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

    i was also their in baldy and also at ross i was in the first foxhole with M-60 outside the main gate! behind me two hooches got hit by rockets, CP got rocked. i also was at OP Crows Nest OP Laugh. VC climed the tower late night i felt tower swaying then saw his sillolet at door my buddy was asleep so as he was creeping in. my heart beating like a Drum i got to my 45 Colt and bye bye shoefly. Semper-Fi. 1/9 2/7 1stMarDiv 3rd Mar. 155″mm 105″mm Iron ButterFly Gun 6 Baldy Security Platoon. CampLejune NC 1st 8″ SP Tanks ( Tet 68-71) YEMX – Upsalon Sigma Mu Chi*** U.S.M.C ForEver OOOH-Rahhhhh !!!!!

  • Sgt. William Michell

    I spent nine months attached to the 2nd ROK Marine Brigade (Blue Dragons) from Aug. 67 to May 68. I was with a 10-12 man detachment from 7th Comm. At the beginning we only had a Gunny in charge. He rotated home shortly there after and we got a brand new 2nd Lt.. We were a little worried but he turned out to be OK. Those Rok’s did an awful lot with very little. During the 68 TET offensive we were in mid move from about 20 miles south of Chu LI to 20 miles south of Da Nang with our backs on the South China Sea. When we finely got there and set up shop myself and another Sgt. went to check out the perimeter to see how safe we were since the Koreans were in charge of security. They were ready for whatever came with their M-1’s and water cooled 30’s. I don’t remember when they got M-16’s but we traded up from the M-14 to the 16 around October 67..

  • Gary

    The Korean group near DaNang in 1969-1970 was the White Horse Division. My Tae Kwon Do Master Tae Hong Choi was a Captain with the Blue Dragons.

  • Ken

    I was at Baldy in 1970 with Delta Co, 9th Engineers. I was looking at the photo trying to figure out just what it shows. I think the compound area with the hooches at the right center of the photo was Delta’s area. Delta pulled out of Baldy in 1970. I think the main chopper pad was just off to the right of the photo. I got to know some ROK’s on Hill 55.

  • RM Banks

    I spent about 5 months at 7th Engineers’ water point located in a ROK compound near Hoi An. There were always two American Marines stationed there. When I arrived a corporal named Roy Spiker was in charge, and when he rotated back home it was me and L/Cpl Lynn Hager. The ROKS at that time were Blue Dragons, having been preceded by White Horse Marines. There were also a couple of American Marines at a Bulk Fuel station in the compound, as well as a small group of Anglico dudes, like maybe 6 or 7. Our job at the water point was to supply the base with fresh water, as well as a company of LVTs nearby. It wasn’t an overwhelming job, or wouldn’t have been but for two aggravating things. First, the 55 GPM pumps we had to pull the water out of the well and then move it around from tank to tank during the purification process were relics from the Korean War (or some time/place before that) and keeping them running was a nightmare. I was 19 and had “grown up” in California surfing and flipping burgers, and knew absolutely zero about small engine repair. Spiker and Hager both shared similar levels of expertise. But we had a Korean Marine sergeant named Kim Kwang Kil, whom we just called Kim, assigned to “assist” us, and who always seemed to know enough about whatever we were doing to get us by. The second big problem we had was with 90% of the rest of the ROKs stationed there. It seemed like most of them were interested in at least one of three things: 1) Swimming in the 3,000 gallon tanks of drinking water we had just purified; 2) Creeping around our hootch and work area looking for ANYTHING not nailed down that they could steal (they weren’t called “slickie boys” for nothing); 3) We had two dogs, Queenie and her pup Jack, and the Koreans were constantly trying to get Jack. They finally got him, too. I can only hope that he tasted great but had gut-eating worms. The Vietnamese in the nearby ville hated the Koreans. We Americans got along with the locals pretty well, we could buy beer and Ramen noodles and they’d treat us like kings, but not the ROKs. There was real hatred shown there. Also, there was a sort of unofficial rule of playing a sports game almost every Sunday afternoon, either football or volleyball, and the prize was a case of Korean beer. We got whatever Americans who happened to be around that day, and the ROKs made a huge production of lining up the whole battalion and selecting the best guys they could find. We could always beat them playing football — they just could not figure out the passing game. But boy, could they ever play volleyball! The end result was the beer changing hands back and forth every week. Anyway, it was an interesting time of life. I’d spent my first 7 months with 3/27, so Hoi An and the Blue Dragon ROKs were a welcome respite. And I do often miss Kim. He was a nice guy and a good friend.

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