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Vietnam: Commander Naval Forces Vietnam (COMNAVFORV)

Dates: 1965-1972

Collection Number: HDCL/8 (Formerly COLL/354)

Finding Aid (PDF, 1 MB)


The following sections – Historical Note, Scope and Content Notes, and Arrangement and Description – were written by the collection’s original processors, Dr. Oscar Fitzgerald and Mrs. Sharyn Walker, on 13 December 1974.

Historical Note:

                  The Naval Forces Vietnam command had its origins in the Navy Section of the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Indochina, which was established in 1950 to provide supplies and equipment to the French.  In 1955 after the French defeat in Indochina the Navy Section became part of the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Vietnam.  In part, this name change reflected the fact that the United States now sent aid directly to the Vietnamese rather than to the French.  At this time, U. S. personnel also assumed an advisory role whereas during the French era they had primarily supplied material.  On 15 May 1964, the Navy Section became the Naval Advisory Group when the Military Assistance Advisory Group was merged into the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.

                  Until March 1965 and the beginning of direct U. S. participation in the Vietnam War, the Navy served in an advisory capacity.  With the deployment of U. S. Navy combat units to Vietnam in the spring of 1965, the Naval Advisory Group additionally took on operational responsibilities.  On 1 April 1966 the two roles were separated with the establishment of Naval Forces Vietnam (NAVFORV).  The Naval Advisory Group continued its advisory role as a subordinate command under COMNAVFORV. 

Scope and Content Notes:

                  The records in this collection were collected at the naval headquarters in Saigon by naval officers who acted as historians and were assigned to the staff.  Many of the records were used to prepare a monthly Historical Summary of naval activities in Vietnam.  As these records were no longer needed in Saigon they were shipped to the Operation Archives Branch of the Naval History Division (predecessor to the NHHC Archives Branch).

Arrangement and Description:

                  In most cases, the original organization of the records in Saigon was lost during the transshipment process.  The Archives Branch originally filed the records in the order in which they arrived.  Once U. S. involvement in the war terminated in 1973 it became clear a more useable arrangement of the records was necessary.  In attempting to restore the records to their original arrangement, they first were divided into those of Chief, Naval Advisory Group and Commander, Naval Forces Vietnam.  For the most part the records of the latter organization contain documentation on U. S. Naval operations.  However, the Naval Advisory Group also served in an operational role between March 1965 and 1 April 1966 when NAVFORV was created.  The roles again began to overlap after 1969 with the beginning of the Vietnamization program.          

                  The NAVFORV and Naval Advisory Group records fall into several main series.  Two of these are the subject and serial files of the immediate office of the Commander.  A second category, which makes up approximately half the bulk of the records, is messages.  These messages have been further broken down by subject (i.e., Coastal Patrol, River Patrol, Intelligence, etc.).  In many cases the historians in Saigon made detailed listings of the messages and these are filed as appendices to this inventory.*  In a third category are the divisional records of particular offices (i.e., Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations). Miscellaneous materials that could not be associated with any one office on the commander’s staff also are indicated.

*The appendices are missing from the files as of October 2020.


Series Listing:

Subject Files

Serial Files

General Message Files

Messages Relating to Task Force 115

Messages Relating to Task Force 116

Messages Relating to Task Force 117

Messages Relating to Task Force 194

Intelligence Messages

Subject Messages

                  News Messages

                  Psyops Messages

                  Naval Support Activity Saigon Messages

                  Naval Support Activity Danang Messages

                  Construction Battalion and Support Activity Messages

                  Seabee Spot Reports and Messages

                  Salvage Messages

                  Miscellaneous Messages

                  MACV Command Center Spot Reports

Naval Forces Vietnam Divisional Files

                  Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations Files

                  Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans Files

                  Director, Progress Appraisal Department

                  Unclassified Statistical Data

                  Public Affairs Office Files

Weekly Intelligence Estimate Updates

Aircraft Accident Files

Command Histories and Monthly Summaries

Civic Action Reports

Seventh Fleet Subjects

River Transport Escort Division 81

Naval Research and Development Files

Lessons Learned Material

Quarterly Evaluation Reports


After Action Reports


Force Historian Files

Permanent Files

Combined Campaign Plans




Published: Fri Sep 01 11:28:31 EDT 2023