SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)
Flag of the
During the decade that the Vietnam War was fought, both the Republic of (South) Vietnam (RVN) and the Democratic Republic of (North) Vietnam (DRVN) had numerous allies. The North was aided by the entire Communist Bloc, most noticeably the Soviet Union and the
People's Republicof . They sent men, money and material to keep the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong insurgents in the field. China
Safe Conduct Passdepicting the flags of the United States, Australia,
South Korea, New Zealandand the . These are Philippines
the nations that supplied military support to the
The 1975 Department of the Army publication Allied Participation in Vietnam, by Generals Robert Larsen and James Lawton Collins Jr. adds:
More than forty nations provided assistance to the Republic of Vietnam in its struggle against North Vietnam. This aid ranged from economic and technical assistance to educational and humanitarian contributions. Hundreds of Free World civilians worked in Vietnam as doctors, teachers, and technical specialists. Eight nations also provided military assistance. The flags of these Free World countriesthe United States, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of China, and Spainflew alongside the colors of the Republic of Vietnam at the headquarters of the Free World Military Assistance Forces in Saigon
Some of the nations that helped Vietnam under the Free World assistance program are listed below:
The nations involved in helping the Government of Vietnam were: Australia; Belgium; Republic of China; Denmark; Japan; Federal Republic of Germany; Republic of Korea; France; Laos; Greece; Malaysia; Ireland; New Zealand; Italy; Pakistan; Luxembourg; Philippines; The Netherlands; Thailand; Norway; Spain; Switzerland; Iran; United Kingdom; Turkey; Canada; Liberia; Morocco; Argentina; South Africa; Brazil; Tunisia; Costa Rica; Honduras; Ecuador; Uruguay; Guatemala and Venezuela.
The South was officially aided by six Free World nations that sent men, money and material to support the government and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). In addition, a number of other nations sent along small contingents of medical, transportation, construction and other experts. I will leave it to a Russian to write the story of the Communist support. In this article we will discuss and depict the psychological Warfare leaflets and operations used to convince the people of the
that with the help of their many allies, victory was guaranteed. Republicof Vietnam
Psychological warfare makes use of various themes to destroy the enemys confidence in ultimate victory. One of the major themes of the American and Vietnamese PSYOP specialists during the Vietnam War was the overwhelming strength and power of the
and its allies. These leaflets enforce that theme, showing the enemy that a host of nations all around the world is on the side of the Republicof Vietnam . Republicof Vietnam
It is difficult to know if the numbers of peak troop strength and deaths are accurate, and they do vary according to source, but according to official statistics, the numbers for peak Allied forces during the Vietnam War are: the
United States- 543,400 troops deployed and 57,702 deaths; South Korea- 48,869 troops deployed and 4,407 deaths; Thailand- 11,568 troops deployed and 350 deaths; Australia- 7,672 troops deployed and 520 deaths and 550 troops deployed and 35 deaths. New Zealand Taiwanquietly deployed 31 troops and deployed another 13, neither nation losing any of its members. Spain
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos requested Congressional approval to send a combat engineer battalion to South Vietnam in February 1966 after the government of South Vietnam asked the Philippine government for aid. This force eventually totaled more than 2,000 men. Marcos said that the Philippines had a long-standing commitment to SEATO, which could no longer be ignored. The Philippines were traditionally anti-Communist and faced an immediate threat at that time from the Hukbalahap (pro-Communist) guerrillas within the Philippines itself. This may have contributed to Marcos rationale for commitment to South Vietnam.
John R. Campbell, a civilian psychological warfare advisor in
from 1965 to 1967 says about the Filipinos in Are we Winning? Are they Winning: A Civilian Advisors Reflections on Wartime Vietnam , Author House, 2004: Vietnam
A number of Filipinos who, among other things, manned much of our communication network and were a mysterious source of excellent imported Filipino beer, reportedly in exchange for a few stray American military trucks now and then.
had a peak force of 1,048,000 and lost 185,528 troops. Republicof Vietnam
This leaflet depicts a map of the world with all of the nations helping the
. The text on the front is in part: Republicof Vietnam
WE DO NOT FIGHT ALONE
In the struggle against Communist aggressors, the South Vietnamese people have been wholeheartedly helped by 31 countries of the free World in various aspects such as economic, military, agriculture, medicine, education, etc.
The back is all text and lists the countries aiding the Vietnamese:
Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, Laos, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Spain, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, United States.
Having the wholehearted support of the peace-loving countries in the world, we will surely win. The Communists will surely be defeated.
Leaflet 2430 tells about the growth in strength of the Republic of Vietnam’s armed forces. On the front we see two photographs, one of dead Communist soldiers, the other of victorious Vietnamese troops. The text on the front is:
These Viet Cong soldiers, betrayed by their leaders, were sent to a senseless death with over 30,000 more of their comrades.
These soldiers of the Republic of Vietnam’s Armed Forces defend the people of South Vietnam.
You can still rally to the people’s government of the Republic of Vietnam to word for a worthy cause and to save your own life.
The text on the back states that the South Vietnamese will be even stronger in the future, drafting another 65,000 troops to bring their strength to 655,000. The free world has sent another 600,000 to defend the Republic of Vietnam. Thus, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong will be facing over 1,200,000 men dedicated to the defense of the south.
Leaflet 2725 Front
This leaflet depicts an Australian nurse caring for a Vietnamese patient and crates of milk shipped from
. The text says in part: Australia
An Australian nurse is inquiring about the health conditions of a child patient.
Thousands of cases of sweetened-condensed milk for the newly-born babies.
Leaflet 2725 Back
The text says in part:
Well-drilling machines are sent by the Australian people to improve the living conditions of the people of the
. Republicof Vietnam
This leaflet was later reprinted as 2725T and dropped over North Vietnamese troops coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
This 246th PSYOP Company leaflet explains the Australian presence in
. 10,000 copies were printed to be disseminated by aircraft and hand. The text says in part: Vietnam
We Australian soldiers, along with other Allied and Vietnamese Army forces, are working together to destroy the Viet Cong and their bases. We are here in a mutual effort with you to defeat the Viet Cong and to help build up your country. We are your Australian friends, who have parted from our homes and families in order to come here and fight and die beside you to stop Communist aggression. While some of our units are fighting the Viet Cong, others will assist you in your villages and hamlets. We are glad to be able to help you
Private Wally Koscielecki adjusts a loudspeaker
mounted on top of a Land Rover. June 1970.
Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.
Australian support for
South Vietnamin the early 1960s was to help stem the spread of communism in Europe and Asia. In 1961 and 1962 the Government of South Vietnam, repeatedly requested security assistance from the and its allies. US eventually responded with 30 military advisers, dispatched as the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), also known as "the team". Their arrival in Australia South Vietnamduring July and August 1962 was the beginning of 's involvement in the Vietnam War. In August 1964 the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also sent a flight of Caribou transports to the port town of Australia . By early 1965, it was clear that Vung Tau could not stave off the communist insurgents and their North Vietnamese comrades. The South Vietnam USgovernment requested further support from friendly countries in the region, including . The Australian government dispatched the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) in June 1965 to serve alongside the Australia 173rd Airborne Brigade in Bien Hoa province. In March 1966 the government announced the dispatch of a taskforce to replace 1RAR, consisting of two battalions and support services (including a RAAF squadron of Iroquois helicopters). All the RAAF aircraft (fixed wing and rotary wing) were based at Vung Tau, at the US airbase. Army aircraft were based at Nui Dat to include the U-17A Cessna Dragonfly, PC-6 Pilatus Porter and OH-13S Sioux helicopters. US
Private Ian Botham,1st Psyops Unit, prints the unit's first poster to be distributed in a area north of Nui Dat. The poster urged people to stay indoors at night, and to warn children about the dangers of handling old ammunition they may find. Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.
All nine RAR battalions served in the taskforce at one time or another, before it was withdrawn in 1971. At the height of Australian involvement it numbered some 8,500 troops. A third RAAF squadron (of
jet bombers) was also committed in 1967 and destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy joined US patrols off the North Vietnamese coast. The year 1968 began with a major offensive by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army, launched during the Vietnamese lunar new year holiday period, known as Tet. For Australian troops, the effects of the offensive were felt around their base at Nui Dat, where a Viet Cong attack on targets around Baria, the provincial capital, was repulsed with few casualties. Canberra
By late 1970
Australiahad begun to wind down its military effort in . The 8th Battalion departed in November but, to make up for the decrease in troop numbers, the Team's strength was increased and its efforts, like those of the taskforce, became concentrated in Phuoc Tuy province. The withdrawal of troops and all air units continued throughout 1971. The last battalion left Nui Dat on 7 November, while a handful of advisers belonging to the Team remained in Vietnam the following year. In December 1972 they became the last Australian troops to come home, with their unit having seen continuous service in Vietnam for ten and a half years. South Vietnam 's participation in the war was formally declared at an end on 11 January 1973. Australia
From the time of the arrival of the first members of the Team in 1962 some 50,000 Australians, including ground troops and air force and navy personnel, served in Vietnam; 520 died as a result of the war and almost 2,400 were wounded. Wikipedia puts the number of Australian troops who served in Vietnam at 60,220.
A New Zealand Poster for the Vietnam War
A New Zealand Contingent in the 1965 Vietnam National Day Parade
We discuss leaflet 2731 in two other places in this article. At the right side of this leaflet a doctor treats a Vietnamese patient. We assume the doctor is a Kiwi because the text to the right of the photo in a leaflet that mentions medical aid from Great Britain, Korea and Japan is:
New Zealand, one of 31 countries that have provided assistance for the Republic of Vietnam.
According to the New Zealand Government's Vietnam page:
New Zealand combat troops entered what would become their country's longest and most controversial war in July 1965.
New Zealand sent two infantry companies (V and W Companies, RNZIR), an SAS detachment (4 Troop, NZSAS), and a tri-service medical team (1st New Zealand Services Medical Team). About 60 personnel were made available for service in 1st Australian Logistic Support Group, including two nurses who served in 1st Australian Field Hospital. The peak strength of V Force was 543 men and women. From 1966 New Zealand units were integrated within the 1st Australian Task Force, the gunners joining an Australian field regiment, the infantrymen forming part of an Anzac battalion and the SAS serving in an Australian SAS squadron. Most were based at Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy province. A small number of RNZAF personnel also served as helicopter pilots or forward air controllers.
By the time New Zealand withdrew its combat troops in 1971, around 3500 had served there; 187 were wounded and 37 died. Two civilians serving with the surgical or Red Cross teams also lost their lives.
A second reference states that a total of 3,890 New Zealand military personnel (volunteers) had served in Vietnam between June 1964 and December 1972.
Former Sergeant William James Kazlausky says in Vietnam Unclassified that 59,000 Australian served in Vietnam with 554 killed and 2,400 wounded. In regard to New Zealand he says that 4,000 served with 37 killed and 187 wounded.
The 1969 Vietnamese propaganda publication: The Free World in Vietnam adds:
New Zealand forces in Vietnam (in 1969) are composed of two combat companies, one artillery battery, and a medical logistics group.
Leaflets 2843 to 2845 are a series labeled “The Vietnamese-Korean Friendship.” Each leaflet depicts the Koreans helping the Vietnamese in either farming or construction.
Leaflet 2843 depicts Korean troops helping the Vietnamese with their rice harvest and a hospital built by the Republic of Korea. The text says in part:
These Korean soldiers are helping our peasants reap their paddy crop during harvest time. This beautiful gesture indicates the strengthening solidarity between the Korean and Vietnamese people.
The Lai Thieu hospital in Binh Duong Province was constructed by the Korean Army.
Leaflet 2844 depicts the Korean troops working in the fields with the Vietnamese and giving a haircut to a Vietnamese child. Sone of the text is:
When not engaged in operations to destroy the Communists to ensure the safety and welfare of the Vietnamese people, Korean soldiers help peasants reap paddy rice, so that a timely harvest of the crop can be made.
This Korean soldier is giving a haircut to a Vietnamese child. This is only a very small act, but it embodies the feeling of a kind heart.
The text on leaflet 2845 is:
The last two waves of Communist attacks on the capital city of Saigon and other cities and town in South Vietnam resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians who became homeless and have crowded into temporary refugee camps for shelter. For the sake of humanity, Korean soldiers expedite construction of houses to promote more comfortable shelters to our people.
School children who walk on the A-Ri-Rang bridge to school every day can never forget the service of the Korean soldiers. Besides fighting the enemy to insure the safety of these children, Korean soldiers develop communication means, making it convenient for the children to go to school.
This JUSPAO folded leaflet depicts Korean soldiers on the front defending Vietnamese villagers at the left and medically caring for them at the right. On the inside there is a cartoon and text showing a Korean soldier in a jeep hitting a Vietnamese civilian riding a bike. The leaflet explains in pictures that the Vietnamese victim can request payment for the accident and the last picture depicts a shiny new bicycle. The text on the front is:
We Korean soldiers respect and protect the lives, assets, and cultural Institutions that you have been forever preserving.
This leaflet depicts a hospital and medical personnel donated by
. The text on the front is: South Korea
RETURN IN FRIENDSHIP
The back is all text and says in part:
FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM AND THE RIGHT CAUSE
The South Korean troops in
do more than just fight against the Communist invaders. They also suffer due to the Northern Communists. Here is a hospital built in Phuoc Tuy by the Korean troops whose purpose it is to give medical treatment to the people of the Vietnam , Allied and even wounded Communist soldiers left behind on the battlefield by their comrades Republicof Vietnam
When I saw this leaflet I thought of the Australians who were also in Phuoc Tuy. I asked one of their veterans if he recalled this Korean hospital. He did:
In Vung Tau there was an Australian Field Hospital (1 Australian Field Hospital) and a Korean (ROK) hospital. If an enemy soldier was wounded and dusted off to an Australian hospital they (South Vietnamese military) tried to as quickly as possible to allow some of the treatment in the Australian hospital, then discharge them to the ROK Hospital. The Vietnamese complaint was that the Australian looked after them too well. The Koreans were tougher. In Vung Tau there were two South Vietnamese prisons where ongoing wounded had very little medical treatment. I went there a few times to interview prisoners and convicted Viet Cong suppliers and others involved in the Viet Cong Infrastructure. Their conditions were quite bad.
I worked a couple of times with the Korean and Thai forces in village cordon and searches. The Korean soldiers were very tough with the civil population. It was just a reflection of their own society at home.
South Korean soldiers from the "Tiger" Division in Qui Nhon
The largest contingent was some 49,000 South Koreans as a pay back for our help to them during the Korean War a decade earlier...Our Korean allies fighting prowess was greatly respected . A local gibe in Saigon where many Korean soldiers could always be found enthusiastically partaking of the Post Exchange goodies was, This war would soon be over if we just temporarily closed the Saigon PX and told the Koreans that it had been transferred to Hanoi. They would be up there in a week trampling any North Vietnamese that got in their way.
The 1969 Vietnamese propaganda publication: The Free World in Vietnam adds:
Korea ranks second among the Allies in troops fighting in Vietnam. In 1965, elite divisions such as Blue Dragon, Tiger, White Horse, etc., were sent to Vietnam. Korean forces, reaching 50,000 men were responsible for an area covering 68,000 square kilometers in the 2nd Corps Tactical Zone. In the 3rd Corps Tactical Zone, the Korean Combat Engineer Support Group opened roads and built bridges Each Korean unit sponsors a hamlet and visits daily to fix roads, bridges and houses for the people.
The Asian Institute for Policy Studies sees in a bit different in the 2013 article: A Perspective on Koreas Participation in the Vietnam War:
ROK forces made up the second largest foreign military contingent after the United States, lost more than 5,000 lives, and played a significant role in averting communist dominance of the central coastal area ROK participation in Vietnam was made possible because the United States was willing to underwrite the entire Korean military and civilian operations in the country Korea is believed to have earned US $5 billion during eight years of deployment from various sources, including increased American military assistance to modernize ROK armed forces, special allowances paid to ROK soldiers in Vietnam, multi-million-dollar civilian contracts, and expanded trade with Vietnam.
This strange code with a decimal point in front of the number is unknown to me. The U.S. did code such leaflets in the Lao language for Laos, but I have not seen any leaflets with such a code for Vietnam. Since this leaflet mentions the Korean Army, it may be that the code was for leaflets requested from the U.S. PSYOP printers by the Korean Army. It is a mystery. The front of this leaflet depicts a Korean soldier giving a young Vietnamese child a haircut. The text is:
The Korean Army did not come to the Republic of Vietnam just to kill communists; it also is concerned about the lives of our people, and especially of our children.
The action of the Korean soldier who is giving a child a haircut is only a little thing, but it displays a heart of pure gold.
The back depicts Korean soldiers helping the Vietnamese farmers pick rice. The text is:
When they stop to rest while conducting operations aimed at killing communists in order to protect the peace and tranquility of the people of the Republic of Vietnam, Korean soldiers without hesitation willingly go to work helping the people to harvest their crops quickly, before the harvest season ends.
Korean soldiers view working in the country of their Vietnam friends as being just like working in their own native land.
The Koreans had their own PSYOP and Civil Affairs troops in Vietnam. In addition to the headquarters, and the printing and operations sections which are co-located with the U.S. Armys 8th PSYOP Battalion in Nha Trang, there are three field detachments. One is with the White Horse Division in Ninh Hoa, another with the Tiger Division in Oui Nhon, and the last is with the Blue Dragon Marine Brigade in Hoi An. Each detachment is made up of two loudspeaker teams, two audiovisual teams and one civil affairs team. The Company reported nearly 5,000 hours of loudspeaker broadcasts in 1967 and brought in 814 ralliers.
Kazlausky says in Vietnam Unclassified that 320,000 South Koreans served in Vietnam with 5,000 killed and 11,000 wounded.
Another more optimistic report on the Korean activity mentions only the Combat troops. It says that in the late stages of the Vietnam War there were more Koreans than Americans in Vietnam. The Koreans had offered their military help in 1954 and 1961. It was refused. As the war carried on and more troops were needed a deal was made where the United States would keep the same number of troops in Vietnam as before, and the American government would pay all expenses of the Koreans in Vietnam and modernize their Army. It also promised to finance Korean industry and help their economy. The Koreans agreed and approved the deal on 21 May 1964.
The “Capitol” or “Tiger Division was the first combat unit to land in Vietnam in September 1965 and assigned to replace an area formerly guarded by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division. The Korean 2nd Marine Division (Blue Dragons) arrived in Vietnam about the same time. The next major unit to arrive in Vietnam was the 23,865-man 9th (White Horse) Division in September 1966. In 1967 they added an additional Marine Battalion. In total, there were 47,862 Korean combat troops in Vietnam between 1964 and 1969. The Korean troops were all volunteers, and they had more volunteers than were needed so they were able to select the people with the best skills. The officers and enlisted personnel sent to Vietnam by the Republic of Korea were elite and the best they had.
The Koreans were very aggressive on search and destroy missions. At home, their duties were mostly defensive; in Vietnam they showed that they were excellent on the offense too. There were merciless when fighting the Communists. Upon the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement in 1973, the Koreans left Vietnam.
75,000 copies of this 4 x 5-inch leaflet were prepared in 1968 by the 246th PSYOP Company. They were distributed by aircraft and by hand. The leaflet depicts a Thai soldier and a Vietnamese civilian. The text is in part:
Your neighboring country is coming to work with you. We, the Royal Thai Volunteer Regiment, representing the people of
, which is your close neighbor and a member of the Free World, is now here to give you a hand and collaborate with you. Thailand
You need not worry; you can count on us. We are ready to devote every bit of effort, even our lives to cooperate with you in order that the Vietnamese people, who love freedom, will live in happiness. This is the reason we volunteered to come here.
The 246th PSYOP Company prepared another leaflet coded 246-259-68. It depicted the insignia of the Thailand Queens Cobra Regiment and the flags of Thailand and Vietnam. The text was:
The Royal Thai Army volunteer regiment, the Queens Cobras, has brought with them the sincere best wishes from the people of Thailand to the people of Vietnam. May you people of Vietnam forever have a very happy life.
A Third 246th PSYOP Company leaflet coded 246-289-68 depicted Thais and Vietnamese hand in hand and had the text:
We must cooperate with each other to protect you from the enemy and make your country prosperous The Queens Cobra.
This leaflet features the flags of Thailand and Vietnam on the front. I have a second larger leaflet with the same front but a different longer message on the back. The text on the back of this leaflet is:
To all our friends at Thanh Dong, Thanh Trung, Cu Chi II, Chu Chi III, Thanh Dien village.
Our Filipino Civic Affairs Group will commence activities in Thanh Dien. We'll help you build a new village at the request of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. The village will be handed over to the homeless population in Tay Ninh. We shall begin with research and road planning. Construction of such a secure village for you will require much effort on our part. In order to complete the task, we warmly call on all Vietnamese friends to cooperate and support us in building this new village for you.
Brigadier General G.V Tobias
Filipino Army, Commander,
Filipino Civic Affairs Group
This leaflet depicts generators being unloaded from a ship. The text is:
HERE, THE FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN FREE MEN
People all over the world have been aware of the destruction inflicted on the South Vietnamese people by the so-call Communist general offensive on cities and towns.
To help heal the destruction caused by the Communists; the people of Thailand donated three generators for use in the rehabilitation of the stricken people of South Vietnam.
Thailand, one of 31 countries that have provided assistance for the Republic of Vietnam
Leaflet 2781 reassures the people of
that they are not fighting alone. It depicts members of Vietnam Thailands Black Panther Division deploying to . The text on the front is: Vietnam
You Have no Hope if You Expect to Win
The text on the back is in part:
The first elements of the Black Panther Division of
Thailandhave arrived in . By the end of this year their strength will reach 12,000 men. You have no hope if you expect to win in Vietnam South Vietnam
Thai Soldier showing his patch
The Organizational Chart for the Royal Thai Army Black Panther Division, operating from Bearcat base in Bien Hoa Province, Vietnam, dated 9 May 1968, shows that the Division normally consisted of 10,730 men but was reinforced about 5% for the Vietnam mission and actually consisted at that time of 11,266 men. Bearcat was originally a French airfield, later used by the Japanese during World War II.
The 1969 Vietnamese propaganda publication: The Free World in Vietnam adds:
The Royal Thai government sent an elite regiment of The Queens Cobras to Vietnam. By late 1968, this regiment was replaced by the Black Panthers Regiment operating in Long Thanh, 60 miles from Saigon. The Royal Thai government also sent special Naval and Air Force units raising the total strength to 12,000 men.
The Thai Black Panther Division lands in Vietnam from the USS Okinagon
The use of psychological operations in battles fought by the Thai is mentioned in the Department of the Army booklet: Allied Participation in Vietnam.
In conjunction with the tactical operations, the U.S.-Thai team conducted psychological operations. All returnees under the Chieu Hoi (open arms) amnesty program were fully interviewed and in 60 percent of the cases tapes of these interviews were made. These tapes were normally played back to the Viet Cong within four hours. The themes were basically a plea to the Viet Cong to return to the fold of the government while it was still possible, to eliminate their leaders and rally, to receive medical care, and to bring their weapons. When Viet Cong rallied without their weapons, a weapons leaflet was dropped and the next returnees brought in weapons. Once all means of drawing the enemy out had been used and continued efforts were unsuccessful, a C-47 aircraft with miniguns was employed to saturate totally the sealed square kilometer area.
This leaflet depicts Spanish doctors treating Vietnamese patients. The text is:
Spain, which is thousands of miles away from Vietnam, also provides assistance to
in genuine friendship. South Vietnam
The photos show medical team members sent by the Spanish government examining Vietnamese patients in
. South Vietnam
It is believed that there were 12 or 13 Spanish medical volunteers sent to Vietnam. They arrived in Saigon 8 September 1966. They were issued American uniforms and papers to use at the PX, commissary, etc. Their hospital had 150 beds. They treated land mine and gunshot victims, tuberculosis, dysentery, hepatitis and malaria patients. During the Tet uprising of 1968, eight Vietnam workers were killed and two Spaniards were wounded in grenade attacks. The Government of Vietnam decorated them on three occasions. The medical unit quietly returned to Spain in 1971. They received no official recognition in their own country.
The Spanish Medical Mission Building - Go-Cong
Nguyentich Nghia photo collection on Flickr
Paloma Marin quotes General Antonio Velazquez Rivera, then a 25-year-old lieutenant with the Army Medical Corps in an article titled: Spain's Secret Support for US in Vietnam:
The hospital they worked in was in poor shape. It was an old colonial building, falling apart, and the hygiene was terrible. There were 150 beds, and at times, up to 400 injured and wounded. We had no medical supplies; we had to scrounge them from either the Americans or the guerrillas.
The hospital did not attend solely to military personnel, or civilians caught up in the fighting; the team also performed simple operations on children with cleft palates, or pregnant women with typhoid fever.
The local people were very supportive of us, and recognized our help by dedicating a bridge to us.
The 1969 Vietnamese propaganda publication: The Free World in Vietnam adds:
To share a part of the heavy load created by the war in the Republic of Vietnam, Spain sent a medical team to the province of Go Cong in September 1966.
In 2012, a Spanish documentary entitled Españoles en la guerra de Vietnam commented:
The first group of medical soldiers, including four doctors, seven nurses and one officer in charge of military supplies, arrived in Vietnam in 1966 and worked at Truong Cong Dinh hospital in the Go Gong district, about 45 kilometers from the capital, Saigon. From 1966 to 1971 three other groups, totaling nearly 100 Spaniards, worked at the hospital.
The hospital they worked in was in poor shape. It was an old colonial building, falling apart, and the hygiene was terrible. There were 150 beds, and at times, up to 400 injured and wounded. We had no medical supplies; we had to scrounge them from either the Americans or the guerrillas
This leaflet was later reprinted as 2724T and dropped over North Vietnamese troops coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Leaflet 2727 also depicts Spanish doctors treating patients with the text:
The European people understand the suffering of the people of South Vietnam. The Government of Spain, by love of humanity, has helped the victims of this war created by the Communists by sending medical teams.
Leaflet 2727 Back
The back of leaflet 2727 also shows Spanish doctors treating patients, lists the names of all the Nations helping South Vietnam, and the text:
Thirty-one Nations of the world have supported the fighting of the people of the Free South by every means.
The patch worn by the Spanish contingent
In 2013, a Spaniard wrote to me to tell me about parachutist and Master Sergeant Ramon Gutiérrez de Teran who was a surgical assistant in the Spanish Army. De Teran was interviewed and told about his experience as a Spanish medic in Vietnam in an article entitled Spanish Medical Aide in the Vietnam War in the October 2009 Spanish-language magazine Military. He said in part:
The U.S. invited Spain to send military aid to Vietnam in early 1966. President Johnson wanted combat troops but Franco thought that the Vietnamese would be victorious and agreed only to send a Military Health team to South Vietnam. On 26 April 1966, a letter was sent requesting doctors and volunteers to deploy to Vietnam. The mission, limited to twelve people, began immediately and was done very quietly and in almost complete secrecy.
In late August 1966, four military doctors agreed to deploy for one year along with seven medical staff and a Quartermaster-officer who served as liaison with the U.S. Army. They arrived in Saigon on 8 September 1966. The U.S. Army medical system in Vietnam was perfectly organized; an impressive network of ambulances and evacuation helicopters. We heard that from 1966 to 1973 about 372,947 wounded were evacuated by helicopter, with a total of 406,022 patients receiving medical assistance.
The Spanish team worked in a civilian-military hospital known as Truong Cong-Dinn in Go Kong province in the Mekong Delta. About 200 beds were crammed with patients and their families who spent the night lying at the foot of each bed. The real need was for surgeons, and although the Spanish team was mostly made up of other medical specialties they soon adapted to the needs of the hospital: Operating, womens needs, postoperative care, laboratory, radiology, pediatrics and general practice.
The civilians and military patients were women, children, and the elderly, many of them affected with tropical diseases such as dysentery, amebiasis, typhoid, tuberculosis and leprosy, among others. We saw about 23,000 patients in the first six months. We also did outpatient work in the district villages and isolated houses in the Delta. On these outings we took care of the disabled, pregnant, and newly born. The Spanish medics were very dear to those people, and that affection is one on my fondest memories of that part of the mission. We sometimes found out later that the drugs we gave these people ended up with the Viet Cong but we could not control that.
We enjoyed full freedom to treat patients. I suspect at night many of them were Viet Cong, but we made no distinction among the ill or injured.
In September 1968, I ended the mission, and we all returned to Spain. I decided to return to Vietnam and found myself in the middle of the Viet Cong uprising known as Tet 1968. We worked day and night with almost no supplies. The medical residence was mortared one night. During the attack an American sergeant was injured and a Spanish doctor went to his aid through enemy fire. He returned to the hospital and never said a word to anyone, but later he was awarded a U.S. medal for his bravery.
I stayed until 1971, the maximum time a Spanish soldier was allowed to stay. Our people were always extraordinary; they always delivered no matter the conditions. Many times we had to walk to a patient to donate blood for surgical operations. I was very proud to receive the Vietnam paratrooper badge, several foreign decorations, and a cross of Military Merit. We did the job under terrible conditions and we did it well. More than one hundred Spanish soldiers including physicians, medical specialists, and other staff participated in this operation. Twelve troops were sent every six months for five years. On our return, we were not received as heroes, but urged to silence.
Today, Ramon Gutiérrez de Teran is a Captain in the Spanish Army.
The back side of leaflet 2724 depicts Philippine politicians and medical personal. The text is:
HERE THE SUPPORT OF THE WORLD FOR THE
Here is a moving sight a Philippine Congressman is visiting an elderly patient on sick bed.
The Government and peoples of the
Philippinesdeeply sympathize with the tragic war in the , and have sent many medical teams to alleviate the agonies and sufferings of the South Vietnamese people. Republicof Vietnam
This leaflet was later reprinted as 2724T and dropped over North Vietnamese troops coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
This 17 x 22-inch poster is entitled MEDICAL AID FOR THE VIETNAMESE. I have placed it here in the Philippine section, but the five photographs depict medical aid being given by Vietnamese, Australian, Iranian, American and Philippine doctors. The text for the Philippine doctor at the lower right is:
A Philippine doctor checks an elderly man who has never had modern medicine or treatment before.
Kazlausky says in Vietnam Unclassified that 14,450 Filipinos in Vietnam primarily for support.Another report says that during the period from 1966 to 1968 there were 2,068 Filipino officers and enlisted personnel who served in Vietnam. This force was known as the PHILCAG-V (Philippine Civic Action Group -Vietnam) based in Tay Ninh under the US 196th Light Infantry Brigade. The prime mission of the PHILCAG is to win the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people through Civic Action. In spite of their humanitarian mission they would take casualties throughout their stay through sniper attacks, land mines, and booby traps. The Philippine involvement in Vietnam War ended on December 12, 1969.
The 1969 Vietnamese propaganda publication: The Free World in Vietnam adds:
In August 1964, the Philippines sent a medical team, followed by a Civic Action Group to the Republic of Vietnam. The Filipino units also have engineer teams to help the people develop and repair roads, bridges and schools in the hamlets.
TO THE VIETNAMESE PEOPLE
The Philippine deployment contained some PSYOP members and there is a mention of a leaflet that they produced. The Department of the Army booklet Allied Participation in Vietnam Mentions says that the Philippine Civic Action Group produced and distributed more than 83,000 leaflets in the Vietnam language containing the text of Republic Act 4664 (aid-to-Vietnam bill) and explaining the Philippine presence in Vietnam and the humanitarian missions to be accomplished. The text is very long so I will just select some paragraphs to quote:
The Filipino people, in response to the request of the Vietnamese people for civic action assistance as expressed by the Government of Vietnam, have sent the 1st Philippine Civic Action Group, to extend that assistance in all sincerity though humble it may be. We, the members of 1st Philippine Civic Action Group therefore, are pledged to carry out the mandate of our people to the best of our ability and to the fullest extent of our capacity. We ask the Vietnamese people to understand that we are here to help build and not to destroy, to bring the Vietnamese people happiness and not sorrow, to develop good will and not hatred. We further ask the Vietnamese people cooperation in whatever manner they think best so that we can accomplish our civic action projects with the least obstacle and interference by some individuals or groups of individuals who are against the idea of the Vietnamese people being able to enjoy happiness and a better way of life.
Within the pages of this leaflet is the Vietnamese translation of the law passed by the representatives of our people, The Congress of the Philippines, and approved by the Chief Executive, President Ferdinand E. Marcos. This law reflects the sentiments of the people of the Philippines and provides the basis for our being here with you today. As our late President Magsaysay, the father of civic action in the Philippines said What sir, would you want me to do for you? Like our late President Magsaysay, we ask the Vietnamese the same question. Please do not hesitate to tell us where we can be most useful to you, and where you think we are not doing well as you expected. Undoubtedly, you and we can attain greater achievements if we do them together.
This leaflet depicts Iranian Medical aid given to the Vietnamese people. Some of the text is:
Iranis a country in the Middle East which is also actively helping the victims of Communism in . An Iranian surgical team is working in a hospital in the South Vietnam . Republicof Vietnam Iran, one of the 31 countries which have provided assistance for the . Republicof Vietnam
This leaflet was dropped over North Vietnam to show the people that many nations were helping the Republic of Vietnam. The front depicts a West German nurse treating youngsters and a German Doctor meeting a local village chief. The text is:
A German nurse treats injured youngsters at Hoi An.
A German doctor talks to the village chief of An Hoa.
27 men and women from West Germany continue their humanitarian work among the Vietnamese people despite Communist threats to their lives. Tens of thousands of South Vietnamese villagers near An Hoa, Danang and Hoi An have profited from the German Medical Teams presence.
The front of leaflet 2732 depicts a technical school donated to the Republic of Vietnam by West Germany. The text is:
Technical assistance of West German for the Republic of Vietnam is a very precious thing because the South Vietnamese people have to rebuild the destruction caused by the Communists.
Here, the German-Vietnam technical school donated by the people of West Germany. South Vietnamese youth who graduate from this school will be the nation-builders of the future
A second leaflet depicts buses donated by
West Germanyto . The text is: Vietnam
To provide facilities in emergency treatment of patients in
South Vietnam, the people of West Germanydonated a number of specially equipped ambulances to the Republicof Vietnamwhich symbolizes the strengthened friendship between the peoples of Vietnamand . Germany
This leaflet depicts plows and machinery donated by Nationalist China. The text is:
To assist in the improvement and development of agriculture in
South Vietnam, the people of Nationalist Chinadonated a number of improved plows to raise higher the national economy of the people of . South Vietnam
The 1969 Vietnamese propaganda publication: The Free World in Vietnam adds:
A combatant of peace and freedom must be armed with strong thought. In early 1960, the Republic of Vietnam requested a Political Warfare delegation from the Republic of China to assist Vietnam. In 1964, the Republic of China sent a POLWAR group to Vietnam. The mission of the group is to assist the Vietnamese armed forces to develop and improve their political warfare organizations in political indoctrination, psychological warfare, social welfare, etc.
Leaflet 139 was dropped over
North Vietnamduring the period when the bombed the North. It depicts Japanese doctors and nurses caring for Vietnamese citizens that have been injured by Viet Cong attacks. Some of the text on the leaflet is: United States
43 NATIONS ARE GIVING AID TO
The Communist regime in
Hanoiattempts to hide its aggression against by talking loudly of a war of Liberation against Americans. Actually, the South Vietnam United Statesis only one of 43 nations giving various forms of aid to the people of in their struggle against Communist aggression. South Vietnam
A Japanese surgical team helps to ease the suffering of civilians wounded by the Communists in their attacks.
Montagnard victims of the Communists receive gifts from a British organization.
Leaflet 2731 mentions the Japanese very briefly. The text is:
Japan, one of 31 countries that have provided assistance for the Republic of Vietnam. The Japanese surgery team.
The whole world deeply sympathizes with the raging hostilities against the people of South Vietnam caused by the Communists. To alleviate in some part the agony and suffering of innocent civilians caused by Viet Cong attacks on cities and towns, friendly countries have sent medical teams to provide assistance.
We should note that this leaflet also mentions medical aid from the Republic of Korea, Great Britain, and New Zealand.
Canadadid not officially sent troops to Vietnam, many of its citizens came south to the to join in the fight against international communism. There are no official records of their number, but we have unofficial estimates. Roderick Engert, chief of the reference branch of the United States of the Pentagon, said the number might be 2,500 to 3,000. Christopher S. Wren said in a 24 January 1985 New York Times article that he doubted that more than 5,000 Canadians had served in Centerof Military History . Marci McDonald said in a 29 April 1985 article for Macleans, The war also lured an estimated 5,000 Canadians to enlist in its jungle hells. Fred Gaffen, Chief Historian at the Canadian War Museum said in an August 1991 Vietnam Magazine, I estimate that of the many thousands who served in the U. S. Vietnam-era military, some 12,000 Canadians actually served in Vietnam itself. Kazlausky says in Vietnam Unclassified that 12,000 Canadians served in Vietnam with 103 killed and 7 missing in action. In a later comment he changes the numbers and says 30,000 loyal Americans came down to the U.S. to enlist in the U.S. military and had to lie about their citizenship to be accepted. They received no benefits from the Canadian government upon their return. Vietnam
John R. Campbells numbers are much greater. He says:
Another ironic statistic also touching on motivation is that while about 30,000 young Americans sought refuge in Canada to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, 40,000 Canadians came south to join the U.S. forces and were statistically absorbed as Americans. Of these, 30,000 actually served in
The North Wall Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Chris Corday of CBC News added on 11 November 2015 in an article entitled Lost to History: The Canadians who fought in Vietnam:
The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Association estimates that about 20,000 Canadians enlisted, although other historians think that number may have been as high as 40,000. The association believes 12,000 Canadians actually served in combat roles in Vietnam. By the end of the conflict, its believed at least 134 Canadians had died or been declared missing in action. The North Wall Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial now lists the names of 138 Canadians who died in the war, but the number still grows today. It includes 134 Canadians who were killed in action for the U.S. military, and four other Canadians who died in Vietnam while serving with the International Control Commission, the three-country body charged with supervising the 1954 partition into South Vietnam and North Vietnam.
The Pocket Guide to Vietnam
In theory, every American soldier was issued a copy of Department of the Army pamphlet 360-411, The Pocket Guide to Vietnam upon being deployed to that country. Of course, the distribution was very spotty and many troops never saw the guidebook. The booklet was to help him understand the nation, the people and their customs. It was printed by the United States Department of Defense. A second instructional pamphlet entitled Handbook for US Forces in Vietnam was published by the Department of Defense as Department of the Army Pamphlet 360-521. Again, dissemination seems spotty.
The leader of the United States, President Lyndon B. Johnson, swears everlasting support for the people of South Vietnam. 10 million leaflets were disseminated in South Vietnam, another 3 million in North Vietnam. Unfortunately for the Vietnamese, his successor, President Richard Nixon, did not feel the same support. The text on the back of the Johnson leaflet is:
Speaking to U.S. troops at Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam, on 26 October 1966, President Johnson affirmed:
I GIVE YOU MY PLEDGE. I SHALL NEVER LET YOU DOWN, NOR YOUR FIGHTING COMRADES, NOR THE 15 MILLION PEOPLE OF SOUTH VIETNAM, NOT THE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF ASIANS WHO ARE COUNTING ON US TO SHOW NOW IN VIETNAM THAT AGGRESSION DOES NOT PAY.
There are thousands of leaflets that show
power, troops, tanks and bombers. In this article we are not going to spend a lot of time on the military aid to U.S. . Instead, we will talk about the general aid, the services to the people and how it was explained. A good example is leaflet P-08 which depicts an American helping on a Vietnamese construction site and explains in depth to the Vietnamese people why the Americans are there and what they are doing. The text on the front is: Vietnam
IS THIS IMPERIALISM?
The Back is all text:
is the richest and most powerful country in the world. What does it need from United States ? NOTHING. In fact, it is now giving Free Vietnam 40,000,000,000 piasters in food and economic assistance a year. Is this a new form of imperialism as propagandized and distorted by the Vietnam Communists? North Vietnam
Why is the
United Stateshelping Free economically and militarily? It is helping Free Vietnam Vietnamresist s Lao Dong imperialist aggression. It is doing this because history shows that such aggression can cause a large war which would threaten all mankind. The Communist imperialists in Hanoi Hanoiand Peking would not stop after taking free Vietnamand Laos; they would try to conquer all of Asia. That would bring a large war and tragedy to the whole world. This is why the Americans are in Vietnam
JUSPAO leaflet 2791 told the Vietnamese that American doctors and nurses cared about their health. One side depicted a female American doctor and Vietnamese nurses and the other a Vietnamese doctor and American nurse. The leaflet points out that the Americans have such humanity that they will care for both the friendly and enemy Vietnamese. To be free is to be humane. Some of the text is:
THE LOVE OF HUMANITY BY FREE MEN
Free men have always loved humanity regardless of friend or foe.
The Army woman doctor Nicora and the two Vietnamese nurses are dressing the wound of a North Vietnamese Army soldier who has been left behind by his comrades.
A Vietnamese doctor and an American nurse are caring for an old woman who was the victim of the Communist aggressors attack.
This leaflet depicts a Vietnamese and an American radio operator working side by side. The text is:
Communication is one of the decisive factors for success or failure in the field of battle.
These Vietnamese and American radio operators intensely listen to the developments in a close air support mission and are ready to transmit or receive orders from higher headquarters.
This 17 x 22-inch poster was developed in October 1967 to explain the American presence. It says in part:
WHAT DO THE AMERICANS WANT HERE?
DO THE AMERICANS WANT OUR RICE AND LAND?
is rich and powerful, and every year grows more food than her people can eat. She has surplus rice and other grain which she gives to other countries around the world, including America . She has no need for our land or food. Vietnam
DO THE AMERICANS WANT OUR MARKETS FOR THEIR GOODS?
The billions of dollars that America has spent to support our fight against Communism and to provide things that the people of Vietnam need schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and the like could not be repaid from Vietnams economy for many decades
DO THE AMERICANS WANT MILITARY BASES IN
Americahas many times solemnly reiterated its pledge to remove its troops from the bases they occupy in as soon as our peace and freedom are assured. America has plenty of bases throughout the Pacific, from Hawaii to the Philippines, to assure its own security. Vietnam Americadoes not want or need bases on s land. Vietnam
THEN WHAT DO THEY WANT HERE?
Americas help to Vietnam, like that of 30 other free nations comes at the request of the Vietnamese government.They have asked for help to defend their country against Communist aggression .
Leaflet 2738 mentions American military aid:
The United States Secretary of Defense stated We intend to give preference to the ARVN forces, all ARVN forces, even at the expense of our own forces. We will issue every ARVN an M-16 rifle just as soon as we can.
Kazlausky says in Vietnam Unclassified that 2,700,000 Americans served in Vietnam with 58,425 killed and 304,000 wounded.
I did find two Allied propaganda leaflets that mention Great Britain. The first is coded 2731. There is a photo of a British charity worker at the right and the short text:
Gifts from the British OXFAM charitable organization are given to highlanders who are the victims of the communists. Britain, one of the 31 countries which have provided assistance to the Republic of Vietnam.
At the left we see a doctor from the Republic of Korea and the text:
The Republic of Korea, one of 31 countries which have provided assistance to the Republic of Vietnam. Communist propaganda claims that South Korean soldiers are very vicious and brutal. No words are needed to describe the actions of the Korean doctor shown in this photo.
Authors Note: The name Oxfam comes from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in Britain in 1942.
Leaflet 139 (see above under Japan) says about the same thing, though it mentions the name of the highland tribe but leaves out the name of the British organization.
Montagnard victims of the Communists receive gifts from a British organization.
Great Britain had some early post-war experience in
that might have made a convincing argument to stay out of that nations internal affairs. In 1945, Lord Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander Southeast Asia, was ordered to form an Allied Control Commission to go to Vietnam to ensure civil order in the area surrounding Saigon, to enforce the Japanese surrender, and render humanitarian assistance to Allied prisoners of war and internees. By September, anarchy, rioting and murder were widespread, Vietnam Saigons administrative services had collapsed and a loosely-controlled Communist-led revolutionary group had seized power.
In late September, parties of armed Viet Minh (later called Viet Cong) clashed with British and Indian patrols. By October 1945, the roads into
Saigonwere blocked by the Viet Minh who were attempting to strangle the city. On 13 October, the Communists attacked Tan Son Nhut airbase. By mid-October, British and Indian troops had killed about 307 of the Viet Minh. On 25 October, a Russian advisor was captured with the Communist troops. Near the end of October, a British taskforce killed about 190 Viet Minh in operations east of Saigon. In January 1946, the British happily handed over military control of to the French. Vietnam s half-year Vietnam War casualty list was 40 British and Indian soldiers killed. It is believed that they killed about 600 communist troops. Britain
Great Britainis not considered a member of the Allies of the because they did not send fighting forces and quite often criticized the conduct of the war in the world press. However, they did very quietly take part in some early training of Vietnamese forces. Carolyn Page mentions this in U.S. Official Propaganda during the Vietnam War, 1965-1973, Leicester University Press, London, 1996: Republicof Vietnam
President Kennedy and President Diem both used British advice and expertise in the form of the British Advisory
Missionin Saigon. This mission existed from 1962 to 1965, advising the South Vietnamese Government on pacification When the mission was disbanded in 1965 Britaincontinued to help train the South Vietnamese police through the British Embassy in Saigon. So from 1961 to 1965 there was a tangible British commitment to and this continued in a small way even after the war escalated in 1965. South Vietnam
The British Advisory Mission to South Vietnam (BRIAM) was established in September 1961 at the request of South Vietnamese President Diem. Robert Thompson who had gained tremendous experience in 12-year-long anti-guerrilla warfare in Malaya led the group in Vietnam. Thompson soon became one of South Vietnamese President Diems leading foreign advisors.
Kazlausky says in Vietnam Unclassified that British Special Air Service units served from 1965 to 1967 attached to the Australians at Nui Dat near Saigon. The British Government denies this.
There are dozens, if not hundreds more leaflets that show the various nations that supported the
in its fight against Communism. This article will never be complete. From time to time I will add new items that add to this PSYOP theme of the brotherhood of free nations aligned against Republicof Vietnam and its Communist supporters. North Vietnam
Peoples Republic of China aid to North Vietnam
Since we have mentioned the many nations that helped the Republic of Vietnam, perhaps we should mention the aid given by the Peoples Republic of China to North Vietnam. The Chinese have gone on record in an article entitled China's Involvement in the Vietnam War, 1964-69 by Chen Jian in the June 1995 issue of The China Quarterly.
China's support of Vietnam took three main forms: Engineer troops to construct and maintain defense works, air fields, roads and especially railways in North Vietnam; Chinese anti-aircraft troops to protect important strategic areas and targets in North Vietnam; and the supply of large amounts of military equipment and military and civil aid.
To build the roads and maintain the railways, about June 1965 seven divisions of Chinese engineers began quietly entering North Vietnam. Units came and went and about 160,000 engineers in all were probably working on roads, railways and airbases at one time or another.
Two Chinese anti-aircraft divisions and one regiment were sent to protect Hanoi and some major roads in 1965. On 9 August 1965 Chinese guns brought down their first U.S. F-4 fighter. From 1965 to 1969, 16 Chinese anti-aircraft Divisions totaling 150,000 troops got to practice their skills in North Vietnam. They claimed to have shot down 1,707 U.S. aircraft.
Chinese aid to North Vietnam was so great that we cannot list it all; looking at just 1964 and 1965 we see the supply of guns increased from 80,500 to 220,767; bullets increased from 25.2 million to 114 million; and artillery pieces increased from 1,205 to 4,439.
Since the Chinese were doing construction and maintenance and protecting the skies, the North Vietnamese could use their army to attack the south rather than protect their own country. It allowed them to be very aggressive.
The Russians also gave massive amounts of aid but so far they have not talked about their support of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
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