Item:
ONJR21057

Original Vietnam War ARVN South Vietnamese Army 5th Division Camouflage-Painted M1 Helmet with Insignia

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available: Stunning Vietnam War ARVN M1 Helmet with original period applied camouflage scheme and insignia. The helmet is an incredibly attractive display piece, with vibrant colors, yet showing wear from honest use and age from decades in storage. Most likely this helmet came to the United States back from Vietnam with a U.S. Advisor that served alongside ARVN troops.

The camouflage consists of a four-color pattern consisting of Earth Brown, Black, Lime Green, and Aqua Blue. The pattern itself is very indicative of patterns observed on other ARVN helmets. It should be noted that under close observation that there is a lot of natural age and corrosion on the helmet, that has occurred AFTER the helmet was painted. Some areas of note is the light surface crackling to the paint in some areas, the fact that rust is appearing from under the paint (meaning the helmet was not rusted to being with and then painted!). There is a Vietnamese surname “Cua” written in blue chalk inside the helmet shell. Chinstraps are intact and have some red dirt stains indicative of soil in Vietnam. The liner is dated July, 1964.

As for the Insignia, we believe this to be a variation of the ARVN 5th Division Insignia. The two bars on the front and back are believed to be a tactical marking of some kind, or possibly a variation of ARVN corporal’s rank.

Original South Vietnamese Helmets are incredibly hard to come by. The market is full of obvious and apparent fake helmets. This helmet excels beyond the rest, and is, honestly one of the finest examples of an ARVN combat helmet we have ever encountered.


The Vietnamese Rangers, properly known in Vietnamese as the Biệt Động Quân and commonly known as the ARVN Rangers, were the light infantry of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Trained and assisted by American Special Forces and Ranger advisers, the Vietnamese Rangers infiltrated beyond enemy lines in daring search and destroy missions. Initially trained as a counter-insurgency light infantry force by removing the fourth company each of the existing infantry battalions, they later expanded into a swing force capable of conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations, and were relied on to retake captured regions. Later during Vietnamization the Civilian Irregular Defense Group program was transferred from MACV and integrated as Border Battalions responsible for manning remote outposts in the Central Highlands.

Rangers were often regarded as among the most effective units in the war, the most well-led ARVN unit and formed part of the highly-mobile response units operating in key areas. Part of this was due to the specialized role of these units, given that they had their origins in French-raised Commando Units, the GCMA which were drawn from Viet Minh defectors and Tai-Kadai groups, operating in interdiction and counter-intelligence roles, and were trained specifically for counter-insurgency and rough-terrain warfare in the region. Ranger Units often had a US Military Adviser attached to these units although operated independently. The foremost counterinsurgency expert Sir Robert Thompson remarked in 1974 that the ARVN as a whole were the third-best trained army in the free-world and second only to the Israelis in counter-insurgency, with the Rangers, ARVN Airborne and Marine Division forming the vanguard.[8] With improvements in the ARVN from 1969 onward and the growing prestige of the Airborne and Marine Division, depredation had caused the Central Highlands-based Rangers to become manned by deserters, released convicts and Montagnards nevertheless the unit continued to perform critical roles in the Easter Offensive and frontier skirmishes in 1973 and 1974.

A total of 11 U.S Presidential Unit Citation (United States) were issued to the 22 original Ranger Battalions, including one unit whom earned three total citations from two different presidents. See List of Non-US Presidential Unit Citations in Vietnam.

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