Red River Delta area of North Viet Nam (the other was the 32nd Mobile Group). Following the July 1954 Geneva agreements the 31st Mobile Group was embarking from Hai Phong and brought south to Da Nang in Central Viet Nam. The group was officially disbanded on December 15, 1954.

With effect from January 1, 1955, a 31st Infantry Division was formed from elements of the former 31st Mobile Group. Lt. Colonel Nguyen Huu Co, last commander of the group, became the first commander of the division. Details on the founding of the new division are complex. A condensed version of these beginnings is found in the history of the 1st Division which was formed under the same decree and JCS order.

The division was for a time based at Tma Ky (then Qunag Nam, now Quang Tin Province.) Between April 22 and March 17, 1955, the division participated in operation Giai Phong ("Liberation") during which the national army took control of Southern Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh (Viet Minh Region 5) in accordance with a French-Viet Minh protocol. Since the 31st division that only one regiment at the time (the 156th Regiment), it was temporarily reinforced by a one from the 32nd Division (now the 2nd Division).

During the summer of 1955, the 31st Division was transferred from Central Vietnam to the South. On August 1, 1955, the 31st Infantry Division became the 31st Field Division. A few weeks later, it was redesignated the 11th Field Division. Then, on November 1, 1955, the 11th Field Division became the 4th Field Division. A new headquarters was established at Bien Hoa effective November 11, 1955. The division brought only its headquarters staff and a few specialized units to the South. Three infantry regiment- the 51st, 52nd, and 154th all formed December 1, 1954 from battalions evacuated from the north - joined the division when it reached the South. The 51st, 52nd, and 154th Regiment's became the 10th, 17th, and 12th regiments on November 1, 1955. They remained with the division.

In early 1956, all three regiments of the 4th Division were used in operations against the forces of Hoa Hao dissident leader General Ba Cut (Le Quang Vinh) in an area which is now part of Chau Duc province.

In January 1959, the 4th Field Division was redesignated the 7th Infantry Division. The headquarters was moved to My Tho on May 20, 1961. (The 5th Infantry Division moved the[ir] headquarters to Bien Hoa during the same month.) This completed the movement of the 7th Division into the Mekong Delta. However, as early as November 1960 the 10th Regiment was already engaged in operations there (it was in Soc Trang).

On September 1, 1969 headquarters was moved again, this time to Dong Tam eight kilometers west of My Tho on the northernmost branch of the Mekong River. Dong Tam is a former base camp of the U.S. 9th Infantry Division. Since its move to My Tho in 1961, the division conducted operations in the provinces of Dinh Tuong, Long An, Kien Tuong, Kien Hoa, Go Cong, Ha Duc, Vinh Long, Vinh Binh, Phong Dinh and An Giang and also across the Cambodian border 1971-72.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:36:55 ZULU