Lê Nguyên Khang

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Lieutenant General Lê Nguyên Khang (11 June 1931 – 12 November 1996 )[1] was a Marine Commander of the South Vietnamese Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps. Commander of III Corps 9 June 1966, he was awarded the Silver Star for valor June 27 - 29, 1967 by the President of the United States, and was described by General Wallace M. Greene, Jr., CMC USMC, "as one of the finest field commanders in Asia."

Early life[edit]

Lê was born in Sơn Tây, Hanoi, South Vietnam on 11 June 1931.[1]

Military career[edit]

In 1965 Khang served as commander of the Marines which together with the Airborne formed the South Vietnamese general reserve and had a significant political role to play in Saigon. Khang was allied with Air Vice Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ, while General Dư Quốc Đống commanding the Airborne was an ally of Kỳ's rival General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu; the general reserve troops represented the real muscle of the Saigon-based Directory members and also constituted a balance of power between the rival officer cliques.[2]:32

In 1972 Thiệu finally moved both Đống and Khang out of their Divisions, transferring Đống to command the Capital Military District and Khang to a nebulous "special assistant" post under General Cao Văn Viên on the Joint General Staff. Of the two, Americans considered Khang the better commander, but his past alliance with Kỳ proved a major liability.[2]:487


  • Commander of the Marine Corps,
  • VNN Commander,
  • Commander of the Capital Military Zone,
  • Saigon-Gia Dinh Military Governor,
  • III Corps and III Tactical Zone Commander (1968)[3]
  • Representative of the Government in the Eastern Regions,
  • Deputy Chief of the Joint General Staff in Operations.


According to Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps sources, Lê died in Orange County, Virginia, USA on 12 November 1996.[1] However, according to noted Vietnam war historian, Spencer C. Tucker, the place of death was Hope, California.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Tiểu Sử Cố Trung Tướng Lê Nguyên Khang [Biography of Lieutenant General Le Nguyen Khang]". Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps. Archived from the original on March 31, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2008. (in Vietnamese)
  2. ^ a b Clarke, Jeffrey (1998). The U.S. Army in Vietnam Advice and Support: The Final Years, 1965-1973 (PDF). U.S. Army Center of Military History. ISBN 978-1518612619. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ "U.S. Aide's Speech Is A Boon to Thieu." New York Times. April 15, 1968.
  4. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. (2011). Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War, The: A Political, Social, and Military History: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 648. ISBN 978-1-85109-961-0.

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