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9th Division

Organized January 1, 1962
(Decree 004-QP/ND of January 2, 1962)
(JGS Order 1,637/TTM/1/1/K of December 9, 1961)

The 9th Division was one of the two ARVN infantry divisions - the other was the 21st division -- formed in 1961 as part of a program to increase regular army strength by 30,000 men. The newly activated South Vietnamese Army 9th Infantry Division began a 22-week training program in March 1961, and in July the 25th Infantry Division was activated and undertook a similar course. The division was entirely new and went through an organization and training phase that was completed on August 16, 1962.

Although the 9th Division had a long association with the Mekong Delta, it did not originate there. The first headquarters of the division was at Phu Thanh in Binh Dinh Province. Phu Thanh is located on National Highway 1 just south of the turn off for Qui Nhon, which is about 15 kilometers away. Manpower for the new division was originally drawn from other army units as well as from training schools and centers.

The first of the division's infantry regiments to be formed was the 15th which was activated on March 5, 1962 and received its training at the Duc My Center in Khanh Hoa Province. The 14th Regiment, activated April 2, 1962 and the 13th Regiment, activated May 7, 1962, received their initial training at the division's own training center at Phu Thanh. Originally, the 13th Regiment was stationed at Phu Thanh, the 14th at Phu Cat, about 30 kilometers to the north, and the 15th at Tuy Hoa in Phu Yen Province. The division's area responsibility - the then 21st Tactical Zone - at first included the Binh Dinh and Phu Yen Provinces. In January 1963, Phu Bon Province (created in September 1962) was added.

The worsening security situation in the Mekong Delta resulted in September 1963 in the transfer of the 9th Division to the South. On September 28th, the divisional headquarters was established at Sa Dec, then part of Vinh Long Province. In the same month, the 14th and 15th Regiments were brought south by ship and airplane and deployed in Vinh Binh and Kien Hoa Provinces. The 13th Regiment followed in early October and was initially sent to Kien Giang. During the November 1963 coup, elements of the 9th Division might have gone to the aid of President Diem had it not been for the actions of Col. Nguyen Huu Co who took command of the 7th Division in My Tho and ordered all ferries tied up on the north side of the Mekong to prevent the 9th division from crossing. Col. Bui Dzinh was relieved of command of the division six days later.

Since 1963, the 9th Division has conducted operations in nearly all provinces of what is now Military Region IV. In 1969, the division became a mobile force for IV Corps with elements being sent to Delta trouble spots ranging from Kien Giang to Dinh Tuong. In April 1970, 9th Division troops crossed into Cambodia in the first of series of intermittent cross-border operations that took place during the 1970-72 period. In mid 1972, the 15th regiment was sent to Military Region 3 to participate in an unsuccessful attempt to reopen National Highway 13th to the surrounded Binh Long Province headquarters town of An Loc. It returned to the Delta after a relatively short time.

The headquarters of the 9th Division was moved from Sa Dec to former American facilities at Vinh Long airfield (on the western edge of Vinh Long town) on April 5, 1972. On March 1, 1967, the 13th Regiment, in the move designed to rid it of the bad luck associated with the number "13" became the 16th Regiment.

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