PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS
COMMAND & CONTROL
IN VIETNAM

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Guidance for Commanders in Vietnam

This card was issued to military commanders in Vietnam and bears the initial of General Westmorland. Although not specific to PSYOP, notice that number 8 says “Capitalize on PSYWAR opportunities.” Number 9 advises the commander to take part in “revolutionary development,” another way to say “”civil actions.” Clearly, General Westmorland understood the importance of “hearts and minds” and wanted his commanders to make them a priority.

We have made an attempt to identify the PSYOP Command and Control as it has been published in official and other documents. This is an ongoing project and one that we hope the readers will help us finish. The data is from official records, published books, magazines, field manuals, interviews, and anecdotes. Although we believe the above information to be accurate, as you can clearly see, there are many omissions. We ask any reader who may have further information as to the names of the missing Commanders or the dates they served to e-mail either Herb Friedman or Ed Rouse. We will be happy to add any data that will make this chart more complete.

The original military psychological operations unit assigned to Vietnam was the 1st PSYOP Detachment (Provisional) which arrived in 1965.

1st PSYOP Detachment (Provisional)

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain John Hardaway

Jun 65 - Apr 66

In late 1965, a small unit of the Okinawa-based 7th PSYOP Group arrived in Saigon. By early 1966, Army psychological operations were being carried out by the 6th PSYOP Battalion stationed in Saigon.

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In July 1965, the 24th PSYOP Detachment was formed from personnel of the 1st and 13th PSYOP Battalion assigned to the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, NC. The unit, consisting of six officers and 24 enlisted, was formed, trained and deployed to Vietnam in just two weeks. The detachment arrived in Vietnam in September 1965 and was assigned to support the 1st Cavalry Division G5 Section at Anh Khe.

24th PSYOP Detachment

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Blaine Revis

16 Jul 65 - 10 Feb 66

On 10 February 1966, three companies were formed within the 6th PSYOP Bn to provide tactical propaganda support.  

1. The 244th PSYOP Company served I Corps initially from Da Nang.  The unit was subsequently relocated to Nha Trang (in II Corps), with a detachment in Quang Ngai in I Corps.

2. The 245th PSYOP Company served II Corps initially from Nha Trang. The unit was subsequently relocated to Pleiku (in II Corps) when the 6th PSYOP Battalion became the 4th PSYOP Group and the radio station was built as 8th Battalion's "B" Company.

3. The 246th PSYOP Company served III Corps from Bien Hoa, about 20 miles northeast of Saigon in III Corps.

4. The 19th PSYOP Company was activated at Ft. Bragg as part of the 3rd Special Forces Group on 10 August 1962. It deployed to the Dominican Republic during Operation Power Pack in 1965. On 19 November 1966 it was deployed to Can Tho Vietnam as part of the 6th PSYOP Battalion to provide advice and support to military units and agencies in the Mekong Delta in IV Corps Tactical Zone.

In 1967, on their fifth anniversary, the 19th celebrated its 9-months accomplishments in Vietnam. The unit participated in 26 operations, produced 12 million leaflets, and distributed 450 million national leaflets. Personnel took part in 1,500 aerial missions and conducted over 400 hours of aerial loudspeaker broadcasts.

25th PSYOP Detachment (1965-1966)

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain William R. Perry

Sep 65 - Jun 66

Captain Henry Dunn Jul 66 -

The 25th PSYOP Detachment was Commanded by CPT William R. Perry and made up of seven officers and 15 enlisted men. In 1965 it was deployed to Southeast Asia from San Francisco on the USNS Hugh J. Gaffney along with elements of the United States Army 1st Cavalry Division. Anti-war protestors pelted the troop ship as it sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. The Detachment ran the ship’s radio station on the 17-day voyage. The Gaffney docked at Qui Nhon in September of 1965. The unit was immediately trucked to an air strip where they were flown to Pleiku by C-123 and headquartered in an old French compound at the II Corps MACV headquarters north of Pleiku while a permanent barracks was built for them.

Detachment photographer SP4 Dave Miller adds:

During our tour we primarily supported the American and South Vietnamese troops in the II corps geographical area with our PSYOP capabilities to include leaflet production, Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) field trips, movies and operations in friendly Montagnard villages. Our primary support was to the 1st Cavalry Division. Captain Perry and I were on hand and involved in the firefight at the Cataka (1st Cavalry, 3rd Brigade field headquarters in an old French tea plantation about 20-25 kilometers southwest of Pleiku) on 12 November where we suffered 7 killed in action and 23 wounded in a midnight attack by the Viet Cong. The V.C. lost six guerrillas in the fight. Rumor had it that the French plantation paid one million piasters to the Viet Cong for protection and three million piasters to the Government of South Vietnam for taxes. Allegedly the U.S. later paid the French $50 for every tea bush and $250 for every rubber tree that was damaged for the tea bushes destroyed during the firefight. This was 2 days before the 1st Cavalry became involved in the Ia Drang battle made famous by the book and movie “We Were Soldiers Once...and Young,” The Ia Drang fight was only 25-30 kilometers from the Cataka. I covered the battle from above in an Air Force spotter plane. Captain Perry always wanted to be close to the action to provide PSYOP support as well as having me along to gather photos to be used in leaflets.

First Lieutenant Bob Harvey of the 25th PSYOP Detachment (later Detachment B of the 245th PSYOP Company) reminisces about his Vietnam duty from September 1965 to September 1966:

Captain Perry was a good Commanding Officer of the Pleiku Detachment for the period he was with us, about September 1965 to June 1966. We all had a lot of respect and admiration for him.   He was part Apache Indian and part German. He was a real Regular Army trooper, an infantry officer with a Combat Infantry Badge. The PSYOP command was not for him. He petitioned to get out in the bush and engage the enemy. He finally got transferred down south to a combat unit and was replaced by Captain Henry (Lee) Dunn, a nice guy from Wyoming who was the Commander from about July 1966.

The introduction of the 25 PSYOP Detachment into the Central Highlands of Vietnam at Pleiku in September 1965 coincided with the buildup of 1st Cavalry (Airmobile) at An Khe just to the East.  The mission of the detachment was to collect intelligence regarding enemy weaknesses and vulnerabilities, develop themes and materials to exploit these vulnerabilities, and disseminate appeals and messages via leaflet, loudspeaker and other means.  The detachment had highly trained PSYOP officers and enlisted men who had specific expertise in psychological operations, counter insurgency, media development, graphic design, leaflet production, audio production, photography, and other selected skills.

The specific missions planned and executed by the unit included imbedded field teams to collect information relative to enemy vulnerabilities and develop and disseminate propaganda to their soldiers.  Aerial loudspeaker and leaflet missions flown in U-10, C-47 and UH-1 aircraft were conducted throughout the major campaigns, and leaflet missions over the tri-country border area (infiltration trails) were commonplace.

The first major ground operation was a field team comprised of one PSYOP Officer and two support  specialists from the 25th Detachment, and one Vietnamese interpreter.   This team was attached to the 1st Cavalry during the Ia Drang campaign (November 1965) and was able to ascertain NVA vulnerabilities as the basis for PSYOP efforts in the II Corps border area throughout the remainder of 1965.

With the introduction of elements of the 25th and 4th Infantry Divisions into the Central Highlands in 1966, the Detachment (now redesignated 245th PSYOP Company “Detachment B”) participated in numerous campaigns and sweeps of known enemy locations for the purpose of exploiting troop weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Many of these brigade size campaigns were staged out of the large open fields in and around Pleiku, with New Pleiku Airbase (USAF), Camp Hollaway (US ARMY AIR), and the MACV II Corps Headquarters providing support.  The Detachment’s production facility, located at the MACV compound, was able to react quickly to the latest intelligence, and develop/produce PSYOP media and material in support of field operations.

Generally, the detachment developed and produced much of its own material, however, major leaflet drops (most along the Cambodian border) of thousands of pounds of leaflets by C-47 required leaflets to be produced at Battalion in Saigon or in Manila.  These were shipped to New Pleiku Airbase by transport for loading into the C-47 following its arrival from its base in Nha Trang.

Staff Sergeant Ron Baker was a member of the 245th PSYOP Battalion located in Pleiku. He had an intelligence MOS and his job title in the 245th was Heliborne Loudspeaker Team Chief. He was attached to the 1st Cavalry and mostly worked as an advisor, usually with the 2nd Brigade.  He talks about some of his missions:

I departed Pleiku for 2d Brigade on 9 August 1966. On 10 August, I made a Chieu Hoi tape with a North Vietnamese Army prisoner of war.  On 12 August, I went on a loudspeaker mission telling NVA soldiers how and where to surrender and also made Chieu Hoi surrender appeals.  We used Beech Master loud speaker in a Bell “Huey” HU1D helicopter. We took the NVA rallier along to make appeals to NVA soldiers.

On another date we made a broadcast to the NVA 32nd Regiment. The broadcast was as follows: 

“Attention troops of the 32d Regiment.  Your regiment has been badly mauled. Your only hope is to surrender as a Chieu Hoi.  You will receive fair treatment, food, clothing and medical attention.  Put your weapon over your left shoulder with the muzzle down, in your right hand, wave a Safe Conduct Pass.  If you do not have a pass, use a piece of cloth or anything the allied troops can see.  Walk slowly toward the American positions.  You have a choice.   Either you can die unknown or you can start a new life in South Vietnam.”  

On another mission, we dropped tear gas on the NVA 66th Regiment.  We told them if they feel sick, we will help them.  We told them to come out in the open and wave at the helicopter and we would send someone to help them. 

A lot of my time was spent on ground missions.  I and my two interpreters would go with various units on their missions.  Sometimes we would be called up to fly loudspeaker missions while a battle was going on.    Other times, we would visit the Montagnard villages in the area.  We would bring rice, pots and pans and other items the villagers could use.  My Montagnard interpreter was named Ksor Bai and he was with the French when they were in Vietnam.   He had no respect whatsoever for the South Vietnamese because of the way they treated the Montagnards.  The South Vietnamese called the Montagnards “Moi” which means savage.  The Montagnards were treated in the same fashion as our American Indians were. A few of the Montagnard villages were under NVA control and one of the things we tried to do was win them over to the South Vietnamese government.  Most of the time, it was hard to do because of the way the Montagnards were treated. 

We flew a lot of leaflet missions out of Pleiku Air Base.  We usually used C47's.  I also dropped a lot of leaflets out of helicopters, for instance, 25,000 Safe Conduct Passes at map coordinates YV865957. 

I believe the only reason that I as an enlisted man had his own team was because I had an intelligence MOS.  Most of the other teams were led by Lieutenants and Captains.  

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Detachment B (Pleiku) of the 245th PSYOP Company in spring 1967 
The Detachment poses in front of the Propaganda Support Center in the ARVN Compound

Front row - left to right: SGT. Mattingly (Supply), PFC Karas (Analyst), SP4 Nickerson (Photo Van/Pressman), SP4 Luke (Field Operations), SP4 Niver (Offset Pressman), SP4 Jones (Field Operations), SGT Fowler (Supply).
Back row- left to right: SFC Davis (First Sergeant), SP4 Boothby (Press operator), CPT Dunn (Commander), SP4 Wands (Artist), CPT Brereton (Executive Officer), SP4 Kean (Artist), SP4 Johnson (Motor pool), SP5 Tiffany (Company clerk), SP4 Plemmons (Field Operations), SP4 Bell (Overnight offset press operator)

The PSYOP Support Center housed Captain Dunn's office, a portable photo shop, an artist's studio, leaflets and printing equipment. From this small building they could produce leaflets, make recordings and prepare other PSYOP material. The building was located on the South Vietnamese Army's side of the compound, while the living quarters were on the U.S. Army's side. Unit members went through a check point every day going to and returning from work.

Private Leighton M. "Nick" Nickerson arrived in Vietnam assigned to the 245th PSYOP Company on 22 July 1966. He left a year later as a Specialist 5th Class. He was first sent to Nha Trang then detached to Pleiku. He had been trained as a 71R20 Broadcast Specialist, but Pleiku had no need for that MOS and after discovering that his hobby was photography he was assigned to the photo lab. He was also trained as a printing press operator during his tour and awarded a second military occupational specialty of 71W40. He described his activities in Vietnam:

We supported the 1st Cavalry and the 4th Infantry Division with our leaflets. I never kept track of where we went and what we did but I know we did a lot of missions that had us flying over Laos and Cambodia. I know we went as far south Ban Me Thout, North to Kontum, even once to Dalat to support III Corp, and once north to Da Nang. We didn't do many loudspeaker missions from the air while I was there, and most of those were done with just Air Force personnel. We went up if there were leaflets to drop. I remember unloading an entire deuce-and-a-half of leaflets into C47's.

I flew with one Air Force Major and logged more flight time than anyone else in the unit. One day I asked why I was the only one getting requested to crew the U10's and later O2B's. He said it was because I could carry on an intelligent conversation and didn't throw up, and that second one was the most important attribute a PSYOP soldier could have.

We had a great outfit. During my tour I never heard a shot fired in anger. Of course, Charlie mortared our perimeter twice, but it was good duty until about mid-1967 when things got more "stract" and we were no longer allowed to be a bunch of "misfits" that did things our own way most of the time. I think we missed that freedom. It seems we never had the same morale or espirit de Corps after we got "militarized".

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Private Leighton M. "Nick" Nickerson  in the 245th PSYOP Company Photo Lab

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Charles Kean Jr.

Specialist Fourth Class Charles Kean Jr. Was a member of the 245th PSYOP Company in Vietnam during the years 1966-1967. He was trained as a U.S. Army Illustrator (Military Occupational Specialty 81E2W). During his tour he supported the 1st Cavalry and the 4th Infantry Division. He flew many C47 leaflet missions and received an Air Crew badge for the time he spent aloft. In this photo he stands next to a 1st Cavalry “Huey” helicopter set up with a loudspeaker array. He told me:

The unit was charged with the task of producing materials that encouraged the enemy to lessen their resistance or surrender. In addition to doing our assigned work, we frequently flew on missions where we dropped the leaflets that we printed and broadcast taped audio messages from trucks and both fixed winged aircraft and helicopters. All of the personnel also did the other things that soldiers did such as pulling guard duty and assuming assigned posts when an attack occurred.

I both dropped leaflets and broadcast messages from the copter. The messages were prerecorded in whatever dialect the people of the area we were covering understood and I took a small reel to reel tape recorder which plugged into the loudspeaker system. Once over the target, I would turn on the speakers. Once the recorder was in operation, I would lie on the floor of the chopper and start to throw out leaflets. We distributed several different types of leaflets. Some came from as far away as the US, while others were done in Japan or Korea.

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Loudspeaker Team Leader Mario Villamarzo

Specialist Fifth Class Mario Villamarzo was assigned to Detachment B, 245th PSYOP Company, Pleiku, from 1966 to 1967 as an Intelligence Analyst (Military Occupational Specialty 96B20). The above photograph of Mario with his loudspeaker team of Montagards and Vietnamese troops was taken in Plei Jerang, west of Pleiku in October 1966 when he was supporting the 1st Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division. He was the loudspeaker team leader. He told me:

When I was with the Pleiku Detachment I would assist in cutting the leaflets which the detachment printed and then assisted packing them in boxes. We had to cut the leaflets to a certain size and use the correct paper weight in order for the leaflets to float to the target. We had two blades in the detachment for our paper cutter and I remember going to Saigon 2 or 3 times with the blades to have them sharpened. I would take the milk run (C-130) from Pleiku to Ton Son Nhut AFB in Saigon. I would take the blades to the offices of a Saigon newspaper that would be paid to sharpen our blades.

I did it all, loaded leaflets on C-47 of the 5th Air Commando Squadron and flew as a non-crew member dropping the leaflets from the aircraft.

I also flew in U-10s on loudspeaker and leaflet missions. The aircraft would come from Nha Trang where the 5th Air commando Squadron was stationed and I would wait for it the airfield in Pleiku. I would load the U-10 with my leaflets and put my recorded tape in my cassette player and hook it up to the speaker on the aircraft. Once I got us to the target area we would fly in a circle around the target dropping leaflets and playing the loudspeakers. I would select the target beforehand and instruct our guys what I wanted to say on the leaflets. Selecting targets and specifying the type of leaflet was where our training as Intelligence Analyst 96B20 came in to play. Before the U-10 missions I would meet with the intelligence folks of the division and read through their Intelligence Summaries (INTSUMs) and Periodic Intelligence Reports (PERINTREPs) plus I would meet with the G-5 and S-5.

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6th PSYOP Battalion
Saigon
Feb 1966 - Dec 1967

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Lieutenant Colonel Wallis J. Moulis Feb 66 - Nov 66
Colonel David W. Affleck Nov 66 - Nov 67
Lieutenant Colonel William J. Beck Nov 67 - Dec 67

A 1966 Stars and Stripes article entitled “U.S. Psywar Unit Hitting Morale of VC in Vietnam” lists the abilities of the 6th PSYOP Battalion. It says in part:

The Battalion has designed, printed, processed, loaded and delivered more than a half billion leaflets…We can print one million leaflets in support of any given mission within a 24-hour period. We printed three million leaflets on three different occasions in support of the Mu Gia Pass bombing in North Vietnam. The Battalion uses more than 200 tons of paper a month…Here in Saigon we produce approximately 10 million leaflets a week. Our bomb loading crew can pack five million leaflets daily if necessary, and that is 75,000 to each bomb. Field units can print two and one-half million leaflets a week in support of their tactical units.

Demand overwhelmed capability, and in December 1967 the 4th PSYOP Group was formed from the existing PSYOP battalion and its companies. Upon the formation of the 4th PSYOP Group, the 6th PSYOP Battalion Commander, Col. Beck, became the new Group Commander. The former company commanders of the 6th PSYOP Battalion became the new PSYOP Battalion Commanders under the newly formed Group.

The crest of the 6th Battalion depicted above is very interesting because the sword in the center has flames coming from the hilt that are grey, white and black. These colors apparently stand for the three types of information that can be transmitted, White propaganda had the origin clearly labeled; gray propaganda is information that bears no identification and could be from friendly or enemy sources; and black propaganda is information put out by an opposing government or institution and made to look as though it came from a friendly source. It is sometimes called “dirty tricks.”

The unit received Meritorious Unit Commendations for Vietnam 1966-1967 and Vietnam 1967-1968.

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4th PSYOP Group
Saigon

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Lieutenant Colonel William J. Beck 15 Oct 67 – 7 Oct 68
Colonel Taro Katagiri 4 Oct 68 - 13 Mar 70
Colonel Russel G. Jones Mar 70 - Mar 71
Colonel Frank Westling Mar 71 -

Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC)

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Major Merrill W. Harper

67

Major Robert H. Little May 67

Major Victor E. Esch

Nov 68

Major Gary W. Atkins

May 69

Major John M. Casterman

Jun 70

Print Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

1st Lieutenant William M. Abell

Aug 68

   

19th PSYOP Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Blaine Revis

Nov 64 - Sep 65

Captain Howard F. Gregory Oct 65 - Oct 66
Major James T.L. Dandridge, II Mar 66 - Sep 67

244th PSYOP Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Major William R. Jordan Jr. Feb 66
Captain Tommy D. Neatherlin. Jun 66
Tom McCaig Oct 66
Captain William Palmer Apr 67
Major Alex B. Williams Nov 67

245th PSYOP Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Major Robert R. Piragowski 10 Feb 66 - 67
Major Robert H. Little

67

Major Victor E. Esch 67

245th PSYOP Detachment (Pleiku)

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Dunn 66
CPT Brereton

67

 

 

246th PSYOP Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Major William R. Jordan Sr. Feb 66
Major Hilton Geohagen 1966 - Jun 67
Major Clarence A. Binkley Jun 1967 - Dec 67
Captain Peter D. Fielding Dec 67 -

The 246th PSYOP Company had an interesting pocket ID that was in the form of a “Lady Bug” with the text:

246th PSYOP Co – Professional Litter Bugs

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I commented to former PSYOP officer Hammond Salley about the vignette and he sent me a picture showing that it was also on the commander’s jeep, and apparently stayed on the jeep when the 246th became the 6th PSYOP Battalion.

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246th PSYOP Company Leaflet and Tape Catalog Cover Designed by SP4 Dave Kolchuk

According to the Operation Report Lessons Learned 4th Psychological Operations Group for Period ending 30 April 1970, at that time the Group had printed 313,232,000 6-inch x 3-inch leaflets. The breakdown by unit is 6th Psychological Operations Battalion - 23,190,500; 7th Psychological Operations Battalion - 94,920,000; 8th Psychological Operations Battalion - 32,115,000; 10th Psychological Operations Battalion - 76,145,000; Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office - 4,626,815,000 and Military Assistance Command Vietnam – 105,842,000.

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Prospective Company Patch designed by SP4 Dave Kolchuk

According to the Operations Report­ Lessons Learned Headquarters 4th Psychological Operations Group for the period ending 31 July, 1969, dated 31 August 1969 the Group had the following aircraft availability:

Each flight detachment usually provided 2 C-47s and 8 02-Bs or U-10s aircraft for PSYOP support in each zone. The 02B and U-10 were equipped to fly under visual flight rule conditions. The C-47 was equipped with Tactical Air navigation (TACAN) and could fly during adverse weather or night time conditions. Consequently the C-47s the only aircraft that could be used for night loudspeaker missions. Although it was used primarily for PSYOP loudspeaker broadcasts the U-10 could carry approximately 85.000 leaflets.

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6th PSYOP Battalion - III CTZ
Bien Hoa

Supported Units

II Field Forces, Vietnam; CORDS; 1st Cavalry Division; 1st Infantry Division; 25th Infantry Division; 199th Light Infantry Brigade; 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division; 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division; 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment; 1st Australian Task Force; Royal Thai Forces; Capital Military Assistance Command; 30th POLWAR Battalion (ARVN); Naval Forces, Vietnam; Company A, 5th Special Forces group; MACV Advisors.

The Battalion’s official report states that the 246th PSYOP Company was officially deactivated on 31 December 1967 to become the 6th Psychological Operations Battalion on 1 January 1968. The battalion colors were presented to Major Clarence A. Barkley, the 6th PSYOP Battalion Commander by the 4th PSYOP Group Commander on 5 January 1968 at Bien Hoa. The 6th PSYOP Battalion moved its residence from the Train Compound to the Honour-Smith Compound on the 28th of January 1968. The move was made due to expected increase in unit strength and the present lack of adequate space at the Train Compound. The 6th Psychological Operations Battalion reported these quarterly production totals: Leaflets printed: 49,800,000; Leaflets disseminated: 372, 800,000; Loudspeaker broadcasts: 1,425 hours and 40 minutes; Total missions: 1002. Of the 20 officers assigned to the 6th Battalion, 14 had formal PSYOP training. The remaining 6 were enrolled in after-hours study course. A small Viet Cong propaganda printing press was presented to the 6th PSYOP Battalion by the 5th Special Forces Group.

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Lieutenant Colonel Wallis J. Moulis Jan 67 - Dec 67
Major Clarence A. Binkley Dec 67 - Jun 68
Major Otmer R. Gorrell Jul 68 - Nov 68
Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Dietch Nov 68 - Nov 69
Lieutenant Colonel Irving O. Barker Nov 69 -

A Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Oliver S. Jackson Sep 68
   

B Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Robert M. Jewell

Nov 68
   

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7th PSYOP Battalion - I CTZ
Da Nang

Supported Units

III Marine Amphibious Force; CORDS; 1st Marine Division; 3rd Marine Division; 101st Airborne Division; 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division; Americal Division; Company C, 5th Special Forces group; 10th POLWAR Battalion (ARVN); Naval Advisory group; XXIV Corps; MACV Advisors.

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Major William C. Westguard Jul 68 - Jun 68

Major Donald B. Kemper, Jr

Jun 68 - Jun 69

Major Michael R. Fortini Jun 69 - Nov 69
Lieutenant Colonel Gerhard L. Jacobson Nov 69

Lieutenant Colonel John R. Cox

70

Captain Anthony Mottle was a Detachment Commander in the 7th PSYOP Battalion based in Da Nang in 1970. When asked about his duties he said:

The mission of the unit was to support the various units in I CORPS. We had a propaganda section in Da Nang that produced leaflets for units such as the 1st Marine Division, the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division at Phu Bai, The 23rd (Americal) Infantry Division at Chu Lai and the 1st Brigade of the 5th Mechanized Infantry Division. We had a Vietnamese psychologist working for us in the propaganda section. We usually assigned two-man teams to the supported units that went out with the maneuver forces to broadcast to the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army troops. We had helicopters at our disposal at the various units to broadcast to the enemy and disseminate leaflets. We also participated in Medical Civic Action Programs.

U.S. Army Sergeant Charles Cook served in Headquarters Company and later “B” Company, 7th PSYOP Battalion in Da Nang City as the Battalion Photographer from January to December 1970. At the time the 7th Battalion was quartered at the White Elephant Hotel, across the street from the Interrogation Center, and next to the CORDS building.  About January 1971 the Battalion moved across the river to China Beach. He says:

We had a work compound in the city close to camp Tien Shaw (an old French fort taken over by the Navy). We provided psywar support for all Army and Marine combat units in I corps. We also supported ARVN combat units in I corps.  We worked with Civil Operations and Rural Development (CORDS) providing support for Medical Civil Action Programs (MEDCAPS), and numerous other programs.  For operational purposes we were directly under 5th Special Forces Group in Nha Trang.  The 9th SOS (Special Operations Squadron) at Da Nang Airbase was used for air support, making leaflet drops, and “special missions” all over I Corps. At the north end of Da Nang Airbase were about 100 Conex containers that were filled with leaflets and other PSYOP products. 

According to the Operations Report ­ Lessons Learned Headquarters 7th Psychological Operations Battalion period ending 31 January, 1968 dated 6 February 1968, the number of leaflets printed during the last quarter of 1967 was 59 million. In addition the battalion took credit for 61 ralliers; Newsletter/Newspapers: 32,000; Ground Loudspeaker Broadcasts: 2,284 hours and 5 minutes; Motion Picture showings: 423 hours and 55 minutes; Movies shown: 699; Leaflets printed: 59,944,800; Leaflets printed Chieu Hoi: 14,977,610; Posters printed: 646,350; Total impressions: 13,850,249; New leaflets: 168; Sorties: 1222; Leaflets dropped: 620,140,500; Airborne Loudspeaker Broadcasts: 863 hours and 45 minutes and Leaflets shipped: 10,121,900.

Two additional battalion records were set during the quarter as they produced a total of 2 million leaflets in one day and a total of 7,250,500 leaflets in one week.

A Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Larry W. Cochran 68
Captain David Marciel Sep 68
   

B Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Patrick J. Riccinto May 68 - Dec 68

Major James Lee Farris

Dec 68 - Feb 69

Captain William J. Roberts

Feb 69 - Jun 69

Captain Alexander B. Trent

Jun 69 -

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8th PSYOP Battalion - II CTZ
Nha Trang

Supported Units

I Field Force, Vietnam; CORDS; 4th Infantry Division; 5th Special Forces Group; 173rd Airborne Brigade; 503rd Infantry; Company B, 5th Special Forces group; MACV Advisory Teams; 20th POLWAR Battalion (Vietnam); Task Force South; 9th ROK (White Horse) Division; Capitol ROK (Tiger) Division.

According to the 8th PSYOP Battalion Operations Report for Quarterly Period Ending 31 January 1968, dated 6 February 1968, on 1 December 1967, the 8th PSYOP battalion was activated to replace the 245th PSYOP Company as the principle military PSYOP agency supporting operations within II Corps. The battalion consisted of 21 Officers and 68 enlisted.

Company A was located in Nha Trang and operated with C Flight, 9th Air Commandos Squadron, to provide PSYOP support to coastal provinces.

Company B was established in Pleiku to work with B Flight, 9th Air Commandos Squadron, on supporting the highland provinces.

8th Battalion maintained a total of 5 loudspeaker (HB) teams and 5 audio-visual (HE) teams). One HE team was attached to a province advisor team. this arrangement added flexibility which enabled the audio-visual team to support US tactical units, special cordon and search operations and a variety of revolutionary development programs.

The 9th Air Commando Squadron flew a total of 884 missions disseminating 450,518,000 leaflets and providing 1,526 hours of loudspeaker broadcasts with 22 night missions flown by AC-47 aircraft.

During the 1968 TET Campaign in II Corps, the 8th PSYOP Battalion was provided with two UH-1D helicopters from the 17th Aviation Group in Nha Trang. In addition, the 173rd Airborne Brigade loaned 2 AEM-ABS-4 1000 watt loudspeaker systems which were then rigged in the helicopters. The helicopter loudspeaker missions began operations on 27 January 1968 rendering quick reaction aerial PSYOP support to Khanh Hoa, Bin Thuan and Phu Yen provinces. A total of 94 leaflet/loudspeaker sorties were flown broadcasting a total of 953 hours and 15 minutes of recordings and dropping 3,494,000 leaflets.

Initially a problem occurred rigging the 1000 watt loudspeaker system. An expedient method of rigging these loudspeaker units was developed by a field leader while supporting the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Air Mobile). This device which was constructed of scrap metal provided the necessary means to employ the speakers in the UH-1D helicopters.

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Frank C. Widrig Jr. - Jan 68

Major Edmond A. Mercer

Jan 68 - Oct 68

Lieutenant Colonel William J. Jacobs Nov 68 - Nov 69

Lieutenant Colonel Marlin C. Lang

Nov 69 - Apr 71

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Lauffer

April 71 -

A Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Ray Gines III - May 69
Captain Jack C. Bradshaw

Jun 69 -

 

70

Captain William G. Arbogast Apr 71

B Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Robert L. Christenson - Dec 68

Major William J. Katsarsky

Dec 68 - May 69

Major Edward W. McCarthy

May 69 - Jan 71

Captain Richard R. Stotts

Jan 71 -

 

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10th PSYOP Battalion - IV CTZ
Can Tho

Supported Units

CG, DMAC, IV Corps Tactical Zone; CORDS; 9th Infantry Division; Naval Forces, Vietnam; 40th POLWAR Battalion (Vietnam); Company D, 5th Special Forces Group; MACV Advisory teams.

According to the Operations Report ­ Lessons Learned Headquarters 10th Psychological Operations Battalion period ending 31 January, 1968 dated 6 February 1968 the 10th PSYOP Battalion dealt with a group known as the “KKK,” a quasi-bandit guerrilla band of Cambodian extract operating along the Cambodian border in Chau Doc province. The KKK was organized in company and battalion levels and constituted a threat to the local government and administration by taxing the people and in some instances attacking villages and assassinating leaders. Between 24 December 1967 and 3 January 1968, 185 of these KKK bandits rallied to the GVN. An arrangement was worked out by province officials and they offered full Chieu Hoi type benefits to the KKK members although current GVN policy does not classify the KKK as being eligible. Seizing the possibility of influencing the KKK personnel of the 10th POB dispatched 2 field teams to the area to determine conditions and make leaflet and loudspeaker appeals.

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10th Psychological Operations Battalion O Club, Can Tho, 1968.
Photo by William Ruzin

The 10th flew 5 or more leaflet-drop missions per day, using two C47 aircraft and U-10 HelioCouriers. The USAF 5th SOS located at Binh Thuy Vietnamese Air Force Base had two C47 “Gooney Birds” plus six U-10 Super HelioCouriers.) These were also used elsewhere in IV Corps. The unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for Vietnam 1967-1968, and the Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class for Vietnam 1967-1970.

Another interesting mission occurred in January 1968 when a study was completed and plans were formulated for a project to reach the population of tightly controlled Viet Cong areas by means of attractive waterproof jackets containing leaflets and brochures along with gifts (soap, thread and needles, tooth brushes, crayons, etc.) floated into the targeted areas by means of numerous canals and waterways of IV Corps. Arrangements were made with the Binh Thay Naval Base S5 (Civil Affairs) to supply the 10th POB with detailed intelligence of the targeted groups in the river target areas and a means of delivery. A search was made for a source of cellophane bags and a bag sealer.

A lieutenant who was involved told me that he had written to his wife at home asking for her to find the cellophane bags and a hot iron to seal them. He said that the project was not a success, sealing the bags produced only a marginal closure and some of them leaked.<

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Major Robert Q. Newton Apr 68  - Aug 68
Major Jack R. Kimberlin Aug 68 - Nov 68

Lieutenant Colonel William O. Lawton

Nov 68 - Nov 69

Lieutenant Colonel James R. Warren

Nov 69 - Jun 70

A Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Samuel R. Krug

Jun 70
   

B Company

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Captain Ronnie J. Smith July 68

Captain Richard S. Mitchell

Sep 68

Captain Rotyslaw R. Smyk

Apr 69

Captain Louis R. Beck

 

Captain William C. Kietzman

Nov 69

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7th PSYOP Group
Okinawa

COMMANDER

DATES OF COMMAND

Colonel John E. Beebe 20 Oct 65 - 7 Feb 66
Colonel Maurice W. Lundelius 7 Feb 66 - 4 Oct 68

Colonel Harold F. Bentz

30 Nov 68 - 16 May 72

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The Machinato Printing Plant – Okinawa

SP4 Jeff Truesdale of the 14th PSYOP Battalion of the 7th PSYOP Group
(December 1972 to June 1973) sent us these photographs of the Machinato Printing Plant on Okinawa.

The 7th PSYOP Group was constituted 19 August 1965 in the regular Army and activated 20 October 1965 and assigned to the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa), located in the Machinato Service Area. It was attached to IX Corps for operation and Training. The 7th PSYOP Group was the successor to the U. S. Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Pacific, (USABVAPAC) which was disbanded 20 October 1965.

The 14th Radio Broadcasting & Leaflet Battalion was reorganized from the 14th Psychological Operations Battalion in 1954, headquartered at Ft. Shafter Hawaii. This unit was reorganized to the 14th PSYWAR Battalion in 1958. The 14th PSYWAR Battalion became the 14th PSYOP Battalion in 1965. The Battalion had detachments in Okinawa, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. The 7th PSYOP Group was reorganized from the 14th PSYWAR Battalion in Oct 1965. Field Support Detachments from the old 14th PSYWAR Battalion were in Vietnam as early as May 1965. A 24 man team of 7 officers and 17 enlisted were stationed at Train Compound just outside of Bien Hoa Air Base. The team was attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The team had audio-visual vans equipped with power converters to run the movie projectors, slide projectors and sound systems.It also had a printing facility to publish a newsletter in Vietnamese and print propaganda leaflets. In addition, they made propaganda tapes to be played by from loudspeakers.

PFC William Boyle tells us a little about his activities in 1965 in those confusing times as the U. S. Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity unit was shut down and the 14th PSYWAR Battalion became the 7th PSYOP Group: 

I never heard of either the 14th Battalion or the 7th Group. We were US Army B&VA Pacific. I rarely saw a set of orders and just went where they sent me. We were sent to Bien Hoa from Okinawa in June of 1965. We needed interpreters, but the 173rd Airborne would not allow any Vietnamese nationals, including their army, inside their perimeter, so we were sent to live in a compound used by several small units over by the river. We changed patches several times: We went in wearing the 173 patch, were transferred to Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), then to United States Army, Vietnam (USARV), and ended up with the Special Forces. I earned flight pay most months on loudspeaker operations and leaflet drops from C-47's (we took turns so everyone had a chance), as well as numerous chopper flights and a few trips in the De Havilland U1 Otter. We did printing, civic action operations, loudspeaker missions and dropped “Chieu Hoi” (Open Arms) leaflets from C-47 aircraft.

The 7th PSYOP Group was tasked with support activities in Okinawa, Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand and Japan. The group consisted of the 14th PSYOP Battalion, the 15th PSYOP Detachment, the Japan Detachment, the Korea detachment, the Taiwan Detachment, the Thailand Detachment and the Vietnam Detachment.

The Japan detachment printed a magazine for Vietnam entitled Thong Cam (Mutual Understanding). The detachment produced a number of PSYOP products for Vietnam, including; 1,640,000 calendars, 23,150 magazines, 2,575,593,530 leaflets and 661,570 booklets.

During 1965 The Okinawa printing plant produced 125 million leaflets for MACV and the Vietnam Detachment produced another 62 million on its web-fed press in Saigon. The Detachment maintained liaison with the Joint United States Public Affairs Office and the Military Assistance Command Political Warfare Directorate. In September two members journeyed to Vietnam to plan and conduct the first high altitude leaflet and toy bundle dissemination over North Vietnam. They returned again in December to assist in a Christmas toy drop over North Vietnam.

In March 1967, the detachment took part in the production of a bar of soap with eight different PSYOP messages that became visible as the soap was used. 25,000 bars of soap were ready for the annual Tet campaign of February 1969. By 1968 the 7th Group Detachment produced about 800,000,000 leaflets a month. They worked with JUSPAO to print 2,000,000 copies bi-weekly of the PSYOP newspaper Tu Do (Free South). The detachment also printed six different calendars with a run of 1,720,000 copies and six PSYOP booklets with a run of 330,000 copies.

SP4 William Boyle was a member of the 7th PSYOP Group in Okinawa. He said:

In May 1965, a larger TDY detachment (about 20 of us) was sent to Bien Hoa attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade. We were quartered at an old French villa near the river that was already used by the Special Forces. We set up shop in Bien Hoa and used our portable (tractor-trailer carried) presses to print leaflets which we dropped from specially outfitted C-47's,  which were also used as loudspeaker platforms for night missions over Viet Cong territory).

Colonel Harold F. Bentz, Jr. commanded the 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa from 30 November 1968 to 16 May 1972. He added:

The Group was responsible for printing approximately 80% of all the PSYOP printing requirements for Vietnam…The Group had to utilize three printing plants, The USIA Regional Service Center in Manila, the U.S. Army Printing and Publications Center in Japan, and the 7th PSYOP Group printing plant.

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The 1,000,000,000 Leaflet is Dropped

In March 1967, the 7th PSYOP Group Commander, Colonel Lundelius personally assisted in dropping the one billionth leaflet printed by his unit for high altitude dissemination.

In 1967, the unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Voice of the United Nations Command Certificate of Appreciation for their support of military operations in the Republic of Vietnam.