Military Records

Records of U.S. Forces in Southeast Asia, 1950-1975 (RG 472)

Within Record Group (RG) 472 Records of the U.S. Forces in Southeast Asia, 1950-1972 are records for corps/field forces, divisions, brigades, battalions and a few companies. Unit types include infantry, artillery, armor, cavalry, aviation, military police, engineers, signal transportation, supply and service, and quartermaster. Also within RG 472 are the records of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) and the United States Army, Vietnam (USARV).

  • MACV records include files of MACJ1 through MACJ6, the Office of Civil Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS)[link to CORDS page], Advisory Teams, the Air Force and Navy Advisory Groups, and staff offices like the Adjutant General, Inspector General, Staff Judge Advocate, and the Provost Marshal.
  • USARV records include files of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Administration, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Support Commands, Command Historian, and the Adjutant General.

The records vary tremendously. Usually, the higher the echelon, the greater the variety of reports, and the more complete the records. However, there are gaps in the records. In some cases, NARA may have few, if any, records for a particular unit/organization. In other cases, we may have a large volume of records for a unit/organization for one time period, and very little for another. We have custody of what the Army retained.

  • At the company level you may find some unit histories and some journals.
  • At the battalion level you are likely to find S2/S3 daily journals, after action reports, unit histories, and in some instances operational reports-lessons learned (ORLLS).
    • Daily journals are the most specific accounting of a unit’s activities. They usually contain operational details such as grid locations and reports of attack
    • After-Action reports often provide a more comprehensive view of specific operations. They will take a unit’s activities over time and place them within the context of the operation.
    • ORLLS were quarterly, later semi-annual, reports on the overall activities of a unit. The National Archives generally has them at the brigade or division level. They usually contain information on operations, logistical activities, significant personnel events, changes in command, and lessons learned.
  • At the brigade and division levels, you will find other types of reports in addition to those previously mentioned.

Of course, in the records of MACV and USARV staff offices, you will find administrative records and reports much different than those found in the unit records.