The opening of the Family Museum of the VC Saigon Special Force in HCMC provides a unique opportunity for visitors to explore the significant history and heritage of the Saigon Special Force, particularly during the Tet Offensive of 1968
The Family Museum Biệt Động Sài Gòn (VC) Saigon Special Force opened its doors for the first time in Ho Chi Minh City. On the morning of August 27th, over 300 artifacts, including weapons, correspondence, and vehicles used by the Saigon Special Force, were on display. The museum is located in a three-story house built in 1963 on Tran Quang Khai Street, District 1. This house was previously a secret operational site for the Special Force under the management of Mr. Tran Van Lai, also known as Năm Lai. After 1975, the house was divided into three separate sections and sold to different individuals. Mr. Tran Van Lai’s family has since repurchased part of the ground floor and the remaining two floors to establish the museum.
“My father was also a Special Forces soldier, so we have made efforts to collect each artifact in order to preserve the historical values and create an exciting new attraction for locals and tourists visiting Saigon,” said Mr. Tran Vu Binh, museum representative and son of Mr. Năm Lai.
The museum’s construction and artifact collection began in late 2019, and it currently houses around 300 items related to the formation and development of the Special Force.
The original architecture of the house has been preserved. During the war, this location served as a venue for secret operations of the Saigon Special Force, including meetings, the exchange of letters and documents, and the distribution of money and gold to the combat zone.
Access to the museum is through an antique elevator that has been in place since the construction of the house. The elevator door is made of intricate ironwork and wooden panels engraved with various patterns.
The Family Museum (CV) Saigon Special Force is divided into collections that are closely related to the Special Force, featuring themes such as weapons, vehicles, daily life items, and communication equipment.
The collection mainly consists of a variety of weapons and ammunition used in numerous battles. Accompanying these items are images depicting some of the Special Force’s attacks against the enemy.
One prominent artifact is an 82-mm mortar used to shell the headquarters and workplace of General Westmoreland on February 13, 1967. General Westmoreland served as the Commander of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, from 1964 to 1968.
A large-scale map illustrates the Special Force’s attack points during the General Offensive and Uprising of Tet Mau Than in 1968. Below the map are depictions of concealed weapons and documents.
“Under the disguise of a fruit delivery vehicle, my father used to hide many weapons and correspondence to transport them into the center of Saigon. Looking back at the artifacts of the Special Force, I am extremely proud of the work my father did,” said Mr. Nguyen Truong Phong, 65 years old (left corner).
There is also a Velo Solex motorbike from France, manufactured in the 1950s, which was used by Nguyen Ngoc Hue (alias Thu Ba), a female liaison officer, to transport documents.
The typewriter used in the office of President Nguyen Van Thieu’s administration in Saigon, which was left behind after the reunification of the country, is another valuable artifact. It was a gift from a soldier to the museum.
There is also a single-sheet printing press used by Mr. Do Mien for printing documents.
The Special Force soldiers used everyday items like Guigoz milk cans, cooking utensils, water bottles, and Manchon lamps to conceal secret letters, money, gold, and medicine during the resistance.
One room is dedicated to displaying the objects and images that Mr. Tran Van Lai’s family used during their secret operations.
During the museum’s inauguration, Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong, 71 years old, donated a typewriter that she used between 1969 and 1975. During that time, she worked as a secretary for the district command headquarters, specializing in typing official letters, instructions, and resolutions for various units.
Visitors to the museum can watch short films about the Saigon Special Forces. The museum is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day of the week.