Blue Dragons

Blue Dragons

Sgt. Grit,

While in the Nam at LZ Baldy, I got to know some Korean Marines fairly well. Marine choppers flew them from our LZ on their missions for a time. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong in remembering that ROK’s in Vietnam were with the Blue Dragons. I traded menthol cigarettes with a captain who gave me in return, packages of Korean cigs that featured a blue dragon on them. I seem to recall that these were special cigarettes that were sent to only the Korean Marines in Nam. They were not bad smokes either. The captain would relate to me the results of their patrols and told me they were especially fond of “chasing down the bad guys”. They took no prisoners.

One particular enlisted ROK was very burly and we found that he wrestled back in Korea. One day he and Cpl. John Lytle wrestled to a draw on the LZ matting. John was from Florida and I think he must have “rassled” alligators there. The Korean was much impressed by John’s performance and we all got along better as a result.

After leaving Baldy in the spring of 1971, we relocated to FLC near Danang. To the north of our compound was a small body of water that separated us from a ROK compound. I do not know if it was the same outfit that was at Baldy with us. One day a small boat with civilians on board made the mistake of encroaching on the ROK’s shoreline. One burst of M60 rounds and the boat was making a large wake with only a couple of paddles for power!

Thanks for letting me share my memories with you.

L/Cpl Dan Buchanan
The University of Rice 1970-71

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Dj

    In reply to D. Michael Rayo..aka..Little Bit.
    ohhhrahhh !!!!! i was with India battery gun 6 yes its true of the ROCKs i was at rayder ross baldy hill 55 traveld on ho chi min hwy.. quan-tri chu-li an-qua 1968 tet Big K !! Ashaw-Valley Marbel-Mountain RockPile gun 6 105mm ( Iron ButterFly ) sight-Adj. left to right and H-E Loader we were fast!! semper-Fi ( Mac ) YEMX

  • Les Kushner

    I spent time with the 2nd ROK Marines in Chu Lai in 1967. I still have a camo hat (much faded) and a Second ROK Battalion pin they gave me. I remember arm wrestling with their Sgt. Major and as I was winning realized he could lose face, so I convincingly let him win, but he later simply smiled at me. They have a lot of respect for their superiors and learning that lesson was important to understanding how to best work with them.Charlie sure did do his best to avoid them and with good reason. They were top notch and rarely took prisoners, and when they did, once they had what they wanted, well!!!! I do however, remember them saying there was an Army ROK unit in Nam and oddly enough my dry cleaner in California served with the ROK Army in 1970 in Nam.

  • Sgt. Doug Hanback, ’66-’70, RVN ’67-68, Chu Lai ’67

    I was able to relate to your story of Blue Dragon Marines as I was in Chu Lai in 1967 and knew some of them. Sgt. Park was a nice guy who spoke some English. Mike P & I were high school wrestlers so we thought we would challenge Sgt. Park to go to the mat. Sgt. Park was a Judo Player and had no trouble dispatching us one at a time even though he was much smaller. Another Blue Dragon Marine who spoke no English demonstrated his Karate skill by crushing a beer can (remember the old tin ones?) with a karate chop – ouch!. We young jarheads were duly impressed. I once traded for this and that until I had a bottle of J.W.R. that I traded for two sets of Korean tiger style camo’s. Those got traded for something else, and on, and on.

    I searched for the Blue Dragon cigarettes, but only came up with cigarette cases with a blue dragon symbol. I did come up with some info on the 2nd ROK Marine Brigade – Blue Dragons here:
    The web has much more on the interesting story of this band of Korean brothers called Blue Dragon.
    Semper Fi,

  • Philip Lee

    Recently read “Living With Dragons: With The Korean Marines in Vietnam” by Scott Leis. Scott served as ANGLICO with the ROK Marines of Blue Dragons, and his exploits with them is a great read. Recommend to anyone who would like to read more on USMC interaction with ROKMC.

  • D. Michael Rayo..aka..Little Bit

    I was attached to Golf 3/11 as a gunner on a 105 battery. The year was 1969. . Our unit would switch positions from Baldy to Ross, to Ryder to Bushwach. with others units of our battallion Hotel, and India batteries. One day just as the sun was going down, my old buddy, one and only buddy, Frosty, just arrived at LZ Ross and were sitting on our ammo bunker shooting the breeze., We noticed a chopper going up from the LZ and suddenly a few bodies were flying out of the chopper. We later found out that the ROC’S were throwing out captured VC and NVA out of the chopper after they interrogated them.. NOW THAT’S WHAT YOU CALL GETTING RID OF WASTE……Semper Fi…

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