An Appraisal of Gen. Tri, III Corps Commander

Upon returning to the United States, after his tour as the Deputy Senior Advisor of ARVN III Corps (December 1969 to November 1970), Brigadier General D.P, MacAuliffe submitted his Senior Officer Debriefing Report to the Department of the Army on November 26, 1970. In this document, General McAuliffe offered his appraisal of General Do Cao Tri as following:

Having served with Lieutenant General Do Cao Tri in a close working relationship on a daily basis for the past year, I have been impressed by his patriotism, dedication to the Army and his mission, strong pragmatic leadership, relentless drive against the enemy, personal courage (his heroism in combat is legend), honor, and love for the Vietnamese soldiers entrusted to him. There is no question but that much of the credit for the extraordinary progress made by III Corps and MR 3 in the past year must be attributed personally to General Tri, for his enlightened leadership, initiative, resolve, perception and vision. Yet, rumors of corruption follow him', alleging, for example, that he receives kickbacks from province chiefs and from the lumber industry, and is involved in black market activities. By his own admission, General Tri is wealthy but he maintains that his wealth is inherited. His family has, for generations, owned much land in Bien Hoa Province. He makes no effort to conceal the trappings of luxury with which he is surrounded in garrison and at home. As one born to wealth, he takes much of this for granted. I find the charge of corruption --as we understand it in a western sense completely incongruous with the soldierly qualities which are paramount in his character. Moreover, it has been my personal observation that the rumors of corruption associated with General Tri seem to rise and fall in direct proportion to his current prominence and popularity. Military Region 3 and, in fact, the country would be the real losers if such allegations were permitted to neutralize or remove his superb leadership.

This debriefing report was declassified on 11 Jun 1983.

Nguyen Van Tin
27 August 2009

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