MAJ Ed Rouse (Ret.) and SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)
DISTINCTIVE UNIT INSIGNIA
A gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches (2.86cm) in width overall consisting of and radiating from central base a white enameled torch with seven tongues of red enameled flame between a gold quill on the left and a gold Samurai sword, point down, on the right surmounting a black enameled Torii Gate on a green enameled background, all above a gray enameled scroll bearing the inscription "Support By Truth" in gold letters.
The torch, a symbol of enlightenment, with seven tongues of flame alludes to the 7th Psychological Operations Group and their basic mission. The Torii refers to Okinawa, where the organization was originally activated and the present headquarters of the organization is located. The quill and sword representing the correlation between psychological operations and military achievement; the quill representing the power of ideas; the sword, in addition to representing military aspects of force, alludes to the fact that psychological operations are also a form of warfare. The sword, being a Katana, alludes to the fact that the operations of the Psychological Operations Group are centered in the Asian Theater. The colors black, gray and white refer to the color symbolism of black, gray and white propaganda. The green background or backing is the color used for Psychological Operations organizations.
In the old days whenever you dealt with the 7th Group that would usually present you with a large card that depicted the unit crest and an explanation of the symbolism as sort of a Calling card. I always thought it was a beautiful card and since I spent time in Japan and Okinawa always loved the graceful Torii. I enclose an old one from my files from many decades ago.
The distinctive unit insignia was authorized on 15 Apr 1969.
The 7th Psychological Operations Group was constituted 19 August 1965 in the Regular Army and activated on 20 October 1965 by General Order Number 306, Headquarters, U.S. Army, Ryukyu Islands.It was attached to IX Corps for operation and Training.
Leaflet Printing and Dissemination Guide
This was the old dissemination guide used by the United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Pacific. The leaflet dissemination formulas were reworked by Major David Underhill of the 7th PSYOP Group and he wrote a new version which we show below.
The 7th Psychological Operations Group was the successor to the United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Pacific, which was based in Japan, under several different titles, until 1958, when it moved to Okinawa.
Low, Medium, and High Altitude Leaflet Dissemination Guide
Major David Underhills revised and improved Dissemination Guide with new and tested formulas. This book would become the Bible of leafleting and be used by U.S. forces right up until the current time.
Underhills work was so important that I see it mentioned in many PSYOP publications. He had finally selected the 6 x 3-inch leaflet as the best and most effective size to get an accurate and reliable pattern on the ground. In the Psychological Operations Directive Newsletter No. 2, his numbers for the use of that sized leaflets are published.
The 6 x 3-inch leaflet box is 12 x 16 x 24-inches in size. He gives the statistics for leaflets using three different weight papers:
20 pound paper has 519 leaflets per pound and the box contains 57,090 leaflets
16 pound paper has 649 leaflets per pound and the box contains 71,390 leaflets
60 pound paper has 442 leaflets per pound and the box contains 48,620 leaflets
Color Mixing Card
This card was in the printing file. It seems rather simple and one would assume that the printers knew all this already, but perhaps it is just a cheater card, like gamblers will use when playing blackjack. They know when to hold and when to hit, but there is a pocket card they can use to remind them in case they have any doubts. At any rate, I found in interesting.
Although the 7th Psychological Operations Group assumed all missions and functions previously administered by USABVAPAC and a transfer of personnel and equipment was effected, the two units are not historically related.
Kadena AFB Vietnam War and North Korea
7th PSYOP Group was stationed at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa
Subordinate units include the 15th PSYOP Detachment, the 14th PSYOP Battalion, and Temporary Duty off-island detachments in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The 7th Psychological Operations Group was tasked with the mission of providing PSYOP support for the Commander in Chief, Pacific, the Commander in Chief, United Nations Command, and the High Commissioner, Ryukyu Islands. During the Vietnam War a large proportion of the Groups resources were concentrated in support of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam.
An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group pressman prepares a printing plate of the Seal of the Ryukyu High Commissioner
The 15th PSYOP Detachment was responsible for carrying out the strategic psychological operations of the Group. In order to accomplish this mission, the 15th PSYOP Detachment had under its control the Radio Branch, which produced programs for the Voice of the United Nations Command; the Propaganda Branch, which is the research, evaluation and analysis arm of the detachment; the Publications Branch, which supported the High Commissioner, Ryukyu Islands as its main function; the Electronics Branch, which maintained and serviced all the electronic equipment of the Group; the Graphics Branch, which provided drafting and artistic support for the Group; and the Printing Branch, which did a large portion of the printing for which the Group is responsible. During the Vietnam War the Printing Branch was operating 24 hours a day in support of leafleting and other operations in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and elsewhere. The 14th PSYOP Battalion was a deployable element and on Okinawa was responsible for training, discipline and housekeeping administration for personnel of the Group.
Under the command of the 14th PSYOP Battalion were the 16th PSYOP Company, which had a mobile radio and loudspeaker capability, and the 18th PSYOP Company. The battalion headquarters was organized as a command and control element, with the commanders staff consisting of an Executive Officer, an S-3, and an Assistant S-3. The S-3 schedules all training for Group personnel. Throughout the year it is the battalions responsibility to conduct all the necessary classroom, arms, physical and individual specialized training that it deems necessary to accomplish the assigned mission. The Groups maintenance section, attached to the battalion, because of its close proximity to the Group Headquarters, depends on the Group Staff Sections for services for which it is not staffed. The off-island detachments provided liaison with Group Headquarters and in-country commanders, and also provided PSYOP support and advice to in-country commanders.
The Machinato Service Area
The headquarters elements of all three major units of the 7th Psychological Operations Group were located in the Machinato Service Area near the North end of Perimeter Road. Ample space was provided in the Group compound for all activities except the Printing Branch, which was located about a mile south of the compound, the 16th PSYOP Company, which was located near the town of Deragawa, north of Koza city, and the 18th PSYOP Company, which was located in the Sukiran area. Due to the tremendous increase in printing activities, the building which houses the printing plant had become inadequate, and plans were formulated to construct a new plant.
The Cruz Compound
Throughout the Vietnam War, the 7th Psychological Operations Group provided augmentation forces for PSYOP units and related activities throughout the Pacific Command. One year alone, twenty-six personnel were sent to Vietnam, and 71 members of the Group served on temporary duty in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Laos, Korea, and Philippines, the United States, and small islands in the Ryukyuan chain. The Vietnam Detachment of the 7th PSYOP Group was headquartered in the 4th PSYOP Group's Cruz Compound. We know a lot about the detachment because I have their mission sheet. It says in part:
Coordinate PSYOP support with MACV and other U.S., Vietnamese and Third Country forces in Vietnam. Provide in-country planning and gather information and intelligence. All requests for out-of-country printing support will be made from units in Vietnam to the Vietnam Detachment. No direct liaison will be made to the 7th Group in Okinawa which is responsible for all out-of-country PSYOP printing for Vietnam. Gather and forward information and intelligence needed for PSYOP area estimates. Gather and forward feature material for 7th PSYOP Group visual media production and audio programming directed at targets in the Far East.
An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group specialist works on a horizontal process camera that feeds directly into a dark room at the left side of the device. The film is light sensitive so its kept in a separate room in dark or red lights. The camera takes pictures of large sheets of paper to make negatives. It was used to film the original sources (art and or print) needed to make the four plates for the 4-color printing process. Much like film in cameras is kept in the dark until it can be developed. Having the camera in two rooms allows you to get things ready in brighter lights and just like a camera this has a series of lenses and mirrors that direct the image through a small hole in the wall into a dark room. Film stays in the dark and all is good.
The 7th PSYOP Group, to obtain more information about the effectiveness of psychological operations against North Korean audiences, utilizes trained psychological operations intelligence interrogators who conduct detailed interrogations of defectors and captured or surrendered agents. These interviews are based upon psychological operations intelligence essential elements of information (EEI) and for this reason produce information more suitable for the needs of psychological operations than those based upon the usual combat or military intelligence EEI. The product of these interviews is usually published and given wide dissemination in PSYOP Intelligence Notes published by the 7th PSYOP Group.
Propaganda analysts at the 7th PSYOP Group review all available North Korean propaganda material, including magazines, newspapers, speeches of Kim ll-song, monitoring reports of North Korean broadcasts produced by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), translations of North Korean publications produced by the Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS), and other materials. These are not only subjected to the usual types of propaganda analysis, but are also examined for any explicit reactions to Free World psychological operations and for any counter-propaganda reactions to psychological operations themes.
The Friends of Freedom
This magazine was printed for the Korean people and many issues mention the Vietnam War. Notice the soldiers at the far right representing Koreans in Vietnam. This is the June 1972 issue to promote friendship among the South Koreans, Americans, South Vietnamese and other Free World nations. The monthly magazine was founded in June 1955. This entire issue is about self-reliance and how with the help of the USA and the Korean military the country has become more safe and prosperous.
In October 1968 the 7TH PSYOP GROUP sponsored a three man radio/magazine team who completed an 18 day visit to the Republic of Vietnam. They visited all major Republic of Korea Headquarters and facilities. Their purpose was to gather information, radio material, photographs on ROK forces, and other areas of Korean involvement in Vietnam. The team accomplished its mission with the assistance of the ROK Forces Vietnam and the 7th PSYOP Group Vietnam Detachment. They visited 7 different areas, conducted 40 interviews (including 9 Commanding Generals), and took 400 photos. The material collected will serve as valuable PSYOP input to the 7th Group's activities throughout Southeast Asia.
An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group soldier runs the Harris printing Press
The 7th PSYOP Group, based on Okinawa with detachments in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam provides approximately 65% of the leaflets used in the Vietnam PSYOP effort.
The accelerated effort, over the entire spectrum of psychological operations, have molded the Group into a well-trained professional unit designed to conduct psychological operations throughout the Pacific Command. The professionalism and accomplishments of the Group have stimulated letters of appreciation from General Westmoreland and General Bonesteel; also, a Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded the Group for Exceptionally outstanding support to military combat operations in the Republic of Vietnam.
The reader may wonder where I got all the information in this article. In general I do not footnote because I want the story to be easily readable to civilians without having to look up and down on a page to see where a quote came from. This drives PhD candidates crazy, but I write for the parents of soldiers and young soldiers themselves so I do not put a lot of technical details in my articles. For those that simply must know, some of the facts from this article come from my own articles on the Vietnam War PSYOP Order of Battle and Operation Jilli. I also have a very well stocked library with a collection of 7th Psychological Operations Group Unit Histories, 7th Group PSYOP Intelligence Notes, Monthly Operations Reports, and other publications too numerous to list here. Having said that, lets look at some of the highlights of the Groups activities during the Vietnam War.
The reader will notice a lot of duplication in this article. That is because I have a tremendous amount of files and some mention, manpower, others budget, others magazines, leaflets, posters etc. I find that depending on who wrote the particular document: Higher authority, the 7th PSYOP Group, the various detachments or even the Senate when it looked into U.S. propaganda, the numbers and facts change just a bit. So everything you read is genuine and published by a reputable source, but many of the facts will change slightly because the people writing the document did have all the numbers, or may have had a vested interest in making the group look better or worse. So, I conclude with an in-depth look at the unit through the eyes of the U.S. Senate investigating American PSYOP in the Far East in 1970. The funny part about this entire report is that apparently nobody knew the 7th PSYOP Group existed until an investigator in Japan was given an Army phone book and saw the name.
The Birth of the 7th PSYOP Group.
Following the merger of the Far East and Pacific Commands in 1957, United States Army Pacific (USARPAC) decided that in order to maintain theater control of PSYOP planning and operations, its PSYOP forces should be centralized under a central command and be located as far forward as possible near areas of operation in the western Pacific. As a consequence, the United States Army Broadcasting and visual Activity, Far East (USABVAFE), in Tokyo which was engaged in strategic PSYOP in Korea and consolidation PSYOP in Japan and the contingency PSYOP organization in Hawaii, the 14th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion, were brought together on Okinawa in February 1958. It was designated the United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Pacific (USABVAPAC), and assumed command of the 14th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion. On the same date the Japanese Detachment was established and the Radio Detachment was designated the Korea Detachment.
In face of the threat posed by Communist China, the Taiwan Detachment was organized on 15 September 1963. The mission of the Detachment was to provide PSYOP assistance to the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) and the Taiwan Defense Command. A Detachment was formed in Saigon, Vietnam, in May 1964. Its purpose was to maintain liaison with Allied PSYOP forces and to coordinate out-of-country printing requirements.
On 20 October 1965, the United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Pacific, was renamed the 7th PSYOP Group and placed under the command of U.S. Army Ryukyu Islands. The 3rd PSYOP Detachment was established at Bangkok, Thailand, in November 1968 to coordinate US PSYOP support for that country. The Detachment coordinated all PSYOP printing requirements with the Military Assistance Advisory Group Thailand.
On 1 July 1968 the 7th PSYOP Group was paced under the control of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Army Ryukyu Islands for administrative and logistical support. By 1970:
The Group consisted of 686 personnel, of which 279 were civilian personnel, both American and native to the various countries the Group worked in. The Fiscal Year 1969 budget was 8.953 million dollars and Fiscal Year 1970 was 8.300 million. The 7th printed 11.8 billion leaflets in FY 1969 and in FY 1969 printed 16.2 billion. The Group consisted of five units on Okinawa and five units outside of Okinawa. They are:
15th PSYOP Detachment Okinawa.
Headquarters, 14th PSYOP Battalion (Command and Control) Okinawa.
16th PSYOP Company (Radio) Okinawa.
18th PSYOP Company (Advisory and Support) Okinawa.
U.S. Army Psychological Printing Company Okinawa.
Japan Detachment North Camp Drake Japan.
24th PSYOP Detachment Seoul, Korea.
Taiwan Detachment Taipei, Taiwan.
244th PSYOP Detachment Saigon, Vietnam.
3rd PSYOP Detachment Bangkok, Thailand.
Now, back to the main story.
7th PSYOP Group Unit History -1965
The unit printed 90,000 copies of the magazine Shurei No Hikari for Okinawan employees of the U.S. Forces.
The Japan Detachment printed 60,000 copies a month of the magazine Koryu for Japanese employees of the U.S. Forces.
The Japan Detachment was located at North Camp Drake, Japan. It produced a 32-page Japanese-language magazine called Koryu (Interchange) in 54,000 copies and an annual calendar. It performed the final graphic and editorial work for the material sent to them from the U.S. Armys Adjutant Generals Printing and Publications Center, Japan. It coordinated the printing of approximately 400 million Leaflets and 750,000 magazines annually and collected intelligence through liaison with other U.S. agencies in Japan.
The Group took part in several training exercises such as Black Night in Hawaii, Aumee IV in Taiwan, Joint U.S.-Korean exercises in Korea, and Strong Shield in Korea.
The 7th PSYOP Group Printing Plant, shown in the foreground are sheet fed offset presses
During 1965 The Okinawa printing plant produced 125 million leaflets for MACV and the Vietnam Detachment produced another 62 million on its web-fed press in Saigon. The Detachment maintained liaison with the Joint United States Public Affairs Office and the Military Assistance Command Political Warfare Directorate. In September two members journeyed to Vietnam to plan and conduct the first high altitude leaflet and toy bundle dissemination over North Vietnam. They returned again in December to assist in a Christmas toy drop over North Vietnam.
SP4 William Boyle was a member of the 7th PSYOP Group in Okinawa. He said:
Our unit had a detachment in South Korea, another in Japan, and had sent some members temporary duty (TDY) to Viet Nam. In May 1965, a larger TDY detachment (about 20 of us) was sent to Bien Hoa attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade. We were quartered at an old French villa near the river that was already used by the Special Forces. We set up shop in Bien Hoa and used our portable (tractor-trailer carried) presses to print leaflets which we dropped from specially outfitted C-47's,which were also used as loudspeaker platforms for night missions over Viet Cong territory).
In June 1965, an American Special Forces A camp was overrun. We went to help reestablish the nearby village, which had been largely destroyed in the battle. We operated on the principle that civic action was an integral part of the effort to win the hearts and minds of the people, and visited many hamlets, villages, and towns to evaluate the needs - whether emergency food supplies or construction materials or improvements in public services (schools and clinics).
During the time I was in Nam our detachment was assigned to the 173rd Airborne, the Military Assistant Command Vietnam and the United States Army Vietnam. I spent many hours in choppers and little fixed wing bush planes, along with many hours in C47's on both day and night missions. My tour ended in May, 1966, and until then the unit had suffered no direct enemy attacks.
Trucks in the 7th PSYOP Group were equipped with conex shelters that housed either printing or graphic equipment. In Vietnam such trucks might have two web printing presses with ramps for the back and side. The roll paper loaded in the back and the cut sheets would come out the side door and laid on side ramp to be cut down later. The cut load was a load of a few thousand sheets 8 1/2 × 11 inches or 8 1/2 × 14 inches according to roll width.
An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group soldier runs a print job on a Multigraph Multilith Duplicator Press
Model 1250 inside a 7th PSYOP Group Mobile Print Trailer/Conex. A wide-format printer is on the right.
Major Michael G. Barger in his U.S. Army Command and General Staff College 2007 Masters thesis Psychological Operations Supporting the Counterinsurgency: 4th PSYOP Group in Vietnam adds:
The initial forces for deployment to Vietnam were drawn either from the ranks of the 7th PSYOP Group, based in Okinawa, or from stateside units, for the most part those stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. According to official order of battle records, elements of the 7th PSYOP Group totaling 143 soldiers conducted psychological operations in Vietnam between 20 October 1965 and 1 December 1967, and additional elements continued to perform missions in Vietnam throughout the war.
An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group soldier sits at a Light box inside a Mobile Graphics Trailer. He is holding a paint brush used for opaquing pinholes in negatives prior to plate making. This is the prepress/plate making section of the process. Equipment in the mobile graphics trailer include a vertical process camera directly behind the soldier used to convert the camera ready copy into a film negative for later plate making. There is also a Varitype typewriter in the left foreground. The device above the sink appears to be a waxing machine used to put a light coat of wax on the back of lines of type to adhere it to the final artwork before it is photographed to become a negative.
Tom Majors (center) adds ink to one of three Presses of the
15th PSYOP Detachment Print Shop on Okinawa.
Specialist Fourth Class Tom Majors of the 15th PSYOP Detachment, 7th PSYOP Group, was assigned to the Machinato Printing Plant on Okinawa from 1966 to 1968. He told SGM Herb Friedman:
When I was there we only had three web presses. They must have brought in more presses after I left in 1968. Looks like some walls may have been taken out to fit all the equipment in there. I loved my tour with PSYOP. It was my first duty assignment with the Army. I was a typist doing final drafts of propaganda scripts from previous drafts that had been corrected with pencil. After a while I wanted a bit more action so I asked to change jobs. I was then assigned to the Art Department and worked alongside Mike Peters. He became a well-known cartoonist after leaving the military. I then became a press-helper in the Printing Plant. I really enjoyed that job because I got to move around and get some exercise.
Retired Colonel Charles V. Nahlik talks about flying leaflet missions over Vietnam for the 7th PSYOP Group as a Captain from 1966 to 1968:
In support of Vietnam, the 7th PSYOP Group was given a schedule by Military Assistance Command Vietnam and flew missions once a month via the C-130s. We flew into Ubon AFB Thailand the day before and flew the mission the following evening. We sat with the fighter jocks for the evening briefing, jumped into our survival vest, checked maps and weapons and took off.Depending on the wind direction, we either flew up the Ho Chi Minh trail and then along and below the demilitarized zone or we flew up the east coast of North Vietnam. When we dropped leaflets along the Ho Chi Minh Trail we took lots of fire from the Mu Giah pass. Our electronic jammers were working to their fullest but we still saw the rockets coming up at us. That is something that will start your heart pumping! However, none of that was as frightening as dropping leaflets from one of those tiny O2B aircraft out of Can Tho with a pilot who thought he should have been flying in an attack aircraft. I was dropping leaflets while he was diving at the enemy, dropping grenades and shooting a rifle out the window at Viet Cong in the bush below us. Pure Crazy is the way I would describe that experience.
The 1,000,000,000 Leaflet is Dropped
In March 1967, the 7th PSYOP Group Commander, Colonel Lundelius personally assisted in dropping the one billionth leaflet printed by his unit for high altitude dissemination.
The 7th Group printing plant broke a record in December when they printed 173,000,000 leaflets. To break the record the plant worked around the clock and ignored the holidays.
The Vietnam detachment took part in the production of a bar of soap with eight different PSYOP messages that became visible as the soap was used. 25,000 bars of soap were ready for the annual Tet campaign of February 1969. One former officer from the group told me that the soap propaganda caused some hand chaffing in the unit when everyone in his office was ordered to wash their hands over and over again to test out the use of soap bars and see how long it took the new messages to appear.
The unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for their support of military operations. Besides the units mentioned earlier, the 7th PSYOP Group added a Radio Detachment (Provisional) Vietnam. The unit now had 41 linguists who were proficient in 11 different languages.
During 1967 the Group printed 7 billion propaganda leaflets for Vietnam and Korea. Their printing capability was enhanced by using the U. S. Army Printing and Production Center in Japan, and the Regional Service Center in Manila.
7th PSYOP Group Unit History -1968
In January, members of the 14th PSYOP Battalion took part in Exercise Former Champ on Taiwan. In February, two officers and five enlisted men from the Battalion deployed to the Republic of Korea to provide PSYOP assistance after the North Koreans tried to assassinate the President of South Korea and seized the U.S ship Pueblo. On 24 March 1st Lieutenant Michael A. Merkel, a member of the 16th PSYOP Company deployed to Vietnam was killed during a Viet Cong attack on a radio facility in Pleiku.
The 7th PSYOP Group newsletter was called VERITAS, (Truth). Curiously, this same name was used on the newsletters of several other PSYOP units, including the 4th Group.
The publications Branch printed the Japanese-language magazine Shurei No Hikari. The Target Analysis Section printed the PSYOP Intelligence Notes that covered North Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, and PSYOP doctrine. North Korean defectors were regularly interviewed and over 95 reports were prepared.
The Tu Do Newspaper
The 7th Group Detachment produced about 800,000,000 leaflets a month for the U.S. forces in Vietnam in 1968. They worked with JUSPAO to print 2,000,000 copies bi-weekly of the PSYOP newspaper Tu Do (Free South). The detachment also printed six different calendars with a run of 1,720,000 copies and six PSYOP booklets with a run of 330,000 copies.
Two members from the Special Projects Branch taught High, Medium and Low Altitude leaflet dissemination in South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. In September 1968, the 7th PSYOP Group reached two billions leaflets dropped over Vietnam.
Thong Cam (Mutual Understanding) Magazine. The 4th PSYOP Group produced a monthly 16-page magazine targeted to Vietnamese employees of US military forces and civilian firms. This multi-color magazine was printed by the 7th PSYOP Group in 80,000 copies. Initially, distribution of the magazine was limited to III Corps Tactical Zone. However, plans were made to expand the magazine to 32 pages in 135,000 copies per month beginning in July 1969 to allow country-wide circulation. The magazine was aimed at promoting good will and understanding between the US and Vietnamese people.
On 4 December 1968 the Korea Detachment was renamed the 24th PSYOP Detachment. At the same time the Taiwan Detachment brought 25 Republic of China PSYOP personnel to Okinawa for special training on psychological operations. The Vietnam Detachment assisted in the development of a new magazine Thong Cam (Mutual Understanding) for Vietnamese employees of the U.S. forces in Japan. The Thailand Detachment was renamed the 3rd PSYOP Detachment.
Colonel Harold F. Bentz, Jr.
Commanding Officer, 7th PSYOP Group
Colonel Maurice W. Lundelius, Commanding Officer of the 7th PSYOP Group, died on 4 October 1968 of a heart attack after commanding the Group since 7 February 1966.
Colonel Harold F. Bentz, Jr., commanded the 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa from 30 November 1968 to 16 May 1972. After four years he was superbly qualified to discuss some of the problems he faced during his multiple tours. Some of the points he makes in his Senior Officer Debriefing report are:
One major problem regarding PSYOP is the lack of understanding and appreciation for PSYOP by some senior military commanders. Although the situation has improved somewhat during the past decade, there are still some senior commanders who do not fully recognize the importance of the PSYOP weapons system as it is employed in a politico-military conflict situation.
One perennial problem that confronted the 7th PSYOP Group was the fact that not all officers assigned to the group had formal PSYOP training or experience.
It appears that the U. S. Army is deficient in the number of qualified printers Such personnel shortages seriously reduces the requisite flexibility necessary to support strategic operations
The Group was responsible for printing approximately 80% of all the PSYOP printing requirements for Vietnam The Group had to utilize three printing plants, The United States Information Agency Regional Service Center in Manila, the U.S. Army Printing and Publications Center in Japan, and the 7th PSYOP Group printing plant.
A new PSYOP theme was introduced in 1968; it was SALKIL, (the way to live). This was used in the North Korea defector program and emphasized the fact that people in South Korea lived much better than those in North Korea.
Boxed and palleted leaflets ready for transport to Nha Trang
Production of PSYOP materials in support of the 1969 TET Chieu Hoi Campaign, in 6 x 3 black and white leaflet equivalents produced by the 7th PSYOP Group, included 260 million leaflets for December 1968 and 500 million each for the months of January and February 1969. These figures do not include 100 million Safe Conduct Passes which will be produced during that same three month period.
On 3 February the Vietnam Detachment of the 7th PSYOP Group was officially designated as the 244th PSYOP Detachment with the responsibility of providing liaison and offshore printing support for South Vietnam.
The 7th PSYOP Group Joint Propaganda Development Center in Da Nang was staffed to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week under Vietnamization and there is joint U.S. and Vietnamese participation at all times. During the month of June a total of 37 leaflets, 14 handbills, 19 posters, 8 newspapers, a 9 tape texts were developed and produced. Quick reaction leaflets could be produced in as little as 4 hours. Tapes can be produced and made ready for aerial delivery in 1 to 2 hours.
Warehouse full of leaflets
On 25 June 1970, the 7th PSYOP Group printed its 8 billionth leaflet. Colonel Bentz, Group Commander, was present as the Printing Company presented him with a symbolic leaflet.
An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group soldier works on a 3-color web printing press with a
feeder/registration board. Behind the printing press is what looks like a guillotine paper cutter.
Most people know that a PSYOP unit prints leaflets, but that is just the start of the items that are requested and produced. For instance, other items that are regularly produced are calendars, magazines, booklets, almanacs, book markers, posters, folders and bulletins to name just a few. Some examples; the Japanese Detachment in 1968 printed 1,640,000 calendars for Vietnam, 1,080,000 magazines for Okinawa, 640,000 posters for Korea, and 160,000 bulletins for Japan. Of course, the major product is always leaflets during wartime and the Japan Detachment printed 2,575,593,530 leaflets for dissemination over Vietnam. Another 18,300,980 were dropped on North Korea and that will be addressed in the Jilli section below.
An Unidentified 7th PSYOP Group printer works his three-color web press with a feed roller at the right, three offsets at the center (each can add a different color if required) and the delivery unit at the far left. The sheet is cut from a roll after the 3 units have printed. The 3 color web press could print 1 color on back and 2 colors on front or 3 colors on one side. Most of the leaflets printed were two sided.
An Unidentified 7th PSYOP Group printer is developing or etching a photo-sensitive printing plate that is then put on the printing press to mass produce an image. The plate could also be gummed to prevent oxidation.
Friendly Nations Served by the Detachments
I mentioned all the Detachments of the 7th PSYOP Group above. Printed products for peaceful allied nations are much different than those for the countries at war or considered adversaries. The allied countries got PSYOP products that were friendly, useful and pro-government, what used to be called "consolidation," but really is just nation building. The material almost always says good things about the friendly government and asks the people for support and loyalty. I depict some of these interesting products:
A 1965 Calendar Printed by the 7th PSYOP Group for Okinawa
We show the image for January. Naha City Hall, the largest building in the Ryukyu Islands, was opened to the public in September 1965. It contains more than 10,000 square meters of office space. Curiously, when I was in Naha in 1954 the houses were mostly all wooden shanties and the streets were mostly unpaved. There had been little repair from the devastation of WWII. The reason that PSYOP people so love calendars is that once it is on the wall of a house the residents might look at it every single day for a year, thus reading the pro-Government message every single time and helping it to take hold.
A 1972 Calendar for Okinawa
The 7th PSYOP Group printed this calendar for Okinawa at the request of the High Commissioner of the Ryukyu Islands. It depicts the flag of the U.S.A. and Japan on the cover. Inside, there is a dedication by Lieutenant general James B. Lampert who was the High Commissioner at the time. It says in part:
This 1972 calendar is dedicated to the inhabitants of Okinawa and to the spirit of friendliness that over the centuries has made Okinawa The Land of Courtesy.
An Alphabet Poster
A Modern List of the Japanese Hiragana "Syllabary" for Young People
Among the 7th Group material I found two posters to teach children the alphabet. One is in Lao and depicted in another article. The one above is a childs chart for learning the Japanese Hiragana alphabet. It uses pictures of various items the children would recognize to help them remember the symbols. Hiragana is the main alphabet or character set for Japanese. Japanese also consists of two other character sets - Kanji (Chinese characters), and another alphabet/character set, Katakana, which is mainly used for foreign words. It is a phonetic lettering system. The word hiragana literally means "ordinary" or "simple." Author and veteran Dan King pointed out that the symbol He pictured a helicopter, the image of a jet fighter under Hikoki and that was further proof that this poster was post-WWII.
Headquarters, 7th PSYOP Group Okinawa. It coordinated the printing of PSYOP materials in support of Pacific Commands (one billion leaflets, 750,000 magazines, and other miscellaneous printed material produced in either the: U.S. Army Printing and Publications Center, Japan; the 7th PSYOP Group printing Company; or the USIA Regional Service Center, Manila. It programmed and operated the Voice of the United Nations Command broadcasting 19 hours a day over five radio transmitters located in Korea. It works closely with the United States Information Service on a daily basis.
15th PSYOP Detachment Printing Branch
15th PSYOP Detachment Okinawa. It conducted PSYOP research on 16 Pacific Command countries. It wrote and distributed Shurei No Hikari (Light of the Land of Courtesy), a 32-page Japanese-language magazine printed in 97,000 copies and annually produced a calendar and Farmers and Fishermans Almanac for Okinawa.
Headquarters, 14th PSYOP Battalion (Command and Control) Okinawa. It exercised control over the 16th, 18th, and Psychological Printing Companies. It supported the Pacific Command with loudspeakers, audio-visual units, a light mobile printing unit, and a fixed printing facility producing approximately 220 million leaflets a month and packed about 300 leaflet bombs a month.
Because Okinawa was at peace there are no military images. Instead, they show children taking part in music, dancing and even Japanese opera. The images celebrate Okinawan culture.
The Communist Propaganda Technique of Group Singing
Here is a very strange Intelligence report printed by the 7th PSYOP Group. Since they were on Okinawa they watched the political situation there very carefully and discovered that the Communists on the island were using the technique of group singing to gain recruits. The gist of the 52-page report says:
The Communist led choral singing movement UTAGOE UNDO is a well-organized and expanding movement as indicated by one of its current slogans, Choral singing for 10 million. The movement began during the American occupation of Japan. It fails to mention that the original name of the Central Chorus was the Communist Youth Movement Central Chorus group and it remains under the control of the Japanese Communist Party. The success of the Communist movement led the Japanese Socialist Party to form its own choral movement. Some of the songs that might give a clue as to the organizations policies are: Dont send them to Vietnam; Nixon and Sato, Nixon and Sato talk and then flee in terror from the sound of the people; March for a free Vietnam; Ban the bomb; and Lets liberate South Vietnam.
I should point out that these anti-American and anti-Vietnam War songs are hidden within 27 popular and folk songs so they were able to pretend it was just simple entertainment. Once inside the singing groups the members could be gradually indoctrinated to the Communist philosophy.
Dont Send Them to Vietnam
Can you hear the voices
Of fallen and injured soldiers
Calling from hospitals and inside bases?
Lets stop sending soldiers to unknown battlefields
When American youths
Burn their draft cards,
When Vietnamese mothers and children defend their homeland,
Lets stop manufacturing the weapons and military transport headed for Vietnam
The King of Thailand
The portrait of the King of Thailand was printed by the 7th PSYOP Group on 18 November 1969, coded 97-2-4. The purpose was to encourage respect for the Royal family. The text is:
His Majesty the King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, is the most beloved and respected of the Thai People.
This poster was printed by the Royal Thai Government.
A 1971 Calendar showing the King and his Queen Sirikit
3rd PSYOP Detachment Bangkok, Thailand. The Group only prints materials prepared by the Royal Thai governments Communist Suppression Operations Directorate. It liaisons with the Military Assistance Command Thailand in regard to PSYOP products printed for Thailand. It keeps the supported Thailand units informed of the printing and delivery schedule of the 7th PSYOP Group to Thailand. The printed materials: posters; handouts; calendars and maps are all attributed to Thailand. Once the products are printed and forwarded to Thailand they are distributed by the Thais. One Thai anti-Communist comic book printed by the 7th PSYOP Group was titled: THE VICTORIOUS BLACK PANTHERS which told the story of Thai troops fighting the Viet Cong in Vietnam so that Communism does not spread to other parts of Southeast Asia. The Group designed 10,000 bars of soap for Thailand produced by the Taiwan Detachment in Taiwan with messages inside. The Detachment is sometimes as few as two men with the main responsibility of coordinating printing requirements.
Each page of the 1971 calendar bears a beautiful full-color patriotic image. The same images were printed as posters. I depict several below. The month of March image above depicts Communist troops drafting a farm boy to become a guerrilla. He fights as his father who appears to be tied to a tree looks on hopelessly. The text is:
Dave Underhill told me that they had to do a lot of work to get the maximum distribution of this National Calendar. He asked the Thai radio stations to broadcast their availability. He also wanted to forward calendars to the military PSYOP radio stations. There was no point in spending thousands of dollars for these calendars if they did not get into peoples homes.
A booklet Depicting Thai Armed Forces in Action
THE THAI MILITARY IN VIETNAM
The booklet seems to be targeting the proud anti-communism of Thailands history, potentially to recruit men to volunteer for service in South Vietnam.
The Newspaper THAILAND
This is a 7th Group propaganda newspaper for Thailand. My files only identify it as a newspaper so we dont know how many issues were printed and how often they were distributed. The main stories are:
The Rapid Rural Development Considers building roads to connect villages and open access to remote areas.
The Ministry of Defense is providing mobile health clinics to assist people in the more rural areas that can't come to the city.
The Office of Rural Development is building roads to and from Nakhon Ratchasima, Phitsanulok and the Lampang provinces.
FREEDOM FOR HUMANITY
There was a Communist movement in Thailand though you seldom hear about it today. The Dominoes of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos fell, but Thailand remained free. The Communist insurgency in Thailand was a guerrilla war lasting from 1965 until 1983, fought mainly by the Communist Party of Thailand and the government of Thailand. The war declined in 1980 following the declaration of an amnesty and by 1983 the Communist Party of Thailand had abandoned the insurgency. The 7th PSYOP Group had positioned the 3rd PSYOP Detachment in Thailand to coordinate U.S. PSYOP support for that country. The Detachment coordinated all PSYOP printing requirements with the Military Assistance Advisory Group Thailand and helped the Thais in the propaganda war by printing posters such as the one above. The poster above shows a Thai citizen who is tied up and has been beaten by the Communists. The text is:
FREEDOM FOR HUMANITY
HELP EACH OTHER RESIST COMMUNISM
COMMUNISM BRINGS DESTRUCTION WHEREVER IT GOES
This poster has a rather simple design. A character that looks a bit like a silhouette of Mao Tse-tung holds a torch and the entire bottom of the poster is afire. Obviously, whatever the Communists touch they destroy. The text is:
COMMUNISM BRINGS DESTRUCTION WHEREVER IT GOES
Republic of Korea
A 1971 Calendar for the Republic of Korea
Notice the United Nations Symbol at the left
Happy New Year
A gift from the Friends of Freedom
The calendar contains both patriotic military pictures and artistic photographs of South Korean tourist attractions. I love the picture of the two affectionate hogs on the cover of the calendar. That immediately screamed Year of the Pig to me. Asians believe that the pig is peace-loving, trustful, honest, and sincere. People born in the year of the Boar will be lucky and successful in handling money, business and academic matters. Notice that the calendar is from the Friends of Freedom. That is the same as the Korean-language magazine depicted earlier in this article.
I spoke to Dave Underhill who was in charge of this operation and he remembered that the calendars were not all that successful at first. He said:
I became interested in calendars soon after my appointment to PSYOP. The unit printed a monthly Korean wall calendar for the United Nations Command to distribute within Korea. The illustrations were horrible. Nobody wanted to have one hanging on the wall, and nobody in the unit ever bothered to see what the people thought of them. I went to Korea and found out that our own people were cutting off the picture and placing just the calendar portion under the glass on their desks. On my way back to Okinawa, I stopped by our Japan Detachment who produced the calendars and told them I would like to see a yearly calendar that would become a collectors item and never be thrown away. The printers were very professional. Once I told them what I wanted they produced very beautiful and high-quality patriotic images that the people loved. It may have been the best work they ever did. We eventually produced calendars for Korea, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand and Laos.
On 3 June 1971, the 7th PSYOP Group printed a set of six 2.5 x 3.5-inch pocket calendars for Korea. The message on all was the same:
Good Health and Happiness to You
The cards, numbered 1 through 6, were printed in four colors on front and in three colors on the back. The pictures on the six cards are as follows: a pretty girl by a willow tree, a young girl beside a stone statue, a woman beating drums, farmers eating in the rice fields, a pitcher, and a girl’s dancing group. Each card has a 1971 calendar on the back.
24th PSYOP Detachment Seoul, Korea. It supported the United Nations Command with PSYOP against North Korea and operated the Voice of the United Nations. It produced a Korean-language magazine ChayuUi pot (Friends of Freedom) in 500,000 copies, and annually produced a calendar and Farmers Almanac for Korea. It designed leaflets and supports balloon and float operations against North Korea. It gathers information and intelligence from the interrogation of North Korean defectors.
A Patriotic Comic Book
This 68-page comic book was written to tell the Korean people the story of their troops fighting in Vietnam. It shows them helping the people, feeding them and doing public services like digging wells etc. The title of the book is:
Korean Army Headquarters in Vietnam.
Department of Psychological Warfare for Civilians
The first page of the comic book shows the Koreans being helped by the Vietnamese to capture an armed Viet Cong fighter and the text:
When cooperation is achieved with the residents, our soldiers become fond of the people and their comrades, observe army discipline and become friendly with the local citizens. Our soldiers fight the communists most effectively.
1972 Calendar for Laos
There was no 7th PSYOP Group Detachment in Laos but leaflets were printed for that country. The Group printed 40 to 45 million leaflets a month for Laos; one high or medium altitude mission a week with 10 about million leaflets dropped each mission.
Lao PSYWAR designed this calendar, using their photographers and writers and then the material was sent offsite to be printed. The code is M72-12 (192).The inside front cover depicts all the native people of Laos. Each month the photographs are patriotic and nationalistic. For instance, January shows a Laotian soldier loading an aircraft with the text:
The Army is always ready to provide aid to people in remote areas with transports from the Lao Air Force.
A Pathet Lao Defector is honored
March depicts a large picture of the King of Laos reviewing his troops. The picture on the actual calendar page shows a female Social Worker honoring a former Pathet Lao who returned to the Government side. She places a garland around the former guerrillas neck.
1973 Calendar for Laos
This calendar was a bit complex. It opens with the same display of decorations that the 1972 calendar closed with. After that, each month features a pretty girl, the standard calendar, a Laotian calendar, the insignia of 3 Lao Army units, a generic picture with no caption, a Laotian saying, important dates in history for the month which focus primarily on events in Laos, and comments about festivals and holidays geared to the Laotian calendar. There is a centerfold showing the display of captured enemy weapons which was located in front of the psychological warfare division headquarters in Vientiane along with the blurb. At the end there is a map surrounded by the pretty girls. The back cover is a 1974 calendar.
This was the last calendar produced off-site by the 7th PSYOP Group. The calendar for 1974 featured the king and had tear off calendar sheets. While the psychological warfare division had developed the capacity to design these calendars, it had neither the budget to have them printed elsewhere nor the capacity to print them in-house. Other priorities became more pressing.
I wondered why the Laos fighters would have to pay for the calendars when they were surely printed gratis earlier. It seems to be the same as the idea of Vietnamization. Karl Fritch told me:
There was a ceasefire in Laos starting in spring 1973 and the United States Government pulled back from supporting the Lao Army to the extent it had previously. The emphasis was on getting the Royal Laotian Government and the Lao Army to function independently. The concept was to supply and equip them to do the job themselves. Hence, work done out of country for the Lao needed to give way to work done in country by the Lao.
Miss February from Lao 1973 Calendar
Follow the example of the old and the flesh-eating demons will not eat you
This is a traditional saying reflecting beliefs in a spirit world which could be pretty malevolent at times. A free English translation it would be The old ways are safest
Some of the other comments on the calendar pages are:
An angry heart is like an evil spirit the good heart like the Buddha
Death is better than breaking faith[death before dishonor]
Building with your hands is hard; with your mouth, easy
A barking dog doesnt bite
There are also various patriotic comments on the monthly pages. Some examples are:
01 to 10 May 1971: 18 soldiers from the 22nd Pathet Lao Company along with their company commander Captain Vanna and another 45 Lao Patriotic front soldiers along with officers from the 11th Battalion came together with a battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Sengchan and another 5 soldiers to rally to the government side.
13 October 1967: The government of Laos presented 19 North Vietnamese prisoners of war to the press to show the truth concerning North Vietnamese soldiers committing aggression on Lao land.
The 7th PSYOP Group published a regular monthly magazine called the Laos Army Magazine. As might be expected, it was very patriotic and supported the Lao Government and military. All of the covers are military in nature.
Pro-Government Army Poster 12-2-19
This 1971 large 21 x 29-inch full-color poster depicts a Laotian soldier in the forefront holding his flag while behind him massed Lao civilians wave their flags. It is a very patriotic scene. The text is:
21st Celebration of the Formation of the Army 23 March 1971
The nation exists because soldiers and people are together resolved to fight the enemy.
Army Day expresses the commitment of our brave troops to defend our sovereignty.
The nation endures as the sky and the land because the soldiers and people are strongly entwined together in the struggle.
Nation, honor, discipline, courage, unity, fortitude and sacrifice
Laos Air Force Poster
The poster features the Royal Laotian Air Force. Behind the brave pilot is a North American T-28 Trojan fighter, a Sikorsky H-34 helicopter and a Douglas C-47 Skytrain cargo aircraft. The text is:
All the peoples of Laos give their constant support to all units of the Nations brave fighters
The Royal Lao Air Force (RLAF), was the air force component of the Royal Lao Armed Forces (FAR), the official military of the Royal Lao Government and the Kingdom of Laos during the Laotian Civil War between 1960 and 1975. During the 1960s, the RLAF came to carry the weight of the battle against Vietnamese communist invaders and local Pathet Lao insurgents. Despite its continual drain of heavy pilot and aircraft losses, the RLAF grew to the point where it flew 30,000 combat sorties annually against its enemies in the years 1970 through 1972, as well performing essential logistics duties.
The National Army - Unity Brings Happiness Booklet
An example of propaganda to help the people instead of just attacking the Pathet Lao is the booklet above. The Lao PSYOP unit produced this book to teach the people to read. Texts like the above were distributed to both adults and children. The Army trained literacy teachers.
Our Land Booklet
This is the final Version of the national unity illustrated program titled Our Land. There were also films that were made to encourage the people to come together and take pride in their heritage. It was designed in conjunction with Lao PSYWAR, the United States Information Service Special Projects, the U.S. Army and the U.S. 7th PSYOP Group headquartered on Okinawa. There are inspirational comments that tell of all the times Laos was invaded by China and Vietnam and how each time the Laotians were victorious.
Many of the leaflets for Vietnam depicted scenes of violence, bombing and dead bodies on the ground. The Laos leaflets were much milder, showing leaders, doctors and nurses, and soldiers getting haircuts or eating. There was a different culture and so the leaflets were different. The Laos leaflets all start with a decimal point in front of the number. We always thought that was a code for Laos and the leaflets were printed by them. Instead, we now know that many were printed by the 7th PSYOP Group. There is an entire series of large leaflets that depict and support Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma. Some of those in my collection are .13, .15, .16, and .17. Since the images are all identical, I will just translate leaflet .13:
Prince Souvanna Phouma Prime Minister in the government of his Majesty the King
The Kingdom of Laos received its independence over 20 years ago. For the last 20 plus years our nation has been a democratically governed by a King, Privy Council, National Assembly and Constitution. Many nations of this world have recognized our independence and sovereignty as assured by the 1962 Geneva Accords. There is no nation in the world that can take away our rights.
Full-color leaflet .324 depicts a Lao mother nursing her baby. The text can be translated several ways but probably is best read as:
When will you return?
The back is all text. It says:
It has been a many years since you last saw your family; your mother, father, wife, children, and grandchildren, which you abandoned,
Brothers and sisters, for what reason do you abandon your loved ones and live in the jungles alone? You have worthlessly wasted so much time.
The Royal Lao Government has a program for you to rejoin the family that you left behind so many years ago. Please come back as soon as you read this leaflet.
The 7th PSYOP Group wrote a PSYOP Intelligence Special Report in February 1972. It says in part:
Both the Royal Laotian Government and the Pathet Lao had a variety of PSYOP programs designed to reach various target groups within Lao society. Government themes are addressed to the whole country as well as special audiences: Lao-Thai mercenaries, commercial circles, military forces, the Pathet Lao, farmers, other ethnic groups, monks and the youth. The Government objectives are to reduce the combat efficiency of the enemy, to stress the goodwill of the U.S., to convince enemy troops to defect, and to carry out plans for economic development while educating the people.
To carry out these goals the Government uses posters, leaflets, motion pictures, still pictures, cartoons, travelling theatre groups, PSYOP teams, loudspeaker programs, radio broadcasts and printed media. The Government has five radio stations which transmit to an estimated 70,000 radio receivers in the country. The Government publishes Khao Phap Pacham Sapda, a weekly news and photo sheet with a circulation of 20,000.The value of leaflets were shown when large numbers of the enemy defected and stated that leaflets and loudspeaker programs were influential in their decision to desert.
An Uncut Sheet of Propaganda leaflets for Laos
One of the earliest series of leaflets that were printed by the U. S. Army 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa for The Laotian Army is the Work together, Build together series. The 7th PSYOP Group had a liaison officer working with the Royal Laotian Army Psywar. This is a group of leaflets that show the Lao people in different professions. The images are drawings like cartoons, the front with some red color added and the back always black and white, but patriotic and showing the workers and students in their best light. The front and back of each leaflet has the same title at top, but the descriptive text at the bottom is different: The nurse cares for the ill; The veterinarian looks after the health of animals; The teacher transmits knowledge, etc.
Notice that the top two leaflets are in Vietnamese. Since the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong often hid in Laos it was considered efficient to address them too.
I thought I would start by talking about leaflets. I spent years tracking down various codes used by different organizations during the Vietnam war. I finally understood the system and thought I was pretty smart. And then I discovered that I didnt know anything. That is sobering, but let me first start by talking about the Korean War. In Korea, three organizations produced the major portion of leaflets. There was the U.S. Eighth Army, the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, and the 1st loudspeaker and Leaflet Company. That is pretty easy. Except, I sometimes saw the same leaflets being claimed one or more of the three units. It then became clear that although the Group and Company was producing most of the leaflets, they were subordinate to the Army so when the Army G3 Operations section felt like it they just said We printed them. That is technically correct if we consider the chain of command, but not exactly accurate. It is more accurate to say we ordered them to be printed.
The same confusion can be found during the Vietnam War. There were originally four companies producing leaflets, then four battalions, then the 4th PSYOP Group in Vietnam, and all this theoretically guided by the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO). We knew if a leaflet had a code like 246 it was made by a company, if 10 it was made by a Battalion, if 4 it was made by the Group and if it had either the letter SP or a four letter code like 3536 it was made by JUSPAO. Or was it?
It later became clear that the 7th PSYOP Group was used to support all those units during the war and they printed the majority of the leaflets on Okinawa or Japan and simply used the codes as requested. So, the fact that we find a code on a leaflet does not tell us who printed it, it tells us who may have designed or requested it. I have a partial listing of all the leaflets produced by the 7th PSYOP Group and some of the codes I see are: T-01 (designed for use on the Ho Chi Minh Trail), P-01 (designed for use against the Peoples Army of Vietnam), CP-03 (designed for use in Cambodia), 95 (designed to be used against North Vietnam) and SP-1380 (printed by JUSPAO we thought). We now know that all of these were printed by the 7th Group. So, the bottom line is that anything we see that is coded and we think we know where it was printed may have been printed in several different places by quite different people.
In 1965 a small unit of the Okinawa-based 7th PSYOP Group arrived in Saigon, but it was more in the form of an advisory team. The unit was made up of an eclectic group of soldiers. Former PFC Combat Illustrator John Magine recalls that some were Special Forces qualified, some were jump qualified, and some even had high altitude low opening (HALO) training. Others had no special training. All the members had some language training and skills. The unit was made up of enlistees and draftees. They were a mix, some from the 3rd Special Forces Group who wore the green berets with the flash, some had no flash because they were new, and some had a small color bar on the beret or wore just the standard military cap. It was a real mixture of skills and talents. The detachment was formed by Captain Blaine Revis who previously had commanded the 19th PSYOP Company. He selected some soldiers that he knew, and others were obtained by a call for volunteers, (a military euphemism that means you, you and you). The new unit had almost no supplies and had to beg, borrow and steal equipment.
244th PSYOP Detachment Saigon, Vietnam. Through liaison with Military Assistance Command Vietnam and the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office it coordinated requests for PSYOP printing with the 7th PSYOP Group. It keeps supported Vietnam units informed on the printing and delivery schedule of the 7th PSYOP Group to Vietnam which makes up 75% of all the leaflets used there. It printed the Vietnamese-language magazine Thong Cam and annual calendars. It arranges for the 7th PSYOP Group to give instruction on leaflet dissemination techniques to Army, Air Force and Marine personnel in Vietnam. It collected PSYOP intelligence through liaison with military and civilian intelligence agencies. All printed material for Vietnam was designed by U.S. sources in Vietnam.
Let me start with some of the more interesting items printed for the South Vietnamese.
A pictorial history of America
The U.S. Army 7th PSYOP Group produced this 52-page propaganda comic book for the Vietnamese to teach them the history of the United States. It opens with the Vikings and Columbus, goes on to the Mayflower, then the Revolutionary War, on to Andy Jackson and the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The westward movement follows, and then WWI and WWII featuring Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower. The comic ends with Khrushchev, Jack Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. It bears a code on the back: 6-182(208). The 7th Group had a detachment in Vietnam all through the war so at some point it must have been asked to produce this comic to help the Vietnamese better understand the Americans that were in their country.
Land Tenure Booklet
The 7th PSYOP Group printed hundreds of informative booklets for the people of Vietnam. This booklet was developed in May 1968, coded 2593, and titled Land Tenure Booklet. The cover has a farmer working his field with water buffalo and the back has a colorful painting of a farm scene. The 18-page booklet was printed for the general population to provide information to land owners of rights and privileges and government regulations that affect them. There are 60 numbered paragraphs answering every question that a land owner might ask regarding rights and obligations, land rights and contracts, renting, crops, seeds, fertilizer, security, disputes and penalties.
Phuoc Ninh District Newsletter
There were hundreds of small patriotic, military, or government agencies supported by the Group. They all needed newsletters to keep them updated on what needed to be done and the current status of the war. This July 1968 publication is the Phuoc Ninh District Newsletter, designed to provide an attractive and attention-getting cover to facilitate dissemination to the district, both urban and rural. 2,000 copies were printed weekly with the JUSPAO code number 2659.
Regional Forces / Popular Forces Magazine
This magazine for the Vietnam civilian militias was prepared in October 1968 and coded 2899. This issue, for Binh Dinh Provinces is Special Projects. The magazine was developed by the Vietnam Information Service aided by the U.S. Civil Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS) and Vietnamese PSYOP, then sent to the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office who assigned the project to the 7th PSYOP Group. The objective of the magazine was to promote the RF/PF (Ruff Puffs) a part-time local militia of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) during the Vietnam War. 3000 copies were printed every other week. Most of the stories tell of Viet Cong defeats. Some of the feature stories are:
Another Attempt of the Blood-thirsty Communists Crushed in Qui Nhon
Victory at Phu My Hamlet, Binh Khe
Rallying to the Just Cause
Victory at Phu Cat
This May 1968 poster has the theme of eradicating illiteracy and convincing the people that life in one of the Strategic Hamlets was better and safer than living in a village where the Viet Cong could come at night and steal food and perhaps draft children. It depicts a group of Vietnamese adults in a New Life Hamlet classroom being taught the alphabet. The text is:
ONE OBJECTIVE OF THE NEW LIFE HAMLETS IS
Eradication of illiteracy in order to bring progress and knowledge to the people
This January 1969 poster is entitled Elections build Democracy. JUSPAO ordered this poster at the request of the Vietnam Ministry of Information. 100,000 copies were printed. The image depicts a woman holding a child while voting. The text is:
VOTE TO BUILD DEMOCRACY
All go to cast the Ballots, Follow the right procedure, Elect the right person.
Booklet 2613 and 8-900(8)
This is a a pro-voting booklet with two codes, one being 8-900(8). That is not a normal code, although the 8 is often used by the 8th PSYOP Battalion. In this case I suspect that is a Vietnamese code. It was developed in August 1968. The cover has the flag of the Republic of Vietnam at top and a Vietnamese woman voting on the back. 500,000 copies were printed in the Regional Service Center in Manila. The 10-page booklet is designed for children to teach them their civic duties. The book is meant to instill patriotism and pride in their nation and national heritage. It explains their Constitution and lists 29 rights and duties the children will have as adults. The text on the front and back is:
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZENS
THE SENATE ELECTION
The 7th PSYOP Group constantly produced political slogans when requested by the Vietnamese. The slogan is in the form of a small banner about 17 x 4-inches in size that like a poster can be placed anywhere. They were usually made in a set with a number of different slogans. The set above coded 3089 was developed in January 1969 and was made up of 17 different slogans all meant to encourage the citizens to vote in the village and hamlet elections. 20,000 copies of each slogan were printed to be distributed by the Vietnamese Ministry of Information. Some of the slogans are:
Each vote is a brick building the foundations of democracy.
Every ballot is a weapon that will drive away the Communists.
Boldly denounce the henchmen of the Communists who plot to undermine the election.
To undermine the election is to betray the nation.
Chieu Hoi and Tet Slogans
This group of nine slogans on the theme of Chieu Hoi and Tet were prepared in December 1969 and coded 2953. They targeted relatives of the Viet Cong and also the Viet Cong themselves, and therefore were to be left along trails frequented by the Guerrillas. Some were apparently also air-dropped. The title of the operation was SPRING IN THE FATHERLAND. Some of the slogans are:
Support with enthusiasm Spring in the Fatherland.
Spring in the Fatherland" is for love and the right cause.
Spring in the Fatherland" opens a new road to the people on the other side.
Spring in the Fatherland is a good time for the Hoi Chanh to return to the right cause.
More Small Slogan Slips
The 7th PSYOP group printed an un-coded and un-dated sheet of small slogan slips. I suspect they were dropped on North Vietnam, but I have no evidence. The slips are 8 inches wide and about three-quarters of an inch high. The sheet contained 8 different slogans printed in sets of three on each side for a total of 24 slips and 16 different slogans in all. I assume since they were a mix on the same sheet, all the leaflets would have been dropped together. Some of the slogans are incorrect and there are grammatical errors. They do not feel like they were written by a Vietnamese. Perhaps this was a black operation? Some of the slogans are:
A negotiation in good faith by North Vietnam is a path to peace.
The war could end if the Labor Party would negotiate in good faith.
This war is hopeless.
It is time to end hostilities and to start a negotiation in good faith to end the war.
Everybody can return to a peaceful life once the war ends.
Without the cooperation of everyone, the war cannot end.
Current military actions against North Vietnam can be avoided should the leaders of the Labor Party know better and negotiate in good faith to end the war.
After a leaflet drop these would be everywhere like ticker tape confetti after a New York City Parade down Broadway. I spoke to one of the officers involved in this project and he said
We figured they would have to send hundreds of people out to pick each of these little slivers of paper up and they would not be able to resist reading them as they stooped to clean up the area.
These plaques are an odd case. Remember that the 7th PSYOP Group had the artists and the printing presses and could produce many different items including leaflets, posters, comic books, booklets, calendars, and a host of special requests. Some of the latter from my files are award certificates, retirement certificates, letters of commendation, stationary, fancy holiday menus, etc. In the files of the 7th were three Vietnamese Army Infantry Division plaques. They are for the 7th, 9th, and 21st Divisions, all of which were organic to IV Corps in the Mekong Delta. American PSYOP units supported and were often attached to allied units such as the Australians, Thais, Koreans and Vietnamese. I do not know if the 7th Group printed these for the Vietnamese units they supported, or received these as gifts from the units for their support. Either way, they were saved in their archives. Each item has the same exact text:
Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam
Determined to Defend
Family - Native Village - Nation
I have written 32 articles on the leaflets of the Vietnam War. I dont think we need to go into any great detail in this section. I will select a few leaflets that I know to be a 7th PSYOP Group leaflet and ask that the reader consider it an example of all their work.
5 Flag Safe Conduct Pass Leaflet
7 Flag Safe Conduct Pass Leaflet
The United States and its allies dropped over 50 billion leaflets on Vietnam. Many of them were safe conduct passes. These passes have been used in every war in recent history and were used in Biblical times, during medieval times, and even in the American Indian wars. It is very powerful form of propaganda. It allows an enemy to defect with the absolute knowledge that he will be treated fairly and his life and safety are guaranteed. During the Vietnam War, the United States produced a series of safe conduct passes depicting the flag of the Republic of Vietnam with other allied flags, to encourage defection of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Dave Underhill of the 7th PSYOP Group told me about the safe conduct passes:
During one trip to Vietnam, I discussed the safe conduct pass problem with our Vietnam PSYOP Detachment Commander. I suggested that he have his people draft a National Safe Conduct Pass to be used throughout the nation. He took a proposed leaflet layout to JUSPAO. They immediately took the project over and assigned it leaflet number SP-893. The leaflet was eventually produced at the rate of one hundred million leaflets per month and dropped throughout the country. It was a highly successful leaflet used by tens of thousands of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers.
The first version of the Pass contained the flags of the Republic and four countries that provided combat / support troops The United States, Australia, New Zealand and Korea. The first version contained no signature because of the unstable government in the south. When the Philippines and Thailand provided assistance in the form of personnel, the pass was revised to include their flags. By this time the government was rather stable and General Ky signed the pass. The third version changed the signature from General Ky to President Thieu after the elections of September 1957. Once this "official" design was approved, it was decreed that this should be the only safe conduct pass used by the Allies so as not to confuse the enemy.
7th PSYOP Banknote Leaflet Description Sheet
Perhaps I should mention one more operation where the 7th PSYOP Group produced North Vietnamese propaganda banknote leaflets in 1, 2 and 5 dong denominations. These official sheets depicted the actual leaflet, gave the English-language translation and other information such as the size and sometimes the paper weight.
I spoke to a former officer of the 7th PSYOP Group who was involved in the 1973 banknote operation. He said:
In 1972-1973, I returned to Vietnam on extended TDY to run strategic leafleting operations throughout Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. There were three banknote leaflet denominations, the 1, 2 and 5 dong, with a message printed at the end of the leaflet on the front and back. Design and layout graphics wanted the back of each leaflet to have the printed message. I told them that was not what we wanted. The drop requirement was to come up with three leaflet widths to accommodate the three note widths, and at the same time have them fall in the same general area. The length needed not only to accommodate the note, but leave a space for an inflation message at the end.
Someone from the 7th PSYOP group hand-carried the packet to the Regional Service Center (RSC) in Manila. Once RSC-Manila got on board, they made as many serial numbers as they could by moving around the digits of the three original notes.
Uncut sheet of Propaganda Leaflets for Vietnam
This is a nice mix of leaflets to be dropped over Vietnam together. They are all on the same theme and the belief was that a mix like this worked better than just single leaflets. They could argue the same points with different arguments working toward the same conclusion.
Buddha Fights the Khmer Rouge
The 7th PSYOP Group did not have a Detachment in Cambodia. Still, it was a war zone and the 7th produced many propaganda items that were used there. Probably my favorite poster of all time is this one that shows the Buddha.
This large 15.5 x 19.5-inch poster coded 13-2-6 depicts the Lord Buddha destroying the Communist Khmer Rouge who are depicted as demons. The enemy is shown with AK-47s, grenades, RPGs and tanks at the left. On the right they are sinking into the sea; the tanks main gun is bent and broken and their leader is pleading for mercy. Crocodiles and sawfish attack them. Buddha is a God of mercy and moderation so his depiction in this poster is very strange. From a standpoint of color and artistic imagination it would be hard to find a more impressive propaganda poster. Directly beneath the Buddha is the Buddhist Earth Deity, who wrings out her hair, sending a stream of strong water at the drowning Communists. She is known in Cambodia as Neang Kanghing Preah Thoranee. She has other names in Arakan, Burma, Thailand, and Laos, but the names all mean Lady Earth or Mother Earth, She is the Buddha's witness at the time of the enlightenment. According to the mythology of Mahayana Buddhism, the Buddha's spiritual authority derives from the Earth Deity.
A Full Uncut Sheet of Camel Path Leaflets
Since the Cambodian operation was highly secret they called the PSYOP Camel Path. The Camel Path leaflets were all printed at the same time and not mixed with other leaflets for Vietnam proper. On this sheet I see CP-03A, CP-05A, CP-06A, CP-08A, CP-09, CP-55A, CP-1387A, and R-2. This is an interesting mix. The seven A leaflets all seem to be additional, or leaflets that bear some text or images in common with leaflets to Vietnam. So even though these were classified secret, apparently they stole much of the propaganda from standard leaflets for Vietnam. The R-2 is even more interesting. It is a scrap leaflet designed to fill in an empty place on the sheet so the printers get full value out of every sheet.
To give an example of the way the leaflets were prepared and dropped I note from a leaflet order sent to the 7th group for a mix of six Camel Path leaflets ordered in November 1967 for dissemination in January 1968. The leaflets are CP-02, 08A, 09, 10, 55A, and 1389A. All are black and white and sized 3 x 6-inches. 5 million of each was ordered. They would be placed in a mix and dropped together. The leaflets were forwarded to the respective PSYOP units stationed in the I, II and III Corps areas. 15,000,000 were for 245th PSYOP Company in Pleiku, 10,000,000 for the 246th PSYOP Company in Bien Hoa and 5,000,000 for 19th PSYOP Company Can Tho.
A Sheet of Leaflets with Cambodian Codes
Since there were no Americans in Cambodia it made sense to prepare leaflets for the Cambodians that seemed to be from them. This sheet depicts leaflets numbered 1 to 5. The first leaflet mentions Nong Suon the leader of the Khmer Rouge and lol Nol. The second claims that the people of Phnom Penh have chased away the Khmer Rouge. The third shows the government air force and brags that the government forces are pure Cambodians while the NVA and VC are pagans that paint their teeth black. The fourth shows pictures of dead VC killed by the Cambodian government forces. The fifth and final leaflet of this mix says that Cambodia is now a Republic and the home of all real Cambodians. This is an interesting grouping with a lot of pure race propaganda and a lot of anti-Vietnamese racial insults about black teeth and such. You can see that the Cambodians were allowed to use their own text and concepts in these leaflets prepared by the 7th PSYOP Group.
Propaganda Miniature Radios
The Group spent about $200,000 to purchase 67,000 pocket-size battery-operated radios to be distributed in rural areas. The 7th PSYOP Group billed about $250,000 for printing support to Cambodia. Both of these payments were from the Pacific Command Psychological Operations Fund. The United States gave about $70,000 to radio Cambodia, mostly parts and equipment. It also loaned a 10 kilowatt portable transmitter to improve the medium wave signal.
In May 1970, the U.S. and South Vietnam entered Cambodia. During that incursion there was an entire series of Allied leaflets entitled Communist Cadre and Soldiers in Cambodia. The language of the leaflets was Vietnamese and the theme was to undermine the North Vietnamese Armys willingness to fight. In every case there is a statement that JUSPAO will produce 13 sets of glossy prints of this leaflet to be used for mass printing. All of the leaflets depict a scene of captured weapons on the front and the text:
Your weapon caches are now in our hands.
In all cases, the back is all text. Some examples are:
Leaflet 3788 was printed in May 1970 and depicts two photographs of weapons and ammunition piled on the ground. The text on the back tells the North Vietnamese that there so-called sanctuaries in Cambodian territory are being attacked and destroyed by combined Vietnamese-American forces.
Leaflet 3789 was printed in May 1970 and depicts a soldier kneeling over a cache of mortar rounds. The text on the back tells the North Vietnamese that for many years they were able to hide in Cambodia but now everything has been destroyed. It says that South Vietnam now has all the weapons that the North Vietnamese were unable to carry in their attempt to escape.
Some leaflets were in Vietnamese because the Vietnamese were known to be hiding in Cambodia. Others were in Cambodian for the people and the Khmer Rouge. This all-text leaflet is in Vietnamese on one side and Cambodian on the other. The text is:
Do you happen to know,
Who tries to seduce the youth to leave their families and follow the criminal path; robbing and killing people without shame?
The Cambodian Fighting Front which is the National Liberation Front in the South.
Countrymen, you have to advise your brothers and sons to be on guard.
Dont get trapped by the Cambodian Fighting Front.
Propaganda Booklet Published on the 16th National Day of the Republic of China
Nationalist Chinese soldier watches the Mainland from the island of Quemoy
Taiwan Detachment Taipei, Taiwan. It provided PSYOP support and advice to Military Assistance Advisory Group China. It pre-tested PSYOP material for the 7th PSYOP Group. It collected PSYOP intelligence through Chinese sources and it planned combined exercises for U.S. and Chinese forces on Taipei. One such exercise called Forward Thrust was a war game taking place in a fictitious country and nine 7th PSYOP Group personnel were attached to support the exercise. The Group printed no specific items for Taiwan and was more involved in teaching, training and advice.
During the Cold War the American government constantly worried about the morale of the Nationalist Chinese and their willingness to carry on the fight against Communism. They regularly studied both Taiwan and Mainland China and a number of reports were written by the Central Intelligence Agency, mostly stating that it did not believe China would attack Taiwan as long as the United States offered naval and air protection. Other studies attempted to discern how the loss of the smaller islands would affect Taiwan. A 1955 CIA report entitled Morale on Taiwan says in part:
The islands of Quemoy and Matsu are so important in the eyes of the Nationalists that their loss during the current crisis would be a severe blow to the morale The effect would be considerably greater if the islands fell to Communist attack, especially if U.S. forces were involved We believe that they would continue resistance to Communist pressure as long as they have confidence in the determination and ability of the U.S. to defend Taiwan.
English-Chinese Political Warfare Terms Handbook
The 7th PSYOP Group Detachment working with the Nationalist Chinese helped to produce a booklet that showed all the important PSYOP terms in both English and Chinese. The introduction says:
In order to meet the requirement for a Chinese-English translation of political warfare writings and publications and to improve the mutual understanding between the Republic of China Armed Forces and their counterparts in other friendly nations, we have done our best to collect the maximum number of POLWAR terms and expressions for this handbook Many thanks are particularly extended to Colonel Harold F. Bentz, Commanding Officer of the 7th PSYOP Group, U.S. Army.
The Nationalist Chinese regularly sent various gifts and trinkets to mainland China by balloon. We depict one of their propaganda bookmarks above. A bookmark is a strip or band of some material, such as paper, leather or ribbon, put between the pages of a book to mark a place. Psychological operators have used it on numerous occasions to carry their propaganda messages because the bookmarks tend to be saved and placed in a book and every time the reader opens the book the message is the first thing that is seen. PSYOP Bookmarks have been used in Vietnam, Korea and by the Nationalist Chinese on Taiwan. The text is:
Our leader is the anti-Communist, Russia-resisting, prescient Great Thinker.
(Issued May 20, 1954)
Souvenir Booklet for the 7th PSYOP Group
The 7th PSYOP Group sent officers to Taiwan on several occasions to help them with their balloon launches against the Chinese Mainland. In return, the Nationalists sent the Group souvenir booklets containing samples of their latest leaflets.
This colorful envelope depicts an artillery round, a loudspeaker, balloons, gift items to go in a float and leaflets. Each of these was used to disseminate Nationalist Chinese propaganda. The envelope contained eleven Nationalist Chinese leaflets. This was another gift pack for Group members. At the left of the envelope there is a radio antenna and the text:
PSYWAR COMMAND POST KDC
51111500 - Marriage
Many of the Taiwan leaflets depict young people getting married. This seems to be a favorite theme of the Nationalists and one wonders if the Mainland Chinese were tempted to defect to Taiwan to find love and romance. The text on the front tells of the marriage of Li Caiwang to his wife is named Xue Xunrong. The flyer is intended to show yet another benefit of defecting to Taiwan!
Something from the People’s Republic of China
A 1971 Pocket Calendar
This very handsome plastic laminated pocket calendar was found in the files of the 7th Group without explanation. It has gold text on a bright red background. The size and color remind one of Mao’s “Little Red Book.” I assumed it was a Group product with propaganda against the PRC. Instead, it turns out to be a very famous poem by Chairman Mao Tse-tung on the event of the Liberation of the City of Nanjing, Chiang Kai-shek‘s temporary Capital City of the Republic of China on 23 April 1949. Why did the Group file it? Was it something sent by the PRC to Taiwan by balloon? That is a distinct possibility since someone wrote on the back in Chinese five printed characters that read: Bandit Pseudo-Government propaganda. This would seem to be the wording used by the Taiwan Kuomintang (Nationalists). My translator believes it was ballooned from mainland China to Taiwan. Perhaps the 7th Group team in Taiwan brought it back to Okinawa.
Or, was it carried by a Chinese "volunteers" helping to keep the Ho Chi Minh Trail open in Vietnam? Was it just for research, or did the 7th PSYOP Group plan to reprint it and change a few words to embarrass Mao and show the Chinese guilty of secretly sending troops to Vietnam where they might be killed? In the past they had taken a Tet Holiday greeting from Ho Chi Minh and reproduced it with a different text. We will never know. It was just there at the bottom of a file box and I just depict it here. The poem is:
The People's Liberation Army Captures Nanjing
Over Zhongshan swept a storm, headlong,
Our mighty army, a million strong, has crossed the Great River.
The City, a tiger crouching, a dragon curling, outshines its ancient glories;
In heroic triumph heaven and earth have been overturned.
With power and to spare we must pursue the tottering foe
And not ape Xiang Yu the conqueror seeking idle fame.
Were Nature sentient, she too would pass from youth to age,
But Man's world is mutable, seas become mulberry fields.
Operation Jilli or Focus Truth
The Classified Report on Operation Jilli
During the height of the Vietnam War the United States dropped millions of propaganda leaflets over the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong enemy. This was a white operation and above board. At the same time, a black operation was quietly taking place. Some of the aircraft taking off from the air bases in Okinawa headed straight for Vietnam; others secretly veered off and dropped their leaflets on North Korea. The reader can find a complete discussion of this operation in my JILLI article. The operation was first known as Jilli (Truth in Korean), later changed to Focus Truth.
The Report on Operation Jilli was declassified in 1979. It mentioned the 7th PSYOP Group and the way the leaflets were dropped:
The Vietnam War printing support requirements laid on the 7th Psychological Operations Group caused a reduction in the printing support available for Operation Jilli. In order to partially offset this reduced printing capacity, a new, smaller leaflet size was selected on a test basis. This technique produces more leaflets in less time, yields more per pound, and thus, permits increased quantities of leaflets aboard aircraft. Hence, at a time when production was curtailed, the C-130 aircraft load Jumped from 12.5 million to about 20 million leaflets. The dispersion characteristics of the smaller size leaflet are less favorable than that of previous leaflets, but this can be completely overcome by flying repeated passes. The smaller size leaflet has a much slower descent rate and allows for the launch of the mission under less favorable wind conditions than before, which is an important advantage for delivery by Republic of Korea and United States Army aircraft.
A C-130 Fully Loaded and on its way for a Jilli Leaflet Drop
Lieutenant Colonel Dave Underhill was a member of the 7th PSYOP Group stationed on Okinawa during the Vietnam War. He did psychological operations in both Vietnam and in North Korea in what was at the time the top secret Operation Jilli. He had previously attended the Advanced Infantry Course at Fort Benning followed by a tour at the PSYOP Directorate of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. He told me about his PSYOP missions during his 30-month tour from 1964 and 1966:
We had two C-47's on call at Suwon Air Base (K-13) in Korea. The C-47 aircraft originally flew along the DMZ with side-looking radar monitoring activities.They were loaned to us for use in dropping leaflets. The camera port was removed and a chute installed for dropping leaflets. The Air Force loved the mission. We would load the aircraft with 3000 pounds (about a million and a half leaflets once we arrived at the best leaflet size, paper weight and aerodynamics for the mission). We would climb to 15,000 feet. We went on oxygen with a personal tank for each crewman beginning at 12,000 feet. This unit later received the Air Force Outstanding Award. The citation mentioned Special Airlift missions. I was officially attached to the unit on flight status.I wear the unit award as a permanent award.
A Filled Jilli Leaflet Box ready to be dropped over North Korea
I asked for a C-130 my first year on Okinawa and everyone told me I would never get a big bird for a PSYOP mission. Using my formulas I was able to plan leaflet missions very successfully and plotted winds-aloft forecasts for the C-47s on the proposed C-130 routes. After the brass saw the accuracy of the drops my second year they gave me one C-130. Prior to the beginning of the favorable weather season (generally Mid-April to late September); I used the mission weather reports to plot drops from 25,000 feet. My Intelligence Sergeant and I both attended the Air Force's Physiological Training School (High Altitude School). From the very first mission in 1964, I would submit an after-action report with projected coverage overlaid on a map of North Korea. I did the same on South East Asia maps for missions there. The projected increase in penetration into North Korea, and the vastly increase in area coverage made the decision for the use of a C-30 a no-brainer. By my third year they gave me two dedicated C-130 aircraft that were stationed at Kadena Airbase, Okinawa for missions in Vietnam and Laos. These aircraft often had propositioned leaflet loads.
The prepositioned leaflets for North Korea were of a strategic and not a tactical nature. It was all appropriate to the day-to-day activities of the North Korean target audience. Material would be developed months in advance for the following year's seasonal operation. Near the end, we even had PSYOP at Fort Bragg print and ship leaflets to us. As the program continued, we were also printing in support of Vietnam operations. The nice thing about a strategic operation is the fact the target is the total population of the country. The content was mostly pro-South Korea and pro-United Nations. We put forth, mostly in pictures, the economic, political, and social prosperity and progress occurring South Korea.
I was on 24-hour call for favorable weather forecast periods. I had a very high telephone precedent authorization called Flash. As I recall the priorities were Routine, Priority, Immediate and Flash. I normally notified the duty officer when I went to the movie or whatever. I would be paged and went to the nearest phone where I received the weather forecast. It was always for the next four hour period. That meant that from the time I received the call, we would have to be ready to start our first pass against North Vietnam in four hours. There was no time to waste. I would call the Far East Air Force headquarters in Tokyo to arrange for an aircraft to be readied at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. I then called the operator and said I had a Flash message. Five minutes later, I had the tail number of the aircraft that was scheduled for the mission.
A 10-Ton Leaflet Load on a C-130
Our printing plant operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and printed 100 tons a month, but we controlled the printing of an additional 900,000,000 products a month by using the Adjutant General's printing plant in Japan, and the United States Information Service Regional Service Center in Manila. They printed the high quality inflation theme North Vietnamese money leaflets. At the peak, a billion leaflets were printed each month.This included 100,000,000 National Safe Conduct Leaflets.The leaflet was my idea, and used by over 100,000 Vietnamese.
Based on the nature of the content, we were able to stock up with leaflets. When they authorized a second C-130 for 1966, I proposed we stock leaflets at Suwon (K-13) where our C-47 aircraft were based. We could rig the boxes for C-130 dissemination. After dropping a load launched from Okinawa, we could land at K-13, load, and drop another 10,000,000 leaflets. We were primed and ready to go in 1966.
In 1966, we began to launch two C-130s from Okinawa against North Korea. They could drop their leaflets, land and disperse two more loads from our prepositioned stock. Forty million leaflets in under three hours. We had a Captain in Korea on temporary duty at the time, and I asked him to stop by 8th Army G-2 (Intelligence) and see if we were getting any reaction out of North Korea. He walked in and found the place in an uproar. He asked in a loud voice, Are you guys getting any reaction out of north Korea? He said you could have heard a pin drop.North Korea was on full military alert, and was moving troops. He left content with the knowledge that the regime was reacting to our leaflet drops.
The leaflets used in the initial missions were designed and laid out by me. We had no in-house capability on Okinawa. Graphics for our magazine publications were done in our Japan Detachment. Eventually, we developed a capability in the Korean Detachment. At some point a Korean Army Non-Commissioned Officer joined the team from the Army of the Republic of Korea PSYOP. Later, when his enlistment was up, we hired him and he ran our leaflet development. We ran a photographic contest looking for good images, and one individual was so good and his pictures so classic that we hired him too.
Leaflets Disseminated from the back of a C-130
We learned the most efficient way of loading the aircraft. The floor of the C-130 Hercules was covered with rollers on both sides. The boxes were stood on end. They were too fragile to stack. They were loaded by the aircraft crew, including me. The aircraft would fly at 120-130 knots in a nose-high attitude. The leaflets were stacked one on top of another against the webbing wrapped around the leaflet box. The idea was to have the leaflets spill out the four corners as the box gives way. The early boxes resulted in too much of the weight ending up on the crossed webbing. We later used a much flatter and wider based bottom that carried about 135 pounds of leaflets. We carried ten tons in all, or about a million leaflets a ton per mission. Later in the program, we used a smaller leaflet on 13 pound paper for deeper drift, and greater density on the ground. On these missions, we carried 16,000,000 leaflets.
We still occasionally had a static line snap, until we strung a webbing line across the aircraft so that the static line never hit the sharp (cutting edge) of the raised tail door. It was stopped by the webbing line across the rear just below the cutting edge of the raised door.
To keep from having to stack the boxes for deployment, we simply stood them on end to compensate for the much larger box base or bottom. The crew carried a broom handle type stick to hold the box from rolling on the rollers, and as the aircraft flew in a nose up-attitude, a box at a time was released at pre-determined intervals based on flight pass duration.
I always wanted as many passes as possible, and the aircraft commander wanted to get the hell out of as soon as possible. At most I could sometimes hope for two passes or a second partial pass depending on wind direction. The potential flight path was selected from a permanently authorized flight path that stretched from the East Coast to out over the water to a rectangular box on the west coast. We could actually disseminate while descending to permit covering close-in areas without danger of dumping leaflet into South Korea.
There were a number of bookmarks in the Korean language printed by the 7th PSYOP Group Japanese detachment. 60 copies of each 2 x 7-inch bookmark were printed on 3 June 1971 and disseminated at a later date. Bookmark 70-1 depicts a primitive Korean mask and a detailed temple roof on the front and a single line of text on the back:
The Hahoe mask is used in traditional masque plays. This wooden mask originated from the Koryo Dynasty.
The beautiful painting of our countrys old architecture.
When Dave Underhill moved on he was replaced by Captain Charles V. Nahlik. He told me:
I started basically as an understudy to Dave Underhill in our small Special Projects Office of the 7th PSYOP Group.Dave was nearing the end of his tour in 1966 when I got there. I was initially in the S-3 Plans office but was asked if I wanted to become a replacement/understudy for this strange Major who specialized in dropping leaflets and timing their fall from atop the inside of our printing plant. My initial thought was this guy must really be a screwball but found out in one day how he had totally immersed himself into the "art of leaflet dropping."
He gave me a book to study about how John Hopkins University had conducted a study on dropping leaflets of various sizes and weight of paper. It was very interesting and I was hooked. I listened to his stories about leaflet operations and went to Vietnam with him in October 1966 for classes he was presenting. By this time, with several months under my belt in the office, I knew enough to help out, show people how to plot leaflet fall and to answer questions. It was a fantastic orientation for me on working with people that were doing our business in a small scale setting --- not via C-130s as we did from Okinawa.
Over the next year and a half that I was there, I gave classes in Korea at some sort of Special Forces Camp in sub-freezing conditions with no heat. I also taught the following year in warmer conditions in Taiwan, Saigon, Da Nang, Pleiku and Nha Trang, as well as on Okinawa. These ideas were basically the stuff taught in bits and pieces at Ft. Bragg plus the ideas that Dave Underhill told me about in the development of the leaflets for Operation Jilli.
The last amusing incident was teaching a plane full of Taiwanese officers. They came with their own translator/interpreter who had translated the 7th PSYOP Leaflet Book into Chinese. I would demonstrate something and then he would explain it. If I would talk for one minute, he would talk for three. He was a fantastic assistant and a great help in the hand on process of plotting. After each of the class days, they went to the PX to spend all the money the US was paying them on this trip. They did well with US paid per diem, maybe too good. They overloaded the plane and it could not lift off the runway and could not stop. It went through the fence and slid into the Ocean but did not go under water. However, the baggage area did get water in it so don't know how much of their assorted cameras and electronic items were damaged.
The 7th PSYOP Group Banknote Leaflet disseminated over North Korea
Although hundreds of different leaflets were developed, for the purposes of this article we will just discuss those that were made to look like a North Korean Central Bank 1 won note of 1959 with the back bearing a safe conduct pass message. The banknote leaflet was coordinated through various agencies in Korea and printed by the 7th PSYOP Group Japan Detachment. The Safe Conduct Pass consisted of a faithful reproduction of a North Korean one won note. The reverse consisted of the one won note border, the Republic of Korea National Flag in full color at top center, a horizontal message indicating it was a Safe Conduct Pass to be honored by all ROK and Allied Troops at the top and bottom, and Safe Conduct Pass vertically at the left and right borders. This leaflet was coded 41 although that does not appear on the banknote. It was dropped over North Korea as part of the Cold War Operation Jilli to motivate the people to defect to the South.
The idea for using a North Korean one won note was to enable the target audience to "hide" the bill by placing it in with other bills. This would prevent detection through any casual search, but not one where it was the item of the search. The project was not coordinated with the Korean Psychological Operations Intelligence Desk. What is interesting to note is that the Americans believed the one won was such a low value note that it would be common among the North Korean farmers and workers. What they did not understand is that the North Koreans were so poor that a crisp one won note would be exceptional and rather than just hide among other notes, it would stand out and be dangerous for the North Korean farmer who was found with one. The text on the banknote is:
TO SOLDIERS OF THE PEOPLES ARMY
This Republic of Korea safe conduct certificate provides you with an opportunity for a new life. Bear in mind that your present toil will never change until the Communist regime collapses. Why should you give up your happiness? Please cross over to the South without hesitation. When you come to South Korea, this certificate will guarantee your personal safety when shown to any Republic of Korea or United Nations Command serviceman. We will warmly welcome you. You will be rewarded with money, employment, housing and freedom. Your safety is guaranteed with or without this leaflet.
KIM YONG BAE, General,
Republic of Korea Army, Chief of Staff.
This leaflet is entering because it discusses marriage and shows that even Communist spies who come South and are caught can lead respectable lives and find love. The text is:
Wedding day of Mr. Ogiwan who is a former spy from the North
Tying the knot at the wedding ceremony in front of the wedding officer where friends and relatives from Gangsu-goon gathered.
With the wedding officer after the ceremony.
Cold War Float to North Korea with T-Shirt and Pencils
Leaflets and items to North Korea did not come only through the air. On occasion, floats were used to bring items to the people.
Lieutenant Colonel Underhill told me:
The propaganda leaflet program directed against North Korea was the major focus of our propaganda activities. However, it was augmented with the "propaganda float." The propaganda float was simply a plastic bag with various printed media and gift items placed inside. The bag was then placed in the water where the winds and/or currents would carry it to an area or shore line where it would be discovered by North Koreans. A water borne package provides tremendous flexibility in terms of items that can be presented to the target audience. The propaganda float operation directed against North Korea was begun in 1965.
North Korean officials ignored the operation for a long time. Internally, instructions were passed by various Party officials to deal with the situation. Initially, propaganda floats were systematically prepared on an assembly line basis. This proved to be an error in judgement on my part. If someone attempted to conceal an item, North Korean authorities simply had to located one package intact, inventory it, and then round up all items that were on their inventory list. However, we introduced the technique of systematically placing items in the float package on a spotty basis. The absence of an item would not create undue suspicion when the float package reached security officials because all packages were not the same. In one such instance, on the evening of August 10, 1970, a variety of float packages were inserted into the North Korea offshore waters by the Republic of Korea Navy. The contents of these floats were not identical, which marked the first time the technique was used.
The Communists Respond
Of course, the Communists did not sit quietly as the 7th PSYOP Group continued to hammer them with leaflets. The Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo reported on 11 April 1971:
Anti-war U.S. soldier Sergeant Herschel David Poplin reveals activities of the 7th PSYOP Group. He says the unit operates under the premise of a nuclear war. He gave an anti-war group confidential data on the unit. He is currently awaiting court martial for AWOL. He wanted to charge three senior officers with war crimes. He also charged Japan with guilt for helping the Group. He claimed the unit was gathering information on Laos, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, South and North Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and Vietnam. Some of his statements were apparently reported also by the Japanese Communist Party Newspaper "Red Flag."
I got a kick out of this left-leaning soldier wanting to court martial senior officers. His statement about all the countries being watched was absolutely right. That was their mission. They were tasked to gather information and make recommendations on all the nations in their general area of responsibility.
The 7th Psychological Operations Group was inactivated 30 June 1974 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Redesignated 30 October 1975 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 7th Psychological Operations Group; concurrently withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and activated at the Presidio of San Francisco, California. It was reorganized and redesignated 18 September 1990 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th Psychological Operations Group. The location changed 15 September 1994 to Moffett Field, California.
Within the psychological operations battalions, there are a number of tactical psychological operations companies. Such companies are organized in the same manner as other Tactical Psychological Operations Companies Army wide. It consists of a Headquarters Section, a Tactical PSYOP Development Detachment or TPDD and three Tactical PSYOP Detachments or TPD. The TPDD focuses on Product Development and Target Audience Analysis while the TPD usually focuses on product distribution, face to face engagement with a given target audience and loudspeaker operations.
Recent Deployment History
10th Psychological Operations Battalion (POB) St. Louis, Missouri
TF-10 deployed to Iraq as an organic USAR Battalion in 2007, part of OIF V. Supported 25 Infantry Division and 10 Mountain Division.
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. 307th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) St. Louis, Missouri 1. Supported 3rd MEF.
Deployed to Iraq in 2004, supported 1st CAV and 3rd ID, Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Deployed to Iraq in 2007, Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF 2007-2008).
Detachment 1020 deployed with Task Force 10, supported 2nd Infantry Division and 1/504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Baghdad, Iraq.
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF 10-12).
Detachment 1010 supported 1-506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division in Paktika Province Sharana.
308th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Belton, Missouri
Deployed to Iraq in 2007.
Deployed to Iraq in 2010. (Two detachments with the 17th Psychological Operations Battalion).
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. (One detachment with 17th Psychological Operations Battalion)
318th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) St. Louis, Missouri
Deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1991 (as the 18th PSYOP CO (TAC)(DS)) in support of Desert Shield/Storm. Attached to 1st Infantry Divison.
Deployed to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1. Attached to 101st Airborne Division.
Deployed to Iraq in 2007.
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2009
362nd Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) - Bentonville, Arkansas
Deployed to Iraq in support of OIF 2003.
Deployed to Iraq in support of OIF 2004-05.
Deployed to Afghanistan in support of OEF 2006-07.
Deployed to Iraq in support of OIF 2009-10.
Moved from 16th POB to 10th POB in 2009
Deployed to Djibouti in 2012-2013
12th Psychological Operations Bn (POB) - Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2006.
320th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Portland, Oregon
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2004.
Deployed to Iraq in 2008.
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.
324th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Aurora, Colorado
Deployed to Iraq in 2004 during the second year of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF3). Awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Operation Iraqi Freedom(OIF 2005-06). Awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Deployed to Iraq in 2007 during the fifth year of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF 2007-08).
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 during the eighth year of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF 2007-08). In 2010, deployed to Afghanistan (in support of Marine Expeditionary Forces), Bahrain and the Horn of Africa under Operation Enduring Freedom.
Currently deployed to Afghanistan under OEF XII with 1st Cavalry Division and the 172nd Infantry Brigade.
Moved to 12th PSYOP BN from 14th PSYOP BN in 2009.
349th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Aurora, Colorado
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.
361st Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Bothell, Washington
Deployed to Bosnia in 2000, part of the Stabilization Force 7 (SFOR 7) peace-keeping mission in support of 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Deployed TPD 1270 (15 personnel) to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1 in support of 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment Al Anbar Province. They received Valorous Unit Award.
Deployed TPD 1280 (15 personnel) to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1 in support of 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment Baghdad, Iraq. They received Presidential Unit Citation.
Cross-leveled 11 personnel to 320th PSYOP Company to support their 2004 Afghanistan deployment.
Deployed TPD 1290 to Iraq in September 2004 in support of 1-25 Infantry Stryker Brigade operations in Mosul, Iraq during OIF 3. One member of the detachment was wounded and evacuated from Iraq during fighting in Tal Afar in early 2005. They received Valorous Unit Award.
Deployed to Iraq in 2008.
Deployed to Afghanistan part of OEF 2012-13.
14th Psychological Operations Battalion (POB) Mountain View, California
301st Tactical Psychological Operations Company (Airborne) (TPU) San Diego, California
Deployed to Iraq 2003-2004 (1st Reserve Psyop Company on the ground in OIF 1).
304th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Sacramento, California
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 to 2004.
Deployed to Iraq in 2005 to 2006.
Deployed to Iraq in 2008 to 2009.
Deployed to Iraq in 2011.
315th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Upland, California
Deployed to Kosovo in 2000, part of Task Force Falcon. Supported 1st Armored Division.
Deployed to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1. Supported 3d ID and 1st Armored Division.
Deployed to Afghanistan in 2006.
Deployed to Iraq in 2008.
353rd Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Las Vegas, Nevada
17th Psychological Operations Battalion (POB) Austin, Texas
Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010 to 2011.
TPD 1720 was deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006. It took part in the Battle of Tal Afar receiving a Meritorious Unit Commendation and Valorous Unit Award for their action.
TPD 1640 was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007-2008 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. One soldier from the detachment during the tour. Sergeant Charles B. Kitowski was killed in action.
341st Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) San Antonio, Texas
344th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (Airborne) (TPU) Austin, Texas
345th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (Airborne) (TPU) Lewisville, Texas
Deployed to Afghanistan part of OEF in 2001.
399th Tactical Psychological Operations Company ( TPU) San Marcos, Texas
This artcle is a brief history of the 7th Psychological Operations Group. Any reader with comments, additions, or suggestions is encouraged to send them to the author at email@example.com.