Quan Canh
South Vietnamese Military Police
720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association Vietnam History Project
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This Page Last Updated    22 May 2013

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Profile of the Quan Canh
        The Vietnamese Military Police Corps, Quan Canh, began in 1953 when the military police was activated and designated as part of the Gendarmerie [French Military Police]. At that time the Gendarmes were selected from Infantry Non Commissioned Officers (NCO's) who had service seniority, good conduct, and a certain educational background. After training they were sent to Gendarmerie stations established within military regions with the sole mission of enforcing military discipline, appearance and traffic.

        The military police was redesignated as the Military Police Branch in 1955. The branch was designated as an organization of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in 1961, giving the Vietnamese Military Police a special uniform and formally establishing a separate branch of the armed forces.

        The year 1966 was primarily devoted to reorganization and expansion of the branch. The Criminal Investigations Unit was expanded to meet the specialized requirements of military criminal investigations.

        Forty-seven Vietnamese Military Police Stations were opened in garrison towns to provide military police support activities in each area, and due to the intensification of the war effort, more prisoners of war were interned.


        To solve the problems presented as a result of the increase in prisoners of war, five Prisoner of War camps were activated.

< A Quan Canh Noncommissioned Officer and his U.S. MP counterpart observe prisoners of war rehabilitation activities in a South Vietnamese Government POW camp.

Courtesy of The MP Journal

        The Vietnamese Military Police Corps had the lowest desertion rate (only one or two men per year) of any Vietnam Armed Forces unit which showed the pride and desire of the men to succeed.

        The U.S. Army Military Police Corps was given the mission early in the Vietnam War to act as advisors to Quan Canh units throughout the country. The officers, warrant officers and men of the Corps accepted the invitation, and were highly successful in the accomplishment of that vital mission.

Training and Requirements

        Enlisted men had to volunteer for the Vietnamese Military Police, and to be eligible they need a minimum of seven years of education, which was equivalent to approximately nine years in the United States Schools.

        The Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) needed a high school education to be appointed to the Military Police. However, at times some standards were relaxed due to personnel shortages.

        Before officers could enter the Military Police Corps, they were required to have a university education. Once qualified, selected officers were sent to the United States Army Military Police School at Fort Gordon, Georgia, for specialized training.

Quan Canh crew embark on convoy escort operation with a V-100 Commando Car >

Courtesy of The MP Journal

        The first Quan Canh Training School was located in DaNang, Quang Nam Province (Military Region-I) in 1962, and later moved to Vung Tau, Phuoc Tuy Province (Military Region-III). It was the only one of its kind in Vietnam, and was patterned after the United States Army Military Police School in Fort Gordon, Georgia.

        The Quan Canh had the same mission as the US Army Military Policeman, so they trained in the same techniques. The only unusual aspect of their wartime mission was that they actually performed prisoner of war (POW) operations, whereas their US Army Military Police advisors were primarily concerned with advising them of the philosophy behind, and techniques and procedures in POW operations

< Photo G0074 The Quan Canh Battalion Commander and U.S. MP counterpart observe QC guard mount inspection prior to embarking on patrol duties.

Courtesy of The MP Journal

        Personnel entering criminal investigations units were given special training at the Criminal Investigations School that was also located at Vung Tau. They spent sixteen weeks learning special investigative procedures and techniques, and after graduating spent three more months performing on-the-job training.

Mission and Responsibility

        The Provost Marshal General, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, was a special staff officer on the Joint General Staff, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces. He advised the Joint General Staff on all Military police matters and activities in the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces. 

        The Vietnamese Provost Marshal General exercised control and supervision over all Vietnamese Military Police units: the Joint General Staff reserve battalions; prisoner of war operations; QC units assigned to corps and divisions; elements and activities assigned to the military police schools, training centers and the component commands. He also analyzed and established policies, planned development and utilization of QC units, directed the rehabilitation of POW's and supervised important investigations. Additionally, he recommended plans for the apprehension of deserters and draft dodgers, supervised crime prevention programs, directed traffic control programs, developed Vietnamese Military Police Corps strength requirements and supervised the conduct of training. It was the responsibility of the Senior US Advisor to the Vietnamese Provost Marshal General to advise and assist him in the accomplishment of those missions.

        During the 720th MP Battalions tour in Vietnam they worked hand in hand with the Quan Canh in many operations and combined patrols throughout III and IV Corps Tactical Zones.

QC patrol partner of SP/4 Lynn Jorgensen, 615th MP Company.
QC Duc at Xuan Loc with MPs from B Company.
SGT Guan, rides along to assist SP/4 Allan Portnoy, B Company.
QC jeep at Checkpoint -2 with C Company patrol.
U.S. MPs, and Quan Canh's at the Tu Duc Police Station.
SP/4 Newcomb and QC Lapp at Tu Duc.
QC Duc at Xuan Loc with SP/4 Larson from B Company.
Unidentified Canh Sat's and Quan Canh.
Unidentified QC working with A Company.
615th Combined Patrol at Bien Hoa, SP/4's Lazenby, Irby and QC "Hoa."
Unidentified QC with the 188th MP Company in Vinh Long.
SP/4 Ellert of the 615th MP Company and Quan Canh "Tri" at Thu Duc in 1968.
SP/4 Durden and unidentified MP (A Company) and QC on patrol.
Quan Canh assigned to A Company static check point at Thu Duc.
QC Luu at Tam Ky with the 146th MP Platoon.
QC Anh at Can Tho with the 188th MP Company.
Unidentified QC at Phu Loi Detachment.
Unidentified QC and PBR crewmen.
QC Ton at Vinh Long PMO.
Unidentified QC and KS (Vietnamese Ranger Police), 188th MP Company combined patrol in DaNang.
Unidentified CS and QC at Check Point Golf in DaNang.
SP/4's Pro, Davis, unidentified MP, TC's and QC at My Tho.
Unidentified TC who worked combined patrols.
QC Nghia working with the 615th MP Company.
Unidentified QC who worked with the 615th MP Company.
QC's and U.S. MP's at the La Place Restaurant for a birthday party.
Two unidentified QC's at Vung Tau Air Base.
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