Trần Văn Minh

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In this Vietnamese name, the family name is Trần, but is often simplified to Tran in English-language text. According to Vietnamese custom, this person should properly be referred to by the given name Minh.
Trần Văn Minh
Nickname(s) Little Minh
Born (1923-08-19)19 August 1923
Saigon, French Indochina
Died 31 May 2009(2009-05-31) (aged 85)
Nice, France
Allegiance South Vietnam State of Vietnam, Republic of Vietnam
Service/branch AFRVN Infantry, (Lục Quân Quân-lực VNCH)
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General (Trung Tướng)
Other work Minister of Defense (1965)

Lieutenant General Sylvain Trần Văn Minh (born 19 August 1923, Saigon, French Indochina – died 31 May 2009, Nice, France) was a Vietnamese diplomat and a general of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. He was sometimes known as “Little Minh” to distinguish him from the much larger (physically) Dương Văn Minh.[1]

In 1942, he passed the entry exam for the St Cyr/St Maxient Military Academy organized in Tong, Indochina. From 1943-45, Lieutenant Minh served with the 9th R.I.C. During this period, he participated in operations in Central and North Vietnam, most notably in Cha Pa. After the Japanese coup of 9 March 1945, he accompanied General Alessandri's troops in the retreat to China. In 1946, he was part of the French troops that retook Dien Bien Phu. From there, he eventually made his way to Saigon, travelling on the Mekong River through Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Deployed to the 22nd R.I.C. (1946–47), he was in charge of protecting military convoys between Saigon and Dalat.

Minh was named Directeur des Etudes (Chánh Sở Nghiên Cứu – Director of Intelligence) for the Governor of North Vietnam, Nghiêm Xuân Thiện. 1950 found him in Paris studying at the War Academy (École de Guerre à Paris). Upon his return to Vietnam, he worked at the newly formed State of Vietnam's Ministry of Defense. Two years later, he served on the Chief of Staff. During this time, he worked with General de Lattre de Tassigny in the "Vietnamization" of the Corps Expéditionnaire Français. After participating in Operation Atlante, he was promoted to Commander of the South Sector.[citation needed]

In 1955, Colonel Minh was one of the French delegates at the Geneva Convention. After the accords were signed, he returned home to take command of the first military region in South Vietnam. Late 1955, he was promoted to Général de brigade (Major General). A year later, the 33-year old Minh was promoted to Général de division (Lieutenant General). From 1957-59, he served as Commandant of the Da Lat military academy. In 1960, President Ngô Đình Diệm named him Inspector General the National Defense, a post he held until 1963.[2]

In 1964–65, he was the Chief of General Staff[3] and in 1965, Minister of Defense. The last position he held was Ambassador of the Republic of Vietnam to Tunis, Tunisia from 1971 until 30 April 1975, when Saigon fell.

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Military offices
Preceded by
Nguyễn Cao Kỳ
Commander Vietnam Air Force
1965–1975
Succeeded by
Nguyễn Hữu Tần