Col. Victor Croizat Passes Away at 91

Excerpts from An American Knight by Norman Fulkerson about Col. Croizat:

Colonel Victor Croizat died of congestive heart failure on May 8, 2010 at his home in Santa Monica, California.

…”In 1954, Croizat was picking up the pieces of a broken Vietnam following the French defeat in the battle of Dien Bien Phu. After the partitioning of Vietnam and the implementation of Communism in the North, over 800,000 Vietnamese refugees, who did not want to live under the despotic regime, made their way south and were assisted by Croizat. His “untiring effort at first to rescue, and then to resettle the war-ravaged refugees had made him nearly a national hero in South Vietnam.”[1]

“Lieutenant Colonel Croizat would also go on to establish a South Vietnamese Marine Corps (SVMC) which would, under the direction of American advisors, develop into a serious fighting force. The relationship between the newly established SVMC and the Americans was cemented by a bond of trust. There was no hardship that the Vietnamese Marines suffered which was not also endured by their American counterparts.

“Basic to the creed was the sharing of food, danger, hardship and discomfort in the field. Wherever the Vietnamese commander hung his hammock, his American advisor hung his nearby.”[2]

“Lieutenant Colonel Croizat would go on to earn the respected title of Co-Van, Vietnamese for “trusted friend.” Out of the 6,000 American advisors in the 20 years following the formation of the Vietnamese Marines, only 600 would earn this title. ”


[1] Colonel Gerald Turley, The Easter Offensive: The Last American Advisors, Vietnam 1972 (Annapolis, Md.: US Naval Institute Press, 1995) p. 7.

[2] Donald Price, First Marine Captured in Vietnam (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007) p. 10

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