18th Division (South Vietnam)
Shoulder sleeve insignia
|Active||16 May 1965 - 30 April 1975|
|Branch||Army of the Republic of Vietnam|
|Motto||God Arrow - Defending the Fatherland|
|Le Minh Dao|
The 18th Division was an infantry division in the III Corps of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). The U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam considered the 18th as undisciplined and was well known throughout the ARVN for its "cowboy" reputation. In 1975 the 18th was made famous as the only ARVN division that stood fast and refused to surrender before Saigon fell.
During the last major battle of the Vietnam War, the vastly outnumbered 18th Division stood and fought at Xuan Loc, 38 miles north of Saigon. This battle is considered the epic last stand of ARVN forces, where the 18th earned the name "The Supermen". It was commanded by General Le Minh Dao, a smart, conservative and emotional commander.
The 18th made a defiant apocalyptic last stand against communist forces in Xuan Loc, a city strategically important for intersecting five main routes. The fierce fighting raged for two weeks. The 18th Division, outnumbered 7:1 by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces, destroyed all but three PAVN divisions before finally being overwhelmed by superior numbers. The division was forced to evacuate from the city on April 21, 1975, nine days before the fall of Saigon. Upon learning the 18th had lost "Xuan Loc" that afternoon at 3:00pm President Nguyen Van Thieu made a tearful televised speech that was broadcast around the world in which he blamed the United States for abandoning South Vietnam; he closed the speech by resigning the presidency.
The 18th was finally destroyed while defending Bien Hoa Air Base. South Vietnam surrendered on the afternoon of 30 April 1975.
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