The 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne)
SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)
DISTINCTIVE UNIT INSIGNIA
Description: A gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches in height overall consisting of a gold disc bearing on each side red circular segments projecting towards center, and overall three isosceles triangles constructed within each other throughout: white, with point up within gray, point down within black, point up extending over the disc and charged with three gold oblongs (heraldic billets); four red flashes radiant from the latter triangle, two each at the top and base, projecting over and dividing a black looped scroll inscribed in gold letters:
Win the Mind Win the Day
Symbolism: The colors white, gray and black refer to the types of propaganda utilized in the psychological operations mission of the Battalion. White propaganda is acknowledged and truthful. Grey is not acknowledged but no attempt is made to hide the origin and may or may not be truthful. Black propaganda is never acknowledged, may appear to come from other sources and is seldom truthful. The triangle, symbolic of support, indicates the support operations. It is also the Pythagorean symbol from wisdom. The triangles each within the other allude to the mind which is considered the complex of mans faculties. The Units motto pertains to its significance. The gold billets indicative of leaflets, together with the flashes, refer to the production and disseminating of audio and visual propaganda. They also suggest the Organizations origin as a Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company. The Battalions activation in the Canal Zone is depicted by the gold area of the disc narrowed by the red, indicative of the Isthmus of Panama as suggested by the historic Panama Canal Department shoulder sleeve insignia. In the symbolism of numbers, the numerical designation of the Battalion represents a triple synthesis here depicted by the three triangles.
COAT OF ARMS
Shield: Dark green and silver gray are the colors associated with Psychological Operations. White, gray and black refers to the gradation and types of propaganda utilized in the psychological operations mission. The triangle, symbolic of support, indications its support operations. It is also the Pythagorean symbol for wisdom. The triangles, each within the other, allude to the mind, which is considered the complex of mans faculties, and highlight the units motto. The gold billets, indicative of leaflets, together with the flashes refer to the production and dissemination of audio and visual propaganda and suggest the organizations origin as a Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company. The battalions activation in the Canal Zone is depicted by the gold area of the disc narrowed by red, indicative of the Isthmus of Panama (as suggested by the Panama Canal Department shoulder sleeve insignia). In the symbolism of numbers, the numerical designation of the battalion represents a triple synthesis, here depicted by three triangles.
9th PSYOP Battalion Challenge Coin
9th PSYOP Battalion Recruiting Poster
The 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (POB) was first subordinate to the 4th PSYOP Group, but in 2011 became a subordinate unit of the 8th Psychological Operations Group. The 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (POB) is the Tactical Support Battalion for the 8th PSYOP Group. Tactical PSYOP is that associated with face-to- face operations in support of maneuver units within the theater and the designated area of operations. Tactical PSYOP Planning elements are available to each supported tactical echelon brigade combat team to corps headquarters. The smallest tactical organization is the Tactical PSYOP Team (TPTs), routinely found in support of conventional Army brigades or special operations battalions. These elements enable tactical commanders to communicate directly with the enemy and foreign civilians. Tactical PSYOP elements disseminate products normally developed by the regional battalions or by the Psychological Operation Task Force (POTF) The 9th POB has worldwide responsibility for all short-notice rapid deployment tactical PSYOP/information support requirements with organic light product development, loudspeaker (helicopters and vehicles), and electronic news gathering capabilities.
8th PSYOP Group (Airborne)
The 8th PSYOP Group (Airborne), is one of the two PSYOP Groups in the active Army force structure. Its mission is to deploy anywhere in the world on short notice, and plan, develop and conduct PSYOP in support of the unified commanders, coalition forces, or other government agencies, as directed by the President and the Secretary of Defense.
The 8th PSYOP Group continues to provide PSYOP in support of named and classified operations to include Operations Sword of Honor, Enduring Freedom, Inherent Resolve, and Freedom Sentinel with more than 115 Soldiers deployed to more than 15 countries in the U.S. South Command, Africa Command, Pacific Command and Central Command areas of responsibility. These deployed Soldiers provide PSYOP expertise to Special Operations Forces, combatant commanders, U.S. Embassies and other government agencies throughout the world. The Soldiers are employing their expertise at the national, strategic and operational levels in support of the National Commands communication strategy.
On Oct. 1, 2006, PSYOP became an official branch within the United States Army, and in 2011 the Department of the Army established the 8th PSYOP Group (Airborne). In September of 2014, the 8th POG became a subordinate unit of the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne).
Tactical PSYOP is that associated with "face-to- face" operations in support of maneuver units within the theater and is conducted by the Corps PSYOP Support Element (CPSE), Division PSYOP Support Element (DPSE), Brigade PSYOP Support Elements (BPSE) and by Tactical PSYOP Teams (TPTs). These elements enable tactical commanders to communicate directly with the enemy and foreign civilians.
Tactical PSYOP elements disseminate products normally developed by the regional battalions or by the Psychological Operation Task Force (POTF). The 9th POB has worldwide responsibility for all tactical assets including loudspeakers, helicopters and vehicles.
Training and War Games
PSYOP units constantly train on their wartime skills. We depict some pictures of 9th Battalion Units training in both military and PSYOP skills around the world.
Specialist Jarod Delhotal, a psychological operations specialist assigned to Company B, 9th PSYOP Battalion, operates a portable loudspeaker as he broadcasts messages in Russian to role players in the Military Operations in Urban Terrain city at Ft. Bragg, NC. Delhotal and three other Soldiers were at the range participating in a weeklong assessment and selection course for assignment to Tactical PSYOP Detachment 940, which provides direct PSYOP support to the 75th Ranger Regiment. Missions at the range's Military Operations in Urban Terrain site included a village assessment and combat loudspeaker operations. Five candidates spent the week in tough physical and mental trials while vying for spots in the detachment. TPD 940 is assigned to Company B, 9th Battalion, 8th PSYOP Group (Airborne).
A Loudspeaker Humvee
A HUMVEE from Company C, 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, broadcasts a surrender message at Camp Doha, Kuwait, in February 2003 during a training exercise.
Preparing to fire Ma Deuce
Echo Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion Tactical PSYOP Teams prepare to fire their mounted 50 caliber machine-gun on the firing line.
Preparing the Humvee
9th PSYOP Battalion members prepare a Humvee installing a speaker system on the roof.
Demonstrating a Satellite Dish
Staff Sergeant Jason Bryant of the 9th PSYOP Battalion adjusts the Cheetah telecommunications satelite dish at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command exhibit during the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition. The portable dish is used for voice communication and to transmit data -- including print materials -- to and from remote sites.
On 31 July 2014, Psychological Operations held an Open House at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, to show what they do and exhibit some of their products. Staff Sergeant Chris Brown, a PSYOP Specialist assigned to E Company of the 9th PSYOP Battalion explains a next generation loudspeaker (NGLS) to an interested soldier. The loudspeaker is used for broadcasting, crowd control, crowd dispersal and tactical call-outs.
A tactical psychological operations team from the 9th PSYOP Battalion broadcasts an emergency message during civil support training at Camp Butner, N.C., 19 March 2016. (Photo: Specialist Jeremie Lee)
The 9th POB was first constituted 14 April 1952 in the Regular Army as the 9th Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company. It was redesignated 22 March 1963 as the 9th Psychological Warfare Company and activated 1 April 1963 in the Panama Canal Zone. It was reorganized and redesignated 1 April 1967 as the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion and later inactivated 31 December 1974 in the Panama Canal Zone.
Former 9th PSYOP Battalion member Sergeant Jerry Lysko told me about his time in Panama:
I am happy to tell you about my experience with the 9th PSYOP Battalion in Ft Gulick, Panama, the Canal Zone. I am a self-taught graphic artist. In 1999 I won the Indiana Governors Award for promoting Art in Indiana. In 1999 I won the PEPSICO Chairmans Award and I taught classes in Photography. The highlight of my life came as a surprise in September, 2017 when I was invited to the White House to meet with Vice President Pence and David J. Shulkin, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. I am still married to the same woman for 38 years, a leukemia survivor.
I got out of Basic training, was sent to Advanced Individual Training, and then directly to Leadership School. I never knew why, just did as I was told. I only found out later when I was called to the office of Post Commander at Ft. Polk that I was selected because of my test scores. I never knew my test scores until many years later. I was offered West Point Academy admission and turned it down. I received a lecture on how foolish I was from the Post Commander. I didnt think I was the military type or would enjoy being in the military for all those extra years West Point would cost me. After the Leadership School I was shipped off to Panama. I was assigned to the 9th PSYOP Battalion for two years. My official title was Propaganda Specialist, but I actually did a little of everything. I arrived in 1968, as green as they come. I had no special training in psychology except for the course in psychology I took at night at the University of North Carolina.
An individual was required to have a Secret security clearance or higher just to get on post. I was taken to Headquarters, 8th Special Forces, and only days later after processing I was introduced to the 9th PSYWAR Company; the name was later changed to 9th Psychological Operations Battalion. If I remember right, the battalion consisted of 27 Officers and 22 enlisted men. That was the sum total of our manpower and they called it a battalion. Our Battalion Commander was a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) advisor and gone most of the time. Most officers were gone on Military Training Teams and I hardly ever saw them for my first year there.
Printed on the offset printers of the 9th PSYOP Battalion as a training mission for the men of the 8th Special Forces group and the 1st Special Forces, Special Action group.
We operated a Library. We had a sniper assigned to the unit who never mingled with anyone. I guess they thought we were in the jungle and who knew who was roaming out there? The unit had taken a minor part in the hunt for Che Guevera the previous year, but that was kept under wraps. There were a number of foreign Officers from South American Armies who were on temporary duty with us. We had a fully functional lithography printing plant, and we had a Jeep Wagoneer with Public Address Speakers on top called a Public Information Equipment (PIE) wagon. The only time we used it was to alert wives of the upcoming Christmas party. Our main printed product was a monthly publication called SAFLAN (Special Action Force Latin American Nations).
I worked in the editorial section as a Veri-typist and IBM composer. Back in 1968 a word processor was a scarce and unusual item. In 1969 we received 2 IBM composing machines, basically a Word writer. Each was the size of a normal office desk and used an IBM Selectric typewriter with interchangeable fonts. The machine operated on a 1-inch magnetic tape that fed into the recording head and would spit out the finished product at an amazing 120 words per minute. I would have to enter pica measurements, font and column width to make it all work. We also had a mobile printing plant for leaflets that was seldom used. Our other product was Farmers Almanacs distributed throughout South America. Apparently there was a good deal of U.S. propaganda in that almanac because whenever I worked on it we had two Military Police guarding us and a third MP who monitored all phone calls.
Lieutenant John Hall was our Officer in Charge at the printing plant. He developed and patented a new process for Lithographic printing that saved time and money. He was in a legal battle with the Army because the Army said the patent belonged to them. Yes, 9th PSYOP Battalion developed a new process for color printing. All our magazines used this new process. John was eventually reassigned and I never heard from him again. He was a good guy and spent many hours with me, teaching me Photography and Dark Room techniques.
We did multiple visits to Panamanian villages as a PSYOP team. They usually consisted of drinking the local hooch, making friends and leaving in the morning after a fishing run. The locals liked us, and enjoyed our visits.
I was also sent on a Military Training Team with the Civilian Group called Vacation Samaritans. We spent 3 weeks on TIGRE Island, San Blas Islands off the west coast of Panama. They came to build a medical building and a church. I guess the commanders thought this was a good PSYOP mission to get involved in. I was already familiar with the San Blas Islands from earlier visits. Im sure thats why I was selected to go. We were taken to the Island on a NAVY LCM vessel. Apparently these Vacation Samaritans had some political pull. My job was Photographer and I helped the cooks.
We also did some training for the School of Americas, and the U.S. Jungle Warfare School. We also did our monthly parachute jumps over the Panama Canal, and we did 5 night jumps. We did one night jump along the French cuts of the canal. Two of the jumpers wound up about 60 feet up in the trees. It took a group of us over and hour to chop a path thru the jungle and then bringing down the jumpers took another half hour. They wound up being airlifted out, but after a few days in the hospital they were as good as new.
The Cristobal ROTC defends a Missile site
Looking through the April 1970 issue of SAFLAN I find an article on Sergeant First Class Thomas Edward Averna, who served as both acting First Sergeant and Sergeant Major of the 9th PSYOP Battalion. He worked with the ROTC students of Cristobal High School in a war game where the students attempted to defend a missile site against a team of Special Forces who were sent to destroy it. SFC Averna speaks Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and German. He remarked that the PSYOP Battalion was just about 50% strength but wanted to see the members cross-trained in Special Forces techniques.
The battalion was activated once again on 15 April 1985 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On 23 March 2010, E Company, a tactical psychological operations company, was activated. This made the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion the largest such battalion in the US Army at that time. Many of the soldiers in the new company had spent 14 months in the ranks of Charlie Company, 1st PSYOP Battalion, where they provided tactical PSYOP support to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force- Afghanistan.
The battalion was activated once again on 15 April 1985 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On 23 March 2010, E Company, a tactical psychological operations company, was activated. This made the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion the largest such battalion in the US Army at that time. Many of the soldiers in the new company had spent 14 months in the ranks of Charlie Company, 1st PSYOP Battalion, where they provided tactical PSYOP support to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force- Afghanistan.
In 1990, the Battalion became responsible for tactical psychological operations worldwide, becoming the tactical support battalion for the 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne). The unit subsequently participated in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, being awarded campaign streamers for Defense of Saudi Arabia and Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.
Operation Desert Shield/Storm
Iraqi soldiers surrender
At about 0200 on 2 August 1990, seven divisions of Iraqi armor, mechanized infantry, helicopter forces, and the elite Republic Guard invaded Kuwait. The invasion force of 120,000 troops and 2,000 tanks quickly overwhelmed Kuwait. Curiously, the buildup had been noted by U. S. satellites and intelligence forces, but nobody in the Pentagon believed that Hussein would attack and occupy a fellow Arab county. Even other Arab leaders refused to believe it, claiming that no Arab country would attack and occupy a brother-Arab country. The military and intelligence leaders believed that it was just the latest in a series of Iraqi bluffs and posturing near the Kuwait border.
On 3 August Kuwait Radio broadcast slogans, appeals and patriotic songs. The last thing they broadcast was the following appeal:
In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful. This is Kuwait. O Arabs, O brothers, O beloved brothers, O Muslims, your brothers in Kuwait are appealing to you. Hurry to their aid.
American Secretary of Defense Cheney met with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia on 7 August. As a result of that meeting, the 82nd Airborne Division and several U. S. A. F. fighter squadrons were permitted to deploy to Saudi Arabia for the protection of the Kingdom.
On 20 August 1990, President Bush signed National Security Directive 45, the U.S. Policy in Response to the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait." The U.S. objectives included the immediate, complete, and unconditional withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from Kuwait, and the restoration of Kuwait's legitimate government to replace the puppet regime installed by Iraq.
Folded card front
During Desert Storm illustrators of the 4th PSYOP Group printed a folded cardboard piece that honored the Group and the PSYOP Battalions and featured photographs and histories of the various units that took part in the Persian Gulf War. The card did mention the 9th PSYOP Battalion on the left inside folded part of the card. It said:
At the front lines, the PSYOP loudspeaker teams of the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne) operated with units engaged in combat. The loudspeaker teams were configured to support infantry, armor, or air-assault units. With powerful broadcast equipment they delivered ultimatums and surrender directions in Arabic, encouraging the surrender of hundreds of Iraqi soldiers.
Jeffrey B. Jones and Jack N. Summe mention the 9th PSYOP Battalion in Psychological Operations in Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Urban Freedom Landpower Essay Series, August 1997.
Within days of the Iraqi invasion, Arabic-speaking tactical PSYOP loudspeaker teams from the battalion were deployed with the initial elements of the 82nd Airborne Division. A team of military and civilian PSYOP specialists, led by the 4th PSYOP Group Commander, traveled to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, to begin development of a strategic PSYOP plan for the Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command (USCINCCENT). Initial product development began for both operational and tactical PSYOP as well as preparations for the deployment of the regionally-oriented 8th PSYOP Battalion, the purely tactical 9th PSYOP Battalion supplementing XVIII Airborne Corps, and all the print, radio, television and communications capabilities of the 4th PSYOP Group. By late August, the team had Central Command's approval on 64 strategic initiatives which were in tum forwarded to Washington for inter-agency review and approval.
A loudspeaker equipped Humvee
Frank L Goldstein and Benjamin F. Findley Jr. mention loudspeaker operations in Psychological Operations Principals and Case Studies, Air University Press, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, 1996:
The following account by Staff Sergeant Edward Fivel, 9th PSYOP Battalion, illustrates the operation of his loudspeaker team and its unusual effectiveness.
We had to convince the company commander of our parent unit to let us PSYOP people try ousting those Iraqi soldiers from their underground bunker. We kept telling him there was nothing to lose by trying, especially since the pounding all morning by the 101st Airborne Division hadn't done anything.
So the three of us gave it a try. We arranged for the Blackhawk helicopter to ride us to the site of the bunker and we began dropping surrender leaflets. Then we returned to base and found that nothing had happened-no surrenders, no movement, nothing.
We tried something else. We hopped back on the Blackhawk and returned to the bunker area, this time intending to use our loudspeaker system and a taped message from headquarters. We picked a spot on the ground about 800 meters from the bunker and started broadcasting. Nothing happened. I guess we couldn't be heard over the loud racket of our helicopter.
We asked the pilot to land us on the ground not too far from the bunker. With what you might call serious reservations, he eventually landed us, feeling a little protected, I guess, by the three Apaches and one Blackhawk whopping above our heads and to our right. He took off immediately, saying he'd stay in contact by radio.
The three of us were now on the ground. We were facing this enemy bunker that Intelligence says has 20 enemy soldiers who might be waiting to greet us. We picked up our loudspeaker equipment - the transmitter and the speaker - and ran about 200 meters closer to the bunker. We sat the equipment down and again started playing the cassette surrender tapes. Still no movement.
Then our team leader decided to lift up the speaker. He lifted it and began carrying it even closer to the bunker. He carried that speaker exactly 50 more meters. I knew the distance because that's the length of the electrical cord he stretched out to the end, 50 meters. The team leader was very close to the enemy now.
Then he suddenly stood straight up and pushed the speaker high over his head [like some kind of statue showing a big trophy to a crowd far away]. I told the other guy back with me watching all this, our communications man, to quit playing the taped message and go live, and to keep doing it. The guy had just gotten out of language school, so he could handle the Iraq language pretty well. He talked loudly through the speaker in four message sets.
That worked. A crackling voice came through our radio from the helicopter pilot who was still hanging up there with us. The pilot had spotted some movement. Then we saw Iraq soldiers begin climbing out of the bunker in front of our team leader. They were waving little white flags and carrying no weapons.
That was about it for us in that scene because our pilot said over the radio that he was landing to pick us up so he could refuel back at 101 division base. He was running real low on fuel. We didn't see how many Iraqis came out of that bunker; although we had counted up to about 20 of them before we took off.
When we got back to base, the three of us and our pilot began receiving weird congratulations. We weren't sure why. It seems that over 400 Iraqis eventually came out of the bunker, all without a fight.
For the next couple of days every helicopter the 101 had was flying back and forth carrying Iraqi soldiers from the bunker to a forward prisoner-of-war camp. The camp must have been getting pretty crowded. The big thing we realized later was that these actions had kicked off the Hail Mary in the ground war because they fixed the Iraqi units on line in front of us, letting our end-runners in the other division make their wide sweep around the main Iraqi force.
A Typical Coalition Desert Storm Leaflet
Jones and Summe depict this leaflet in their essay. The front depicts right side an Iraqi soldier holding this invitation leaflet surrendering to a Saudi soldier. The next scene at the left depicts three happy Iraqi prisoners feasting at a POW camp beneath a Saudi Arabian flag. A bowl of fruit contains bananas because the Coalition was informed that the Iraqis loved bananas. The back of the leaflet depicts the symbol of the Coalition and the text:
From Headquarters, Joint Forces Command and Theater of Operations:
You are invited to join the Joint Forces and enjoy full Arab hospitality, security, safety and medical care. You will be returned to your homes as soon as the situation that Saddam has placed us in has ended.
My brother Iraqi soldier ... this invitation is open to you and your comrade soldiers. We hope you will accept this invitation as soon as you have the opportunity.
Commander, Joint Forces and Theater of Operations
A larger leaflet was produced and it is believed that 40,000 were dropped on 18 January, and perhaps another 100,000 on 20 and 21 January. A smaller version of the leaflet was prepared and it is believed 60,000 were dropped on 24 February and another 60,000 on 25 February.
An article by Major Robert B. Adolph Jr. entitled PSYOP: Gulf War Force Multiplier in the December 1992 issue of Army says about the 9th PSYOP Battalion:
Serving primarily tactical commanders, Active and Reserve Components Loudspeaker Teams were assigned throughout U.S. ground combat forces to provide tactical support for ground units and to persuade Iraqi soldiers to surrender. Loudspeaker teams came from the active components 9th and 6th PSYOP Battalions An entire Iraqi Battalion surrendered to a 1st Cavalry Division helicopter when the attached loudspeaker team broadcast that Death from above was eminent.
An operational detachment from the 9th PSYOP Battalion was attached to the 5th Special Forces Group. That group, along with its PSYOP assets was later broken down and attached to Syrian, Egyptian and Kuwaiti ground combat units.
[In 1992] The 9th PSYOP Battalion possesses all the loudspeaker teams currently available in the active component for support of Americas entire ground combat force, including the Marine Corps.
Psychological Support to Operation Allied Force
The 4th PSYOP Group published a magazine entitled Psychological Support to Operation Allied Force in 1999. It gave the history of the U.S. PSYOP effort in the war against the ethnic cleansing ordered by the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. It regard to the 9th PSYOP Battalion is said in part:
As a result of the escalating Serb atrocities in Kosovo and the Kosovar Albanian refugee crisis, soldiers of the 9th PSYOP Battalion deployed to Tirana, Albania, to serve as part of Task Force Hawk and Joint Task Force Shining Hope, to enhance force protection and provide information to displaced persons housed in refugee camps, as well as to facilitate their resettlement following the cessation of the air campaign.
Although the 6th POB formed the core of the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF) at the Warrior Preparation Center, near Ramstein Air Base, Germany, the 9th POB soldiers augmented the staff of the Product Development Center (PDC). 9th POB soldiers assisted in the development of products in the PDC.
PSYOP Loudspeaker Teams in Kosovo
Army Field Manual FM 3-05.302 discusses the advantages and disadvantages of loudspeakers in depth. It says in part:
Loudspeaker operations are an extension of face-to-face communication and can have an immediate impact on a target audience. During combat operations, loudspeakers are the most effective PSYOP medium in high-intensity conflict or civil disorder environments. They can provide immediate and direct contact with a target audience. As a result, tactical PSYOP rely heavily upon loudspeaker operations in high-intensity conflict or civil disorder environments. Loudspeakers transmit speeches, music, or sound effects to the audience. Tapes, minidisks, and CDs are preferred when conducting loudspeaker operations, because of their superior audio quality. Live performers are used whenever the situation necessitates a broadcast that has not been prerecorded.
The advantages of employing loudspeakers should be considered during mission planning, such as flexibility. Loudspeakers give a supported commander the ability to address several target audiences with different messages in a short time. They also allow the supported commander the option of sending the Tactical PSYOP Team in dismounted or mounted.
Through the use of vehicles or rotary-wing aircraft, the supported commander can quickly and effectively maneuver the Tactical PSYOP Team on the battlefield.
Climatic conditions and enemy forces are the most common limiting factors to consider when planning loudspeaker operations. Other limitations include vulnerability to hostile fire. Because of the proximity of Tactical PSYOP Teams to the target audience during loudspeaker broadcasts, hostile fire is a high threat. Tactical PSYOP Teams should make sure this threat is considered when planning all loudspeaker operations. Tactical PSYOP Teams often require security elements with them. Broadcast positions should also be locations that provide as much cover and concealment without compromising the quality or effectiveness of the broadcast. Loudspeakers are affected by weather and terrain. Wind can both adversely and positively affect loudspeaker broadcasts. Wind carries sound if it is blowing in the same direction as the broadcast. If it is blowing in the opposite direction, it will limit the range and effectiveness.
A Mine Warning Leaflet
The Allies also produced mine-warning leaflets. One depicts seven different explosive devices and has a bright red triangle with the word "Danger." Another shows a childs foot about to step on a mine or a child about to touch a half-buried mine. The text on the leaflet above is:
Mines and unexploded bombs can kill! Danger! Do not try to handle these explosives; immediately report them to the local military forces.
Bravo Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion deployed one tactical PSYOP Detachment and one Product Development Detachment (PDD) in February 1999 in order to support upcoming operations in Kosovo. The PPD was initially deployed to support the 1st Infantry Division for possible ground operations in Kosovo. This detachment was based in Wuerzburg, Germany and developed products for the ground campaign, concentrating primarily on posters and handbills. These products were designed to enhance the security of U.S. forces in Kosovo, mine awareness programs, the success of U.S. and Allied forces in the goals of halting hostile Yugoslavian actions in Kosovo, refugee control and repatriation operations.
A leaflet that uses the photo of a gruff Milosevic has the question on the front:
All the right answers?
The back has a chart with three questions and little boxes where the finder can check yes or no. The text is:
Tens of thousands of Kosovar refugees all tell similar stories of mass deportation, rape, murder and destruction by Serb authorities. Are they all lying?
If Kosovar refugees are fleeing NATO aggression, would they really flee through the mountains to refugee centers in areas protected by NATO?
Are the Serb people willing to risk increasing isolation and economic collapse by supporting Milosevics policies in Kosovo-Metohija?
MILOSEVIC ANSWERS YES TO ALL THESE QUESTIONS. DOES HE REALLY ANSWER FOR YOU?
This leaflet was coded Questionnaire. 2.2 Million of these leaflets were printed and disseminated. I have two varieties of this leaflet. In the first, the red color on the front and the black text on the back are a bit more prominent than in the second. The darker variety is also about 5 mm longer and taller than the lighter version.
In March 1999, Bravo Company was relocated to the Warrior Preparation Center in Germany to become part of the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force. There, its soldiers worked on creating products to decrease support for Slobodan Milosevic and encourage the hostile Yugoslav forces to leave Kosovo.
Operation Shining Hope Bumper Sticker
At the end of March and early April 1999 Bravo Company was attached to Joint Task Force Shining Hope. Stickers identifying NATO and U.S. relief efforts were designed and produced by the PDD. These stickers were attached to NATO and U.S. relief packages and also to vehicles working in direct support of refugee operations in Albania.
On 26 April, Bravo Company deployed forward to Tirana, Albania, to begin in-theater operations in support of refugee relief.
In total, soldiers from the 9th PSYOP Battalion compiled over 46 products. The PSYOP products produced by Company B were disseminated daily for a period of six weeks in national newspapers, television and radio mediums.
Allied Force has a Force Structure Chart that states that A Company of the 9th PSYOP Battalion was part of the Product Development Detachment but the unit is not mentioned in the general narration of the campaign against Serbia.
Anti-VJ Leaflet 03-K-06-L001
Your Blood Their Rewards
On 29 May, Pentagon officials announced that the Allies were trying to exploit friction between Yugoslav Army troops and the Interior Ministry Police by exacerbating the situation. 2.7 million copies of this leaflet were dropped with blood red text on the front:
Your blood Their rewards.
Text on the back of the leaflet is:
Attention VJ Troops! While you endure NATO bombing in the field, low of fuel and supplies, unpaid and past your service obligation, the MUP return home to count the profits from their confiscated "booty." They draw regular pay, use your equipment at your expense, and investigate you for not following their orders. Meanwhile, you have been drafted and forced from your families to wage a war which you know is dishonorable and wrong. The only thing you share is blame for the MUPs atrocities.
The police were considered loyal to President Slobodan Milosevic. They were better equipped and often receive better treatment than their army counterparts. The inequality of treatment created a long-standing animosity between the two services.
During the 78-day bombing campaign, a total of 104.5 million leaflets were dropped. The thousands of Yugoslav Federal Army (VJ) soldiers within Kosovo as well as the civilian population throughout Serbia, were routinely targeted by PSYOP products.
First Sergeant Jorge Altamirano
1SG Jorge Altamirano standing next to his Hummer. This was at the reception station in Macedonia. He told me:
We had to put KFOR on our vehicles before we were allowed to convoy to Camp Bondsteel. Since we were not prepared for the KFOR branding, we used paint brushes and white paint. On one vehicle, we had to use masking tape. As you can see, we also had to wear flack vest, and the Fritz helmet. Our Sergeant Major used to call it The dome of Obedience.
Former First Sergeant of A Company of the 9th PSYOP Battalion Jorge Altamirano shared some of his memories of deployment to Kosovo. He pointed out that the 9th PSYOP Battalion was there before the resolution was approved. They were on the front line ready to go forward if Milosevic did not withdraw his troops. Fortunately, Milosevic did withdraw.
PSYOP Soldiers hand out Leaflets
U.S. forces entered Kosovo in June 1999 with the primary objective of supporting Operations Noble Anvil and Allied Force and bringing peace to that troubled land. Both Noble Anvil and Allied Force are generally the same operation. Noble Anvil was the United States contribution to the overall NATO operation, Allied Force. The reason for that is that it is United States policy to not relinquish control of certain strategic assets such as B-52s, stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, and special operations forces. Because of that, a US Joint task force was organized to support NATO.
Jorge and local children:
Kids and Me: I enjoyed going out and seeing the town of Urosavech. The kids were curious about the US Soldiers. However, some kids were not so happy to see us. They would throw rocks at the convoys or drop them from bridges. You always had to be on high alert when going under a bridge.
The task, code named Operation Joint Guardian, proved exceedingly difficult. Entrenched ethnic hatred between Albanians and Serbians continued to fuel the conflict, and the general devastation continued for many weeks.
Members of the 9th PSYOP Bn and the Norwegian Kosovo Force Combat Camera Team discuss operations near Mucibaba, Kosovo prior to the relaxation of the Ground Safety Zone (GSZ). May 23, 2001 (Photo by SSG Bronco A. Suzuki)
The initial concept of operation was to establish a Combined joint task force to support NATO peace enforcement missions in Kosovo; Contract civilian radio and TV stations in Kosovo and neighboring countries to broadcast NATO messages within Kosovo; Contract civilian newspapers and magazines to publish NATO messages in their publications for distribution within Kosovo; and to provide Tactical PSYOP forces to US Multinational Brigade. The regional NATO headquarters (Allied Forces Southern Region) located in Naples Italy essentially ran the air war for NATO.
Task Force Falcon, a brigade-sized task force, was created on 9 June 1999 under the command of Brigadier General Bantz John Craddock using selected elements of Task Force Hawk, sent to Albania to provide support for Operation Allied Force during the Kosovo War. These units were deployed to Camp Able Sentry in Macedonia on that day, and were sent into Kosovo under Operation Joint Guardian, the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo, on 11 June.
A Poster to warn citizens about explosions
A Company of the 9th POB deployed to Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, in order to conduct PSYOP in support of the Multinational Brigade East (MNB-E: U.S. Forces) to prepare the population of Kosovo for the introduction of NATO forces, to create support for the operation, reduce civilian interference with MNB-E operations, reinforce existing force protection measures and reinforce acceptance of future operations.
Some of the various programs and missions were:
Crowd control; Evenhanded treatment; no preference; Freedom of movement for all; Information of Military Technical Agreement and Undertaking; Force Protection; a Weapons Turn-In program; a Unity of Effort (working with Russians); Mine awareness campaign; Curb the development of unreasonable expectations of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo; Repatriation of property; Build up faith in KFOR and a Return to normalcy.
One of the radio stations used to support the mission was Radio Ferizaj: It was used to put out PSYOP messages. It sometimes featured U.S. Army guest speakers and generally was very Albanian oriented. It would speak on development, but was eventually taken over by the Public Relations Office. A second station was Radio Gnjilane: It had the same general format but a better mix of population.
Local citizens welcome the Americans with graffiti
Tactical PSYOP Company located with the US Brigade at Camp Bondsteel had the missions of print and loudspeaker operations and limited radio production. They were augmented by the 3rd POB printing and communication assets.
A Company, 9th PSYOP Battalionn Change of Command Ceremony as the 9th was leaving Kosovo
Haiti Operation Uphold Democracy
The President Aristide Leaflet
The first leaflet dropped before the American intervention into Haiti. It depicts a formal black and white portrait of President Aristide with a Haitian flag in the background. The back of this leaflet has five lines of blue text in Creole:
THE SUN OF DEMOCRACY. THE LIGHT OF JUSTICE. THE WARMTH OF RECONCILIATION WITH THE RETURN OF PRESIDENT ARISTIDE.
The New York Times of 15 September 1994 featured a Reuters photograph of hundreds of the above leaflets showing deposed President Aristide on the streets of an unidentified Haitian city. The caption is, "A U.S. plane dropped leaflets in Haiti supporting the exiled President." The British Broadcasting Company announced on 14 September that two million leaflets were dropped over Port-au-Prince and two other cities asking the population to support the US invasion and demanding the return of Haiti's ousted President Jean-Bertand Aristide.
In December 1990, the people of Haiti elected former priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide as President with 67% of the vote. He took office in February 1991, but the military overthrew him in September of the same year. Joseph Nerette, who held power with the help of the armed forces, replaced him. In June 1992, Marc Bazin, who ruled as Prime Minister, not as president, replaced Nerette. In June 1993, Bazin resigned and the United Nations passed Resolution 970 which imposed an oil and arms embargo aimed at forcing the Haitian military to the negotiating table. As a direct result of the embargo, over 21,000 Haitians left the poverty-stricken country, many attempting to illegally enter the United States.
Loudspeaker Team in Haiti
General Raoul Cedras, head of the Haitian armed forces, signed an agreement on 3 July 1993, which approved the return of President Aristide by 30 October 1993. These were known as the Governors Island Accords and consisted of 10 statements. On 8 October, the USS Harlan County carrying peacekeepers to help with the transition of power attempted to dock in Port-au Prince. An armed mob turned the ship away.
President Clinton, infuriated, authorized Joint Task Force 180 under the 18th Airborne Corps to develop plans to intervene in Haiti. The political and human rights climate deteriorated as the military sanctioned repression, assassination, torture, and rape to terrorize and control the Haitian people. In May 1994, the military appointed Emile Jonassaint the provisional president. The United Nations and the United States countered this illegal action by introducing United Nations Resolution 917.
PSYOP soldiers conducted face-to-face meetings with the local communities
Plans were made for either a military invasion or a peaceful entry into Haiti. Operations Plan (OPLAN) 2370 was the military offensive with a massive invasion from air and sea with overwhelming force. OPLAN 2380 was developed for a peaceful permissive entry into Haiti. The operation's deployment phase began on 18 September 1994 when the president, through the secretary of defense, issued the order to execute OPLAN 2370.
American troops entered the country peacefully and without bloodshed. The United States military and the multi-national force eventually numbered over 23,000 troops from over a dozen nations. General Cedras and his military staff left Haiti and President Aristide returned on 15 October 1994. The multinational force recovered nearly 33,000 weapons through buybacks, discovering caches, and roadblocks. The flood of refugees from Haiti, 3,000 per day in July 1994, virtually stopped. The United States repatriated more than 13,000 Haitians home.
Patriotic Gummed Label
In many wars going back to WWII, American PSYOP personnel produced patriotic gummed labels that could be placed on walls or tables or wherever people congregated to pass on the American message. Such a label was prepared in Haiti and given to civilians to place wherever they wanted to show that they believed in the friendship of the United States and Haiti. The small 4 x 4-inch and a second variety which is 3 x 3-inches label show the two flags in full color.
A PSYOP Soldier hands out leaflets to civilians in Haiti
We dont know much about what the 9th PSYOP Battalion did in Haiti. I have few records of their activity. I do know that Company A of the 9th PSYOP Battalion was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division for the take-down mission. Support of the 10th Mountain Division went to Company B, 9th PSYOP Battalion, which assigned Tactical PSYOP Teams (TPT) to Port au Prince and Cape Haitiens. The major American forces involved in the peaceful occupation were from the 18th Airborne Corps and the 10th Mountain Division. The PSYOP units were part of a Joint Psychological Operations Task Force. They included parts of the 4th PSYOP Group, 2nd United States Army Reserve PSYOP Group, 1st PSYOP Battalion, and the 9th PSYOP Battalion.
LTC Stephen M. Epstein, LTC Robert S. Cronin and Col James G. Pulley wrote an article in Special Warfare, July, 1994, Vol 7, No 3., entitled JTF Haiti: A United Nations Foreign Internal Defense Mission. They said in part:
Haiti offered an ideal environment for PSYOP employment: Literacy is low, and Haitian society relies on word-of-mouth communication. Official broadcasts and publications are viewed with suspicion. Rumors are the preferred source of information, and their credibility is judged by how well the listener knows the person repeating them.
A military information support team of 10 soldiers from the 9th Battalion was scheduled to deploy on D-21 to begin an information campaign for three audiences. To the Haitian military, it would communicate the benefits of professionalization. To the police, it would communicate the desirability of separation from the army. And to the population at large, it would communicate confidence in the democratic process. A comprehensive publicity program using radio, television and newspapers was designed to support the medical-and engineering-assistance projects. The U.S. Information Service, staffed by only two public-affairs officers, prepared to welcome the members of the team and to make its facilities available to them.
Unfortunately, the deployment of PSYOP personnel was delayed first by the U.S. country team in Haiti and later by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The reluctance to use PSYOP stemmed partly from a concern that psychological operations would be perceived badly by the international community and partly from uneasiness that PSYOP might be associated with propaganda. Changes in terminology were debated: The military information support team was renamed an information support team and, finally, a public-awareness liaison, or PAL. Perhaps, too, the country team and the Office of the Secretary of Defense were guided by a faith that the truth would be its own best advertisement. In fact, the truth was never communicated. The first four soldiers of PAL did not arrive in Haiti until D-1, the day before the USS Harlan County attempted to dock in Port-au-Prince. This was long after any effective information-management actions could have been taken. By then, the opponents of President Aristide were firmly in control of the flow of information, and the U.S. and the U.N. simply did not compete.
TPT advised locals to refrain from violence
PSYOP Support to Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY
The 4th PSYOP Group booklet PSYOP Support to Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY adds:
Tactical PSYOP Teams would eventually conduct over 760 ground PSYOP missions covering an area from the northern tip of Haiti near Port-de-Paix to the southwestern city of Jeremie. Aerial loudspeaker teams flew 67 missions in support of ground operations, facilitating PSYOP dissemination in the rugged and mountainous regions bordering the Gulf of Gonave and in other denied areas.
Haiti loudspeaker team
The air-dropped Radio for Haiti bought in bulk from Radio Shack
From 13 to 17 December, roughly seven million leaflets were released over Port au Prince, Cap Haitien, and Les Cayes the Air Force dropped roughly 10,000 radios across parts of Haiti Both Joint Task Force 180 and 190 incorporated Tactical PSYOP Teams (TPTs) with loudspeakers.
Wherever the Americans go there is always a money for weapons program. The quickest way to get weapons off the streets and out of the hands of gunmen is to simply buy them. This 5.5 x 8.5-inch cardboard handout is written in Creole on one side and English on the other. When the civilian brings in a weapon the soldier records the time and place and as you can see the payment was 750 gourdes for a handgun, 1500 gourdes for an automatic rifle, etc. On the Haitian-language side the citizens are told to bring in their weapons from 2 to 24 October 1994, from 0800 to 1600 daily.
Port au Prince represented a key area for such units as Brigade PSYOP Support Element (BPSE) 960 from B Company 9th PSYOP Battalion, and BPSE 910 from A Company 9th PSYOP Battalion. On 26 September, BPSE 960 made loudspeaker broadcasts promoting Aristide and the Multi-National Forces and advertising a weapons for cash program.
A Haitian plants a seed, waters and then sees a healthy tree. The back of this 5.5 x 8.5-inch cardboard handout is blank. The text is:
How do you grow your nation?
Let us all work together so the future of our children can be beautiful.
In the Special Operations History magazine Veritas, Volume 11, No. 1, 2015, Dr. Jared Tracy wrote about Haiti in an article entitled A True Force Multiplier Psychological Operations in Operation Uphold Democracy, 1994-1995. He mentions some of the PSYOP loudspeaker messages:
Encouraged pro-Cedras militants to lay down their arms; Neighborhood crime watch; preventing Haitian-on-Haitian crime violence; political reconciliation; No to violence, no to vengeance, yes to reconciliation; Support Aristide; Turn in you weapons for cash.
Return to Haiti
The 9th PSYOP Battalion returned to Haiti once again, this time to help the people in their time of need.
On Tuesday 12 January 2010, at five oclock in the afternoon, a massive earthquake struck Haiti. It left over 300,000 people dead and more than one million people homeless. More than three million were affected in some way. By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake. Death toll estimates range from 100,000 to about 160,000. The earthquake caused major damage in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and other cities in the region.
More than 20 countries sent military personnel to the country, with Canada, the United States, and the Dominican Republic providing the largest contingents. The supercarrier USS Carl Vinson arrived with 600,000 emergency food rations, 100,000 ten-litre water containers, and an enhanced wing of 19 helicopters; 130,000 liters of drinking water were transferred to shore on the first day.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) realized that an effective method of two-way communication with disaster affected people was needed. Radio and TV broadcasts, posters, leaflet distribution, loudspeaker trucks and face-to-face discussions were all used. The 9th Psychological Operations Battalion met the call.
Members of the 9th PSYOP Battalion along with their equipment flew in a USAF C-17 Globemaster to Port-au-Prince, Haiti in support of the earthquake relief efforts, 27 January 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts)
The earthquake caused widespread destruction and killed over 300,000 people
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake, with an epicenter approximately 16 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred, 12 January 2010.
Nearly 40 members of the 4th Psychological Operations Group's 3rd and 9th Battalions-- depart from Fort Bragg, N.C., Jan. 27 to assist in the ongoing post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti
Solar/hand-cranked powered radios were given away
The U.S. military delivered 50,000 hand-held radios to Haiti for survivors of the earthquakes. The joint task force distributed the radios to the public. Survivors can use the radios to receive news and important information concerning international relief efforts. The PSYOP troops worked closely with the Haitian government to broadcast public safety messages for survivors on FM frequencies of 92.4 mhz and 104.1 mhz and the AM radio frequency of 1030 khz. The radios were powered by solar energy and hand cranks instead of batteries, a potentially helpful asset to a nation short on basic supplies. The units also have lights and cellphone chargers.
U.S. soldier explains how to use the solar/hand-cranked radio
The U.S. Southern Command funded and Special Operations Command contracted for the purchase of the 50,000 hand held radios to distribute to the Haitian people. The 9th PSYOP Battalion Military Information Support Team (MIST) in coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development began distribution of these radios immediately. 60,000 stickers, with the frequencies on them, and 60,000 leaflets that demonstrate (with pictures) how to operate the radio were distributed with the radios. This hand held radio initiative was part of an overall effort to reach the people of Haiti via FM/AM broadcasting of Voice of America programming and Combined Joint Task Force Haiti public service announcements.
Sergeant Jimmy Covas, C Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion, draws pictures for two Haitian boys while their mother waits in line for the food at a distribution point in Port Au Prince, Haiti. (U.S. Army Photo by MSG Martin Cervantez)
Immediately following the events of 11 September 2001, the Battalion rapidly deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and then in 2003 deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom. The battalion remains engaged at all levels in support of OEF and OIF as well as contingency operations worldwide.
Operation Enduring Freedom
Loudspeaker Team accompanies a patrol
On 11 September 2001, terrorists of al-Qaida (the Base), some trained and financed by Saudi Arabian exile-in-hiding Osama bin Laden, attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC. On 12 September, the day following the attack, Tactical PSYOP Detachment 940 began target audience analysis of Afghanistan, including the Afghan populace, the Taliban, and al-Qaida. On 4 October 2001 a 95-man Joint Psychological Operations Task Force was activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and placed under the operational control of the Central Command. The 9th PSYOP Battalion (sometimes called the Dissemination battalion at that time) deployed to Kuwait that same month to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
9th POB tactical team pose with helicopter equipped with loudspeakers
On 1 November, the 9th PSYOP Battalion Commander told a staff sergeant to get ready to go to Afghanistan to support the 5th Special Forces Group. Twelve days later Tactical PSYOP Detachment (TPD) 930 was on its way. The team consisted of 13 men from the 9th and a 9-man support element from the 3rd PSYOP Battalion. They were to operate the Deployable Print Production Center that could produce PSYOP products quickly at a forward base.
The Special Operations System B (SOMS B) ground-based PSYOP radio in Afghanistan. The DRASH tents attached to the vehicles are the operational areas for the system set up in Bagram.
PSYOP elements were busy setting up radio stations in Afghanistan. One of the radio specialists from Ft. Bragg told me:
The Special Operations System B (SOMS B) was the first ground-based PSYOP asset in Afghanistan. There was a SOMS B in Bagram and one in Kandahar . Initially broadcasting was done on AM and FM. Eventually, all broadcasting was migrated to shortwave (SW). The three short wave radio frequencies are 9325, 9345 and 9365 kHz.The stations broadcast from 0030 to 1830 with the heading in Pashto Da Sola Radyo day, and in Dari Inja Solh-e Radyoe, (You are listening to Peace Radio.)
The antenna field was very crowded in the beginning because all three (AM, FM, and SW) antennas had been set up in the same small area. The AM antenna was a discone antenna supported by four masts, which were only 50 feet off the ground at the highest point.
Hamid Karzai Poster AFC1058
This is a full-sized poster measuring 11 x 17-inches with text in Dari and Pashto. It depicts President Karzai at the left and the Afghan flag at right. The text is:
The major success of Afghanistan is this; that Afghan people despite different political ideas, tribes and personalities consider their country secure and they have returned to rebuild their future.
Interim President Karzai had told the Americans very early that their broadcasts were found wanting. ARSOF in Afghanistan notes:
The Pashtun leader knew that radio broadcasts in various dialects would have a greater effect than leaflets. He had listened to the programs broadcast by the Air Force EC- 130 Commando Solo aircraft and told Major Barstow that the music was very effective, but the BBC and VOA had better-quality programs. Karzai urged Major Barstow (C Company, 9th Psychological Operations Battalion) to make the messages more forceful. The people needed to be told what they should do about the Taliban and al-Qaeda who were still in their midst.
Ranger Calling Card Leaflet Freedom Endures
At 1845 (Zulu Time) on 19 October, 199 elite American Rangers and four PSYOP soldiers night-assaulted Objective Rhino on Vengeance Drop Zone. This was a remote Desert Landing Strip approximately 105 miles Southwest of Kandahar. The site had already been hit with 2,000-pound bombs by a B-2 Stealth bomber and strafed by AC-130 Spectre gunships. This was the first Ranger combat drop since Operation Just Cause in Panama. The mission was to gain intelligence about the objective's airstrip and environs to determine its value as a future base. A week later, U.S. Marines established Camp Rhino at that site. Kandahar was the home of the Taliban spiritual leader, Mullah Omar.
Staff Sergeant (SSG) Joel Tejeda, 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (PSYOP), uncovers a weapon found hidden in a house at Objective Pickett, located in the Paktika province of Afghanistan, during Operation Mountain Sweep. Operation Mountain sweep was the largest US Military offensive in Afghanistan since Operation Anaconda
In this article we mention Tactical PSYOP Detachments. This is the makeup of such a team from
the 2005 U.S. Army Field Manual FM 3-05.302
The mission is explored in greater detail in the book ARSOF in Afghanistan. It tells of Tactical PSYOP Detachment (TPD) 940, B Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion (POB) training and rehearsing with the Rangers for five days prior to the operation against the objective they called "Rhino." Four of the Psywarriors jumped from MC-130 Combat Talon aircraft into combat with the Rangers. Some of the text is:
TPD 940 conducted final planning, underwent several inspections, and participated in detailed rehearsals of actions at the objective. Inspections included personnel, weapons, ammunition, and combat equipment as well as PSYOP product scripts and mini-disk copies of the scripts in Urdu, Pashto, and Arabic that would be used during the operation. The 6th Product Development Detachment (PDD) had also prepared leaflets that were to be left on the objective. They were to communicate Americas resolve to stop terrorism and let the enemy know that it had been there.
We set up our loudspeaker and began to broadcast our first message. It told anyone in the area that U.S. forces were present and they need to exit the buildings, stay away from the airfield, drop any weapons, and get down on the ground if they wanted to survive. We played the message for about 5 minutes.
We were told to assist in searching the building for any intelligence and weapons, and to be watchful for booby traps. We found a Soviet RPK machine gun with a belt of ammo in the feed tray, expended shell casings, belt links on the ground, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with 10 to 12 rounds nearby, and two AK-47 assault rifles. The rooms had articles of clothing strewn about, mattresses and bedding, and other personal effects. After collecting the weapons, we distributed about 400 leaflets in and around the building.
A Loudspeaker Operation
US Army Specialist Adam McDaniel, Alpha/Company, of the 9th PSYOP Battalion, sets up a loudspeaker system in order to broadcast non-civilian interference messages to the local people in the town of Narizah, Afghanistan, during Operation Mountain Sweep, part of ongoing operations in Afghanistan conducted in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Radio Leaflet AFD06
This leaflet depicts a radio tower and two radios. Text is identical on both sides in Pashto and Dari. The leaflet states:
0500-1000. 1700-2200 daily.
864, 1107, 8700 kilohertz.
The leaflet tells the Afghan finder what radio stations to dial in order to hear the latest news from the coalition forces. Part of the PSYOP plan was to tell the Afghan people why their country was being bombed. The radio broadcasts stress that this is simply a war against terrorism and not against the people of Afghanistan. The Taliban's main Kabul radio station, Voice of Sharia, (Islamic Law), was taken off the air by an American cruise missile several days earlier.
U.S. Army Sergeant Kris Baker, Alpha Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion, allows the village elder of a refugee camp located near Kandahar, Afghanistan, to use the loudspeaker to tell refugees that coalition forces are at the camp to provide medical and humanitarian assistance, during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Weapon of Choice continues: After the fall of Mazar-e-Sharif, Team 922, A Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion, was the first PSYOP team to reach the town. They unloaded loudspeakers and played tapes in Pashto and Dari. One of the staff sergeants met an Afghan woman who had one of the American airdropped transistor radios. She told him that it was the first radio she had heard in seven years. The team requested more radios for the residents of the town Broadcast media proved very effective during the PSYOP campaign. More than 7,500 small battery-powered transistor radios were distributed both by airdrop and by hand. Simple leaflets told the Afghan people which numbered channels to tune to for the American-produced PSYOP programs. The Afghans loved the programs because it was the first time in six years they had been able to listen to music. Feedback indicated that the PSYOP leaflets and radio broadcasts were important contributors to the Afghan population withdrawing its support from the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Charlie Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion April 2003
9th POB Tactical PSYOP Team sit on top of a loudspeaker equipped track vehicle
Tactical PSYOP Team patrols the streets of Baghdad's Karada District countering Muqtada al-Sadr supporters
Soldiers from the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne) deployed to Iraq in July of 2006. Company C, 9th Psychological Operations Battalion was at that time only tactical psychological operations company and the only US Army Special Operations Command company-sized element deployed for almost 15 months. The Company served with the II Marine Expeditionary Force, Multi-National Force-West and played a pivotal role in shaping the battle space and facilitating the transition of Al Anbar from the haven of the insurgency to a model province with significant declines in violence. Elements of Company C began returning from the deployment in October 2007.
Staff Sergeant Terry Dahl assigned to the 9th PSYOP Battalion, holds a real 9 mm pistol in his right hand and a toy 9 mm pistol in his left hand. He gives a demonstration at the police station in Seddah, Iraq, on 1 January 2008 to show how similar the real and fake weapons look. The Coalition Forces asked shop-owners to stop selling the toy guns to children because they could be mistaken for terrorists and killed.
U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 9th PSYOP Battalion move to their next mission objective after a UH-60 helicopter lands during an air assault mission in Yusifiyah, Iraq, on 11 May 2008.
IZD-001 is an information radio leaflet. It depicts a map of Iraq at the center and radio towers at left and right. The same message appears on both front and back. The text is:
Information Radio - 756 KHZ AM, 693 KHZ AM , 9715 KHZ SW, 11292 KHZ SW, and 100.4 MHZ FM, 1800-2300 Daily.
Radio Leaflet Dissemination
A Charlie Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion soldier hands out leaflets to Iraqi civilians providing information about where they can hear information on the radio.
IZD027 was dropped a number of times during the no-fly zone operations over Iraq. It depicts school children visiting the Shaheed (Martyrs Monument) at the front-right of the full-color leaflet. This quarter-billion dollar blue-tile monument commemorates the Iraqi dead in the Iraq-Iran war. At the left of the leaflet, Coalition jets are shown firing rockets at Iraqi tanks hiding near the monument. The text on the front of the leaflet is:
The Coalition will destroy and viable targets.
The Coalition does not wish to destroy your landmarks.
Text on the back of the leaflet is:
Coalition forces do not wish to harm the noble people of Iraq. To insure your safety, avoid areas occupied by military personnel.
All Roads lead to Baghdad, USASOC History Office, Ft. Bragg, NC, says about the 9th PSYOP Battalion in Operation Iraqi Freedom:
Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Wests PSYOP support came from B Company, 9th Psychological Operations Battalion. B Company faced a daunting task. Organized to support one task force, it found itself with the mission to support two, each with a different focus and located hundreds of miles apart. To add to the situation, the company was understrength. To support Task Force Dagger, B Company became a multi-component unit (Active and Reserve Forces together) with a Coalition element attached The remainder of the company, primarily the tactical PSYOP teams, deployed in late January and joined Forward Operating Bases 52 and 53 in Kuwait.
A Tactical PSYOP Team from the 9th PSYOP Battalion under Saddams Arms
A Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion
The Arc of Triumph or Hands of Victory are a pair of triumphal arches in central Baghdad, Iraq. Each arch consists of a pair of hands holding crossed swords. The two arches mark the two entrances to Great Celebrations square and the parade ground constructed to commemorate Saddams Victory in the Iran-Iraq war. The arches, which were based on a concept sketch made by president Saddam Hussein used photographs and plaster casts of Saddam's forearms to model for the design of the hands. The arms rest on concrete plinths which make the arms appear to burst up out of the ground. Each plinth holds 2,500 helmets which, Saddam claimed, belonged to Iranian soldiers killed during the war; they are held in nets which spill them onto the ground beneath.
Australian Leaflet IZL-006
Australian leaflet IZL-006 depicts Coalition armor, helicopters, and vehicles on the front. The text in Arabic is:
Coalition forces are here. Coalition forces will outnumber you. Leave now. You cannot win.
The back depicts a dead Iraqi at top and a destroyed building at bottom. Text on the back is:
Leave this area now. You do not have the capability to fight Coalition forces. If you resist, you will die.
To support the Southern mission, the companys Product Development Center deployed to Kuwait. With only one such center in the company, additional support came from an Australian Army Product Development Team. The four-man teams more advanced printing equipment could produce leaflets faster that the American equipment could.
Coalition Posters in Mosul
Sergeant First Class Dain Christensen, of Charlie Company, 9th Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Battalion out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, places anti-terrorist posters over graffiti in Mosul, Iraq on August 16, 2004. PSYOP is patrolling this area of Mosul to battle false propaganda put out by Anti-Iraqi forces. 9th POB are in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
All Roads lead to Baghdad continues:
In the southern area of operations, C Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion moved north with the 3rd Infantry Division.
Leaflet IZG785b depicts Saddam Hussein behind bars. The text is:
Saddam Hussein has been captured
The capture of Saddam Hussein is the decisive moment for the new Iraq.
Now he will face the justice that millions were denied.
Iraq need no longer be afraid of Saddam ruling again
We end this section with one of a series of leaflets showing Saddam behind bars. The Coalition was not gloating. The Iraqi people feared the return of Saddam so it was important to show them that the old dictator was not making a return to power.
PSYOP Humvee drives down Al-Sadoon street in Baghdad warning Iraqis to stay off the street.
In June 2009, Michelle Butzgy wrote an article in Paraglide entitled Fort Bragg Soldiers work at winning hearts and minds around the world. She said about the 9th Battalion:
Sergeant Patrick Vegan of the 9th PSYOP Battalion said:
The 9th PSYOP Battalion, currently assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, has the job of being a liaison between ground forces commanders and the general public of any country they deploy to. We advise the commander on certain ethical, cultural things that they need to be aware of in order to properly do their missions. The 75th Ranger Regiment is a strictly kinetic force, so they're going for high value targets and specific people. We assist them by making sure that the general populations in that building or surrounding buildings are awake and know what is going on.
By letting everyone know what is happening by 'filling the information void' before the action will dispel the rumors that enemy propagandists spread and try to turn the population against U.S. Soldiers. We have interpreters that go in and talk to the neighboring people, the people across the street and people in the house. We also influence them by using loudspeaker systems. We also hand out posters out to the population. We put a face on the mission. Lately, we have Iraqi army and police give out products and they're actually doing the talking. We put the Iraqi face on the mission so they're starting to see their country is taking control so they believe their country is doing the right thing, it's not just us pushing it.
A Company, 9th PSYOP Battalion - March 2007 at Fort Bragg
Research and Innovation
Soldiers from the 9th PSYOP Battalion along with those from the 320th PSYOP Company worked together in the Idaho National Laboratories to test and provide feedback on the future capabilities for the Psychological Operations Regiment. Representative from Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and PSYOP Command also joined the soldiers in testing numerous future capabilities. The Idaho National Laboratories is a Department of Energy site in Idaho Falls, Idaho, that is utilized for different test events for current and future PSYOP capabilities.
Idaho National Laboratories has a National Security Test Range, where full-scale infrastructure systems can be analyzed and tested under real-world conditions. The flexibility of the test range accommodates custom test setups for diverse development and testing campaigns. Their engineers and materials scientists are designing, validating, and manufacturing unique armor prototypes that increase protection while simultaneously reducing weight and production costs. Over the last 25 years, many of the labs armor designs have been used around the world to safeguard people, vehicles, and facilities.
SSG Michael Dickinson II
Staff Seargeant Michael Dickinson II volunteered for the U.S. Army less than a month after graduating from Harper Creek High School, Michigan, in 1998. Dickinson served two tours in Afghanistan and one in Kosovo, and then was assigned to Iraq. On 17 June 2006, on patrol in the city of Ramadi assigned to 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, and nine days away from completing his second tour of duty in the country, a sniper's bullet took his life. The Army honored Dickinson posthumously with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
On 22 March 2018, Ft. Custer Post 257 of the American Legion changed its name to SSGT Michael A. Dickinson II, Post 257 of the American Legion. Post 257 is the first in Michigan and one of a handful in the nation to be named after an Iraq War veteran.
At the Post Dedication, current 9th PSYOP Battalion Command Sergeant Major Jerry Henderson attended from Ft. Bragg. Other retired CSMs were John Turkel and Mick Tilly. Turkels (at the left) last PSYOP assignment was as the Command Sergeant Major of the 1st PSYOP Battalion. Mick Tilly (at the right) was Staff Sergeant Dickinsons Detachment Sergeant when he was first assigned to Ft. Bragg. Tilly's last assignment in PSYOP was as the Command Sergeant Major of 7th PSYOP Battalion.
Sergeant Michael G. Owen
Sergeaant Michael G. Owen, Phoenix, Arizona assigned to the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne), was killed 15 October 2004 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Karabilah, Iraq. Also killed was Specialist Jonathan J. Santos. Their vehicle was attacked while conducting vehicle-mounted loudspeaker operations with the 1st Marine Division; Owen was the leader and Santos was a member of a three-man team.
Specialist Jonathan Santos
Specialist Jonathan Santos, Bellingham, Washington assigned to the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne), was killed on 15 October 2004 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Karabilah, Iraq.
Corporal George A. Lutz
Corporal George A. Lutz, II, Virginia Beach, Virginia, assigned to the Army's 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne), died in Fallujah, Iraq, on 29 December 2005, when his dismounted patrol was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire.
Sergeant Clinton Ruiz
Sergeant Clinton Ruiz, Murrieta, California, assigned to the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne), died of wounds suffered 25 October 2012 when his unit was attacked by small arms fire in Khas Uruzgan, Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom
9th PSYOP Battalion Awards and Decorations
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for Southwest Asia 1990-1991
Company B was awarded:
The Army Superior Unit Award for 1995-1996
Company C was awarded:
Navy Unit Commendation for I Marine Expeditionary Force, 28 February 2006 to 9 February 2007
Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait
Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for IRAQ 2003
The Battalions Campaign Participation Credit includes:
Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait
This ends our very short look at the history of the United States Armys 9th PSYOP Battalion, a unit that has deployed to numerous nations to support legal governments and fight anti-government guerrillas and armed enemies of the United States for over 50 years. Readers who wish to comment or send further information are encouraged to write the author at Sgmbert@hotmail.com.