French Statue in Vietnam; circa 1960's

My father was a DC3 and Caribou pilot for the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force)during the war in Vietnam.
He has a photograph which he took from the air in 1963 of a statue of a French Foreign Legion Soldier.
He says the statue was about 40 foot high and located north of Nha Trang.
Can anyone help with any information on the above as I have trawled the web and come up empty.

From what I was told when serving in the US Army, the French used to occupy almost all of Vietnam until they (the Vietnamese) who grew tired of French occupation, started to revolt. This revolt (which was heavily influenced by the Soviet Union) led to the French being ousted. The Soviets wanted to install a “puppet government” in place of the French in which the northern part of the country went along with. The Southern part wanted nothing to do with this and sought to create their own govt under direct self-rule. This lead to the division of the eitire nation and later lead to an all-out civil war. The North was supported by the Soviets while the South were basically alone. As the South cried out to the world for support, the United States "which at the time was deeply involved with a “cold war” with the Soviets, decided to offer assistance to the South as a sort of “police force” as it did in Korea. First the US started sending in advisors only, but as Soviet presence grew, the US saw it nessary to start sending troops of our own. this lead up to a slow build up of forces that drug the war out for a total of forteen years (1961-1975)

There is a lot more to this (much of it involves the extremly heavy causalties suffered by African Americans throught this war), but to stay focused on your question, the status your father saw was probably placed there by the french government before they were ousted.

Correct typo - “Status” should read “Statue” .sorry bout that :o

Cite? I can’t find any reference to black fatalities being higher than 14.9% (of total deaths) in Viet Nam. The VFW says 12.1%.

I have several books buried somewhere that state tha in the year 1965 alone, African Americans made up only 12% of the american population, but made up over 50% of the casuality rate in that one year alone. This was the idea of an Army Colonel named Col. McNair that was designed to not only supply the US Military with much needed manpower, but to also “dissolve” the growing uprisings of African Americans throughout the Civil Rights era. This continued roughly throughout the duration of the war. By the wars end in 1975, so many young black men had died in this period that there was an estimated eleven black women on the streets of American for every one black male. I can’t remember the authors of these books right off the top of my head, but I will search through my home for them and when I find them I will post the names and authors here for you to reference for yourself.

Starguard, those statistics are absurd. In Vietnam, blacks were 12.5 percent of the Americans killed in action, less than their percentage (13.1%) of the U.S. population in the relevant age range. Blacks were underrepresented in combat units and overrepresented in service and support units.

Where on earth did you get this from?!?
If you mean there were 1100 black women for every 100 black men in America (in say the 18-30 age group), then I fear you are sadly mistaken…

I did not mean for this to get into an arguement on how many people were killed during the war. The original intention of this post was to see if anyone - be it an ex-service person or historian - had any information on a statue of a French Foreign Legion Soldier, roughly 40-ft high, that was in Vietnam in the late 50’s - early 60’s. My father has roughly 1500 slides taken all over South-East Asia from 1962 to the early 70’s when he was a pilot for the RAAF. He has one taken from the air of this statue, but being 40 years old, it has started to deteriorate. I said that I would try and find some information about the statue for him, but as I said, I have come up empty. If anyone can help, it would be much appreciated.

Sir I beg to differ…Those are the same type of media statements that were released about black participation in both WWII and Korea. Thankfully there are a growing number of historians and actual war veterans who fought in these wars that are fighting to change this. A good example is that for a very long time, it was taught and believed that there were no black fighter Pilots in WWII and that blacks were used only for detail and labor. This was actually taught in many schools all across the country. This is a falacy that was proven incorrect by many historians that fought for recognition of everyone ranging from the Tuskeegee Airmen and the squadrons they consisted of …mainly the 99th, 100th and 101st fighter squadrons , to the formation of the 332nd bomber escort squadron, to the many armor units of the all-black 3rd armor division that served under Gen George S. Patton who by the way were not only the ones who liberated the concentration camp in Dacau, but also were amongst the first americans to meet the russians and they pushed in from the east.

I have been web serching as well looking for information to suport my earlier statements and have ran across many links stating that black servicemen in teh Vietnam War only made up between 10% and 12% of the total casualities. This too I fear is an incorrect starement that hopefully our dedicated historians will make every effort to correct. I did manage to run across one site that gives
support to my earlier starements Please look here at

It is based on a documented interview with one of many Veterans that served in this campaign.

Please look at Question #4 in the 3rd paragraph titled in bold letters

** Why did you feel so strongly about not fighting the war** and read the response that was given
Meanwhile, I am still rambling throught these boxes here at home looking for the books I had mentioned earlier and will definitely post all the names and authors as soon as I find them.

No argument here :smiley: :cool:

Ask your father exactly what part of Vietnam was he flying over when these photo’s were taken. If he can remember any kind of landmark (eg. the name of a river or town it was near) that would help a lot :wink:

I rang my father and put your questions to him. He said that he thinks the statue was North of Nha Trang, a bit in from the coast. The photo was most likely taken when he was flying from Nha Trang to Danang, feet wet, but seeing that it was 40 years ago, his memory is a bit vague about the exact position. He agrees that it would have been erected by the French Government and then says that it would have more than likely been destroyed by the VC and the rubble used for building purposes.

** Starguard ** there are numerous problems with this ciation. First of all, the author is clearly biased - figures from a neutral party would be better. Also, right away the author makes a number of simple factual errors. He doesn’t even know how large Vietnam is!

Actually, Vietnam is slightly larger than New Mexico.

Also, he claims Vietnam is suffering very high birth defect rates - 25%. He is off by an order of magnitude, even the worst areas of Vietnam have birth defect rates of around 2.4%, with their national average being 0.6%.

If he can’t get even these simple facts right, why should we trust his claim “Blacks died in numbers well above their percentage of the ranks” when so many other sources claim that blacks were killed at rates proportional to there numbers in service, and percentage of the population as a whole.

I wish you could give us a visual form your dad’s slide. My wife was a little girl in Nha Trang, and says she doesn’t remember any statues there.

Can I suggest that when posting in GQ about a war and the history surrounding it, using as your primary source of facts the propaganda doled out by one of the armies that participated in that war is highly questionable?

Don’t be too hard ** Princhester, ** after all, some of what he is saying (that the numbers of death of African-American soldiers was much higher than random chance would account for) directly contradicts Army statistics on the subject. :wink:

Factual correction: you’re right about the Tuskagee squadrons, Starguard, and there were all-black divisions (the 92d Infantry Division, aka Buffalo Soldiers, being probably the best known) but the 3d Armored wasn’t one of them. It was an ordinary ‘white’ armored division (read Belton Cooper’s book Deathtraps for more info; alternatively the army link above makes no mention of it being all-black, whereas the link below does of the 761st).
You might be thinking of the 761st tank battalion?

As I said above. If you want to start an arguement about how many black americans were killed in Vietnam, please start your own thread - don’t hijack mine which has nothing to do with that topic.

Slithy, I will try and attach a link later with the slide in question.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Foks, consider that an order, not a request.

moderator GQ

Just to be sure - we’re not talking about the ARVN statue, which you can view by scrolling down the following page:

which was in Saigon, not Nha Trang, and which the NVA destroyed in 1975 (although they might as well have left it in place, since, even though they faced north, everyone pretty much agreed on the actual direction the statues were running).

Slight hijack, but it looks like there will be a 40-foot statue soon at Dien Bien Phu, on the 50th anniversary of the Viet Minh victory. Word is that it will be “bulky of educational significance” (Warning: above link may contain Communism.)

Photo of statue mockup

Interestingly, it is to be cast in brass, rather than made of stone or concrete.

Now, coop; this ain’t a French soldier, but it’s all that I could come up with: it’s a big French statute in Vietnam, on a place called Artillery Hill (or at least called that by the US Army in the 60s), also known as Statue Hill. It’s north of Pleiku. Seems to be a woman shielding or comforting a child, and I infer from the photo caption that the statue itself is dated 3-1-1961.

Statue Hill (You’ll need to scroll down about halfway through the page…took a while to download for me).