Historica Wiki
Tran Van Don

Tran Van Don (17 August 1917-1998) was a South Vietnamese ARVN general during the Vietnam War and a leader of the 1963 South Vietnamese coup against Ngo Dinh Diem.


Tran Van Don was born in Bordeaux, France in 1917 to a wealthy Mekong Delta landholder who was studying medicine in France. Don studied in France before serving as a French Army officer during World War II and in the French-backed army of the State of Vietnam during the First Indochina War of the 1950s. As a general of the South Vietnamese ARVN, he helped to suppress the Binh Xuyen crime syndicate of Saigon. In 1963, as Army Chief of Staff, he was one of the leaders of the coup against Ngo Dinh Diem, and he went on to serve on the Military Revolutionary Council which took over the country after Diem's downfall on 2 November 1963. He was ousted from power after Nguyen Khanh's 1964 coup, retired from the army in 1965, became a Senator in 1967, and served as Defense Minister until 1975, when he fled to the United States a day before the Fall of Saigon. He died in 1998.