Office of Civil Operations and Rural Development Support, Military Region 4
The Office of Civil Operations and Rural Development Support, (CORDS)MR4 was organized on May 28, 1967. Military Region 4, located in southern South Vietnam, contained the provinces Kien Tuong, Dinh Tuong, Go Kong, Kien Hoa, Kien Phong, Sa Dec, Vinh Long, Vinh , Chau Doc, An Giang, Phong Dinh, Ba Xuyen, Kien , Chuong Thien, Bac Lieu, and An Xuyen.
The various divisions within CORDS, MR IV changed names several times over a period of six years, but their functions remained fairly constant.
Deputy for CORDS (DEPCORDS), an assistant Deputy for CORDS, and then two offices; the Management Support Division, and the Plans and Programs Division. Under these there were fourteen divisions: the Chieu Hoi Division; the Office of Highland Affairs (09/1972-1973); the Land Reform Division (organized ca. 1971, became part of the Office of Highland Affairs ca. 1972); the New Life Development Division (1967-1973); the Phoenix Division (organized ca. 1968; redesignated Phung Hoang Division ca. 1970); the Psychological Operations Division (1967-1972); the Psychological Operations and Chieu Hoi Division (established 06/30/1972 under the Office of Territorial Forces); the Public Administration Division (organized ca. 1971); the Public Health Division (organized ca. 1969; the Public Safety Division (1967-1973); the Refugee Division (redesignated the War Victims Division ca. 1970); the Regional Force/Popular Force Division (redesignated the Territorial Forces Division ca. 1972); and the Revolutionary Development Workers Division (redesignated the Revolutionary [Rural] Development Cadre Division ca. 1969 and placed under the New Live Development Division).
The Deputy for CORDS (DEPCORDS)
- The DEPCORDS assisted the Commanding General, Delta Regional Assistance Command, in discharging his responsibilities in support of the GVN pacification program. The DEPCORDS was charged by the Commanding General with supervising the formulation and execution of plans, policies, and programs which supported the Government of Vietnam's pacification program and related programs and U.S. assistance programs. These functions included advice to the Commanding General, IV Corps and MR4, appropriate provincial officials and GVN agencies on providing continuous territorial security and destroying the local VC infrastructure. He was also the immediate supervisor of all Province Senior Advisors.
- The Management Support Division(MSD)
- The MSD provided administrative and logistical support for CORDS personnel and field activities, except for those provided directly by the respective parent agencies. The office was responsible for: air operations in the Delta; the administration of USAID imprest funds; the CORDS IV Corps Buffalo Radio Net, which connected the Can Tho province (the headquarters for CORDS in MR4) with the other fifteen provinces and which connected IV Corps with CORDS Headquarters in Saigon; telecommunications and for storage and distribution of classified and declassified mail; housing and maintenance of buildings and residences; procurement, receipt, and distribution of supplies and equipment; accountability for non-expendable equipment; vehicular transportation and maintenance; and American, third country National and local personnel in IV Corps as well as partial responsibility for CORDS military personnel. In addition to the Division records, NARA also has records of:
- The Plans, Programs, and Reports Division
- The Plans, Programs, and Reports Division coordinated the development of integrated plans for functional program areas to achieve over-all MACCORDS and MR command goals and objectives. The Division oversaw the preparation of regional plans by functional divisions for use in implementation by the Province Senior Advisor. The Division integrated the results of current activities into future plans and contributed to the over-all US/GVN planning process. The Division was also responsible for coordinating the preparation of all reports, regional in scope, and prepared statistical data for the management of the Military Region programs.
- The Chieu Hoi ("Open Arms") Division
- The Chieu Hoi Division ran the program directed primarily toward Vietnamese people who had given military, political, or economic support to the Viet Cong within MR4, offering those who wished it an opportunity to come over to the side of the GVN. The program tried to induce members of the Viet Cong, North Vietnamese Army, and their supporters to come over to the side of the GVN. The program would then try and convert these people into useful citizens, by means of reindoctrination and training. The program also attempted to collect information from the converts to be used for intelligence and psychological operations purposes. Ultimately, the goal of the program was to weaken the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army by loss of military and civilian personnel and weapons while simultaneously strengthening the GVN.
- The Land Reform Division
- The Land Reform Division was responsible for advising the Vietnamese on land redistribution. Peasants would send in claims to the GVN regional government for land that had been designated for distribution. The GVN would then decide how to parcel out the available acreage.
- The New Life Development Division
- The New Life Development Division coordinated advisory efforts in such areas as agriculture, education, logistics, and public works. In addition to the Division records, NARA has records of:
- The Phung Hoang Division
- The Phung Hoang Division developed, coordinated, reviewed, and made recommendations regarding basis programs for mounting attacks on the VC infrastructure, local irregular forces, and related problems. The division also developed, coordinated, and administered a reporting and information system. The system focused on key indices related to programs, performance, and coordination, which attempted to identify, highlight, and resolve problem areas. The Phung Hoang Division also conducted field inspections and reviews and prepared staff intelligence analysis and recommendations.
- The Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Division
- The PSYOP Division provided informational and psychological operations support to the GVN pacification and development effort and programs and activities conducted by CORDS within MR IV. In Military Region IV, CORDS/PSYOP had military as well as civil responsibilities. The Division tried to fulfill three objectives: creating a communications infra-structure by which the GVN could talk to its people; providing training and advice for Vietnamese who were responsible for talking to their people; and providing support to PHOENIX, Chieu Hoi, New Life Development and other CORDS projects. Additionally, the Division tried to assist U.S. and third country news correspondents in obtaining an accurate view of the effort to win the war and establish a viable nation. The Division also directed, supported, and coordinated U.S. military and civilian advisors supporting Government of Vietnam PSYOP in the Delta and advice Corps level GVN Political Warfare and information agencies.
- The Public Administration Division
- The Public Administration Division was responsible for advising representatives of the province Rural Development council in encouraging free elections and sound election procedures in villages and hamlets. The Division assisted elected and appointed officials in appointing and using committees and councils.
- The Public Health Division
- The Public Health Division was responsible for supporting many programs aimed at improving the health of the populace of MR4. They provided assistance at province hospitals; trained health personnel; provided preventative medicine teams that investigated epidemic diseases and supported programs for the containment and/or prevention of epidemics; assigned American Public Health Nurses to provinces and municipalities within MR IV and taught public health programs. Additionally, they supported the GVN Minister of Health programs in the fields of nursing, medical logistics, medical construction, refugee health, and hospital administration.
- The Public Safety Division
- The Public Safety Division in MR4 was responsible for the U.S. Mission support to the National Police in the region; it recommended and implemented policy in extension of guidance provided by higher headquarters, and provided planning and technical advice to the National Police at the MR/provincial level. The Division coordinated the U.S. effort in identifying and eliminating the hamlet and village VC infrastructure, including both the GVN advisory effort as well as coordination of Free World Forces activities in the field. The Public Safety Division also provided staff liaison to other elements of the MR staff headquarters and subordinate echelons. The Public Safety Division was responsible for implementing public safety programs and US mission support to various GVN agencies assigned to Public Safety. The Division recommended and implemented policies from the guidelines provided by headquarters and provided planning and technical advice to those GVN agencies at the MR IV level. The PSD had three basic programs for which they were responsible for: the National Police; Telecommunications; and Corrections and Detentions.
- The Regional and Popular Forces (RF/PF) Advisory Division
- The Regional and Popular Forces (RF/PF) Advisory Division was responsible for advising the RF/PF Commander and his staff on training, operations, personnel administration, logistics and riverboat maintenance of the RF/PF units in the provinces as well as evaluating their effectiveness. Additionally, they kept the DEPCORDS informed of the progress and status of the RF/PF as well as acting as a coordinating office with other MACV staff agencies for RF/PF activities. The RF/PF was in charge of territorial security in MR IV. The Regional Forces were to seek out and destroy the enemy, protect key installations, lines of communications and maintain security for the populace. The Popular Forces were to protect hamlets and villages as well as key installations and lines of communications.
CORDS, MR IV functioned as a unit until early 1973 when it was dissolved as part of the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam.