Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất massacre

The Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất massacre[4][5] (Korean: 퐁니·퐁넛 양민학살 사건, Vietnamese: Thảm sát Phong Nhất và Phong Nhị) was a massacre reported to have been conducted by the 2nd Marine Brigade of the Republic of Korea Marines (ROKMC) on 12 February 1968 of unarmed citizens in the villages of Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất, Điện Bàn District of Quảng Nam Province in South Vietnam.[6] The South Korean forces had been newly transferred from the area, in the wake of the Tet Offensive, with the village located in a densely populated region in and around Da Nang. Transferring Korean Marines to the populated Da Nang sector from a less populated sector was unpopular with ARVN and US Commanders and setting back pacification and relation-building efforts, due to the behaviour of Korean forces.

Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất massacre
Phong Nhi massacre 8.jpg
U.S. Marines recovered victims' bodies in Phong Nhị and Phong Nhat villages on 12 February 1968
LocationPhong Nhị and Phong Nhất villages, Điện Bàn District, Quảng Nam Province, South Vietnam
Date12 February 1968
Attack type
A dying 21-year-old woman with her breasts cut out and left shot by South Korean marines.[2] U.S. Marines transported her to the hospital, but she died soon after.[2] Photo by Corporal J. Vaughn, Delta-2 Platoon, U.S. Marine Corps.[2][3]
A child killed during the Phong Nhi and Phong Nhat massacre. Photo by Corporal J. Vaughn, Delta-2 Platoon, U.S. Marine.


At the time the massacre occurred, the Phong Nhị (15°54′29″N 108°14′06″E / 15.908°N 108.235°E / 15.908; 108.235) villagers had had a close relationship with the U.S. Marines as the villagers formed a part of the Combined Action Program (CAP) and the village men were enlisted as South Vietnamese soldiers.[4]:32

At about 10:00 members of the ROKMC 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Brigade passed the CAP Delta-2 team (15°54′36″N 108°14′17″E / 15.91°N 108.238°E / 15.91; 108.238). At 10:30 the ROKMC company moved west towards Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất (15°54′47″N 108°13′19″E / 15.913°N 108.222°E / 15.913; 108.222) and began taking fire from Phong Nhất. At about 11:00 an LVTP-5 supporting the ROKMC unit on Highway 1 was hit by a command-detonated mine and disabled. A U.S. Marine operating with the 1st Company believed that the mine had been triggered from Phong Nhất. The 1st Company swept through Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất before returning to Phong Nhi. At 13:00 shooting was heard and smoke seen coming from Phong Nhị. At about 13:30 a Popular Force soldier from CAP Delta-2 brought in two young boys who had been shot and a woman who had been stabbed. At about 14:00 the CAP Delta-2 members attempted unsuccessfuly to contact the U.S. liaison officer at ROK 2nd Marine Brigade headquarters. The 2nd Marine Brigade G-3 officer advised the CPA Delta-2 team that ROK Marines were not in the Phong Nhị area. The CAP Delta-2 team requested mortar fire into the Phong Nhị area but this request was denied. At about 15:00 a patrol from CAP Delta-2 moved into Phong Nhị and evacuated the survivors. A total of 69 civilians were found dead in three main groups in Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất.[7] The operation by the ROKMC was approved by nor notified by the District Chief.[7] III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF) situation reports for the 2nd Marine Brigade confirmed that the 1st Company was in the area and that they received small arms fire at 11:05 and 15:30 resulting in one Marine wounded.[7][2][3]

On 16 February 1968 the ROKMC Executive Officer left 30 bags of rice at the District headquarters.[7]


Eyewitness testimony from both the members of CAP Delta-2 and survivors at the hospital prompted grounds for a war-crime investigation for investigation were done from CAP commanders and COMUSMACV, both making direct demands that ROK commander Lieutenant general Chae Myung-shin investigate. On 16 April 1968 the III MAF reported on the incident to Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). A total of five other hamlet massacres were investigated as well, at Hoang Chau hamlet, Phuoc My, Thanh Phu and Hoa Phon.[7] On 29 April 1968, MACV sent the report to the General Chae.

On 4 June 1968, General Chae advised MACV that he had investigated the incident and stated that ROKMC forces had never been in Phong Nhị and that operations were limited to Phong Nhất. Chae suggested that the massacre had been conducted by Vietcong (VC) forces disguised in Korean-style camouflage uniforms in order to discredit the Korean forces.[7] Chae stated that there were numerous cases in which the VC utilized the duckhunter pattern used by the ROKMC to commit misdeeds in order to incite unpopular opinion supporting his claim with the testimony of the District Chief and an ARVN Sergeant in CAP Delta-2. Chae advised that the bags of rice were not offered as an apology but were part of normal refuges assistance.[7]

VC secret reports discuss this massacre, clearly blaming the Korean forces for conducting this massacre and discussed reprisals to rally villagers to their cause and away from GVN/USMC pacification efforts.[8]


Abandoned children bodies in ditch. U.S Army and South Vietnamese Army were searching for other abandoned bodies.

The massacre negatively impacted ongoing pacification efforts in the region and became widely known.[8] Transferring the ROKMC to the populated Da Nang sector of I Corps from an unpopulated sector set back considerable effort in winning support and deteriorated relations with locals.[9] This massacre alongside the Hà My massacre undermined ongoing efforts at pacification.[9] South Vietnamese and US commanders from the region had a negative appraisal of Koreans with General Rathvon M. Tompkins and General Robert E. Cushman Jr. being quite negative about the Koreans being transferred to the sector, as they were regarded as generally uncooperative and unwilling to engage in security while committing atrocities.[9] These atrocities were reported by ARVN/US commanders and sent down to Saigon.[9] Korean forces were transferred back to II Corps/II Field Force following this incident, and were relegated to guarding bases and minimising any offensive or combat actions.[citation needed]

In 1969, one of the victims' families made a petition to the President of South Vietnam's Parliament for compensation.[10] The local South Vietnamese civilians were particularly disturbed that the massacre was perpetrated by ROK forces against villagers who had family members in ARVN forces.[8] Testimonies of survivors at Da Nang hospital, as well as the USMC patrol that had found the victims had identified ROK-forces as responsible with no Việt Cộng in the vicinity.[7]

On 11 November 2000, General Chae conceded that Chief of Staff of the United States Army General William Westmoreland demanded the investigation several times.[11] Chae still claimed that the two villages were not in the route of the ROKMC and repeatedly maintained blame on the VC who allegedly wore the South Korean marine uniforms.[11]

The event was prominently featured in the Korean media when it was discovered by Ku Su-Jeong looking at Hanoi's archives around the time of relationship normalisation,[12] and Korean civic groups have called on apologies for this event from Korean leaders[13] alongside survivors of the massacre.[14] South Korean sculptors Kim Seo-kyung & Kim Eun-sung, two sculptors who designed the comfort women Pieta statues, have built a similar commemorative statue at the location of the massacre.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Han Hong-gu, Sungkonghoe University professor. 미국의 관심은 '학살은폐 책임' 최초공개된 미국 비밀보고서의 의미… 정부는 참전군인의 명예를 위해서 진상조사에 나서라. Hankyoreh (in Korean). Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Go Gyeong-tae (24 January 2001). 특집 "그날의 주검을 어찌 잊으랴" 베트남전 종전 26돌, 퐁니·퐁넛촌의 참화를 전하는 사진을 들고 현장에 가다. Hankyoreh (in Korean). Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b 여기 한 충격적인 보고서가 있다 미국이 기록한 한국군의 베트남 학살 보고서 발견. OhmyNews (in Korean). Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  4. ^ a b Kwon, Heonik (2006). After the massacre: commemoration and consolation in Ha My and My Lai. University of California Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-520-24797-0.
  5. ^ Kim Chang-seok (15 November 2000). 편견인가, 꿰뚫어 본 것인가 미군 정치고문 제임스 맥의 보고서 "쿠앙남성 주둔 한국군은 무능·부패·잔혹". Hankyoreh (in Korean). Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  6. ^ Go Gyeong-tae. 잠자던 진실, 30년만에 깨어나다 "한국군은 베트남에서 무엇을 했는가"… 미국 국립문서보관소 비밀해제 보고서·사진 최초공개. Hankyoreh (in Korean). Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Alleged atrocity committed by ROK Marines on 12 February 1968" (PDF). Adjutant General's Office. 23 December 1969. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Kwon, Heonik. "Anatomy of US and South Korean Massacres in the Vietnamese Year of the Monkey, 1968 | The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus". Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  9. ^ a b c d Shulimson, Jack; Blasiol, Leonard; Smith, Charles; Dawson, David (1997). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: 1968, the Defining Year (PDF). History and Museums Division, USMC. p. 614. ISBN 0160491258.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ Go Gyeong-tae (23 November 2000). "끝없이 벗겨지는 '제2의 밀라이'". Hankyoreh. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  11. ^ a b Kim Chang-seok (15 November 2000). "한국군도 많이 당했다" 채명신 전 주월한국군총사령관 인터뷰… 남베트남군 사령관 만나 사과한 적도. Hankyoreh (in Korean). Retrieved 28 January 2011.
  12. ^ "Reckoning with Korea's role in Vietnam War massacres". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  13. ^ Herald, The Korea (2017-11-09). "'Time to apologize for Korea's own war crimes in Vietnam'". Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  14. ^ "[Newsmaker] Vietnam massacre victims demand Korean government's apology". Herald English. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  15. ^ "Sculptor to make symbol of Vietnam massacres". koreatimes. 2017-06-21. Retrieved 2017-06-22.

Further readingEdit

  • Armstrong, Charles (2001). Critical Asian Studies: America's Korea, Korea's Vietnam. 33. Routledge.

External linksEdit