SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)

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24th PSYWAR Detachment Guidon

The 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile) was the first U.S. Army division to be deployed to Vietnam, leaving Ft. Benning, Georgia, and arriving in-country on 11 September 1965. It fought the first major engagement of the war, the November 1965 battle of the Ia Drang in II Corps in the Central Highlands. The Pentagon apparently decided during the planning stages of the deployment to attach a PSYOP detachment to the Cavalry as a “force multiplier.”

The 24th PSYOP Detachment (Field Support) was activated on 18 July 1965 from personnel of the 1st and 13th PSWAR Battalions assigned to the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, and the 3rd and 6th Special Forces Groups at Fort Bragg, NC.  The unit, authorized seven officers and twenty-one enlisted, was formed, trained and deployed to Vietnam in just two weeks. It was among the very first PSYOP detachments sent to Vietnam. There is some some debate as to what PSYOP unit first reached Vietnam, with the 1st PSYOP Detachment often getting credit. Official orders indicate that the 1st PSYOP Detachment (Provisional) was ordered to Vietnam on Temporary Duty Assignment of 90 days on 22 July 1965 and consisted of 7 officers and 17 enlisted personnel from the 14th Battalion (U.S. Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity Pacific). The list of unit members in later orders showed that instead of 24 members, just 22 actually deployed to Vietnam, 7 officers and 15 enlisted personnel. Although not named specifically, Captain John A. Hardaway seems to have been in command.

Later in 1965 a small unit of the Okinawa-based 7th PSYOP Group arrived in Saigon, but it was more in the form of an advisory team. The unit was made up of an eclectic group of soldiers. Former PFC “Combat Illustrator” John Magine recalls that some were Special Forces qualified, some were jump qualified, and some even had high altitude low opening (HALO) training. Others had no special training. All the members had some language training and skills. The unit was made up of enlistees and draftees. They were a mix, some from the 3rd Special Forces Group who wore the green berets with the flash, some had no flash because they were new, and some had a small color bar on the beret or wore just the standard military cap. It was a real mixture of skills and talents. The detachment was formed by Captain Blaine Revis who previously had commanded the 19th PSYOP Company. He selected some soldiers that he knew, and others were obtained by a call for “volunteers,” (a military euphemism that means “you, you and you.”). The new unit had almost no supplies and had to beg, borrow and steal equipment.

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Brigadier General Joseph W. Stilwell Jr.
addresses the troops of the new 24th PSYOP Detachment
in July 1965 at Ft. Bragg prior to their deployment to Vietnam

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1st Cavalry Division Patch

After a brief two-week training period in July 1965, they were all awarded a letter of Commendation by Brigadier General J. W. Stillwell, of the U. S. A. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare, (what we used to call an “Attaboy”), and then sent by troop train from Ft. Bragg to the Oakland Army Terminal from where they embarked in August for a 23-day trip across the Pacific on the troop ship USS William H. Gordon. After landing in Qui Nhon in September 1965, they found themselves loaded into trucks and on the road to Anh Khe to clear the area and prepare the site for the arrival of the 1st Cavalry Division. The detachment arrived in Anh Khe a full week before the division. On 2 September they shed their “Field Support” title and became the 24th PSYOP Detachment (USARPAC).

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An early view of the base at Anh Khe

The 24th PSYOP Detachment was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division's G-5 because the section was understaffed for communicating with the Vietnamese populace and the laborers who would prepare the base at Anh Khe for the arrival of aircraft. It soon became apparent that the Cavalry Division had little interest in PSYOP support. The men did guard duty around the new base, some menial tasks, and as PFC Magine remembers:

We didn't have much contact with the 1st Cavalry. Of course, we were there before they were. We dropped some leaflets and did a few forward operations but mostly just secured the area until the Cavalry arrived. The leaflets were standard themes like "What is your girlfriend doing at home while you are here?" or “You will die in the mud...a terrible death...give up and we will pay you and give you soap to wash.” They were mostly hand illustrated in ink. There were very few photographs at that stage of the war.

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A Typical home for members of the 24th PSYOP Detachment

In the early days we had our shelter halves, our C-Rations, and an occasional tarantula in a boot. Before we got our big general purpose tents, a couple of days of early monsoon rain made the standard trench around the shelter halves fill up with muddy water in about 30 seconds. We helped clear the area of brush and lay some perforated steel plate (PSP) runway and generally secured the area. We had some infiltration, an occasional firefight, and a little “incoming” as well. There was always something going on in the wire that would set off the flares about 0200 like clockwork. Other than washing your ass in a steel pot, and cold 1942 C-Rations it wasn't too bad.

We operated fairly independently in those days. Our Headquarters seemed to change frequently. Those were the days of in-country travel by seeing whose propellers or rotors were turning and then hopping on board. I recall one time having to hitch hike down Route 1 to get back because we had no chopper ride and we were left in a forward area. Two of us walked a while and there was a Chinook sitting by the side of the road miles from nowhere with the guys playing cards. When they finished we took off with them, picked up a sling full of ammunition and went home.

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Bill Hyder in March 1966 by the PSYOP leaflet printing van.
The design/art van to his left. The two vans used to create and print the leaflets.

Unit member Staff Sergeant Bill Hyder recalls:

Lucky for us we packed a refrigerator, generator, gas, and beer so we were in good shape for the wait.  Once the Cavalry arrived it became impossible to get support so we traded stuff we had and “borrowed” to get tents and rations.  After a month of this and enjoying the nightly perimeter probes from Charlie and for the most part doing nothing for the war effort, II Corps decided to move us to Nha Trang so that we could support all of II Corps. With all the borrowing and trading during our tour in Anh Khe it took several C-130's to move us.  Somehow we had two additional jeeps and 1 extra 3/4 ton truck, plus 3 general Purpose (GP) medium tents, 4 squad tents and 30 extra cots. It is amazing how blind soldiers on guard duty become when given a 6-pack.

Captain Revis adds:

This scrounging was necessary because we were an orphan detachment until the 1st Cavalry arrived. We couldn't even pick up our assigned vehicles that had arrived in Qui Nhon until we finessed a bill of lading that reflected our vehicles...and then some.

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U-10 Courier Aircraft Utilized by the 24th PSYOP Company

The Helio Courier was a light utility transport. The original version of the U.S. Air Force Courier made its first flight in 1958. The USAF purchased three aircraft for evaluation the same year, designating them L-28As and later redesignating them U-10As. Eventually, more than 100 additional U-10As were ordered, mainly for use by air commando units in Southeast Asia. It was used for liaison, light cargo, small supply drop operations, psychological warfare (dropping leaflets and broadcasting propaganda), forward air controller and reconnaissance missions

Former unit member Second Lieutenant Fred Young first commanded a loudspeaker and leaflet team in An Khe attached to the 1st Cavalry. After about 6 months in Vietnam he made first Lieutenant and commanded the printing team in Nha Trang. He adds:

Among the challenges faced by the 24th PSYOP Detachment had to do with the fact that it was the first TOE PSYOP unit to serve in Vietnam. Of course, Special Forces teams had been doing PSYOP and thoroughly understood its importance and how to do it. The 24th had to sell the idea to the 1st Cavalry Division staff that initially was understandably focused on tactical combat operations that did not include PSYOP. When my team arrived in An Khe, the Cavalry promptly assigned my team to the G5 (Civil Affairs). There was some tension when the G-5 personnel insisted that we use our loudspeakers to make announcements to local Vietnamese civilian workers who were helping to prepare the An Khe base and get it ready for the Cavalry personnel who had not yet arrived. My team was soon re-assigned to the G-3 and we began to be written into the combat operations and were soon making regular leaflet drops and conducting loudspeaker operations from C-47s in conjunction with the Chieu Hoi program to try to induce Viet Cong to surrender. This successful use of PSYOP as a combat force multiplier won over early doubters about PSYOP's effectiveness. The 5th Special Forces team in the area also called on us from time to time and were excellent practitioners of PSYOP. One memorable occasion was when they asked our team to go spend the night in a nearby village. When I asked them why, they said that the locals tended to their farms in the day time but were afraid to spend the night in the village and always came back to An Khe where they felt safer. “We need you to go with us, show some propaganda films, and visit with the locals. Our spending the night there will show them that we think it's safe and maybe they’ll stop coming to An Khe out of fear of a Viet Cong night attack on their village.” Well, we did stay the night. The propaganda films, as I recall, were thought to be hilarious by the villagers; they featured a sort of Vietnamese “Laurel and Hardy” duo with a lot of slapstick.

I asked about the PSYOP scripts used by the detachment. Young replied:

I think we wrote our own scripts at first, but if memory serves, there was an officer of the Joint United States Public Affairs Office (or was he Department of State?) who was with us some of the time. He may have written some of them.

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A loudspeaker Jeep of the 24th PSYOP Detachment
bearing the flags of the Republic of Vietnam
and the emblem of the Republic of Korea
Meng Ho (Yellow Tiger) Army Mechanized Infantry Division.
Notice the bullet holes in the window and the door above “U. S.
Was it something they said?

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Korean Tiger Division Patch

Former SSG Dan Eberhardt told me in regard to the bullet holes:

I was the Team NCO of HE-3 Team. We were attached to the Korean Tiger Division for about six months. They had their headquarters outside of Qui Nhon. We participated in several operations with the Tiger Division throughout their area of operation. We coordinated leaflet drops and conducted loudspeaker missions from the air, on boats, and on the ground. The shoulder patch of the Korean Division was of a tiger's head. That's where the idea came from to paint the Vehicle with the patch.

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Dan Eberhardt, now 68 years old with the bullet that had his name on it.

I was returning to the base camp of the Tiger Division. It was just before Christmas and we were showing films to school children in Qui Nhon. We had been doing this for about a week or so. Maybe we set a pattern.  About half way back to the base, the Viet Cong opened fire on us from about 30 to 40 feet away. They hit us 3 or 4 times. One slug went thru the passenger door, thru my shirt, and into the seat behind me. I dug the slug out when I got back to base and have kept it with me. I always thought it was the one with my name on it. As long as I had it I was safe. I wore it around my neck for a long time.

In November 1965, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) ordered the detachment moved to Nha Trang as part of the II Corps Operations section (G3) and headquartered them in the Grand Hotel right on the main beach road. The billets were behind the hotel and their equipment was near the airport. By January 1966 they were headquartered in the Supply Depot compound.

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A Vietnamese Army PSYOP team in action. ARVN teams
like this were supported by the 24th PSYOP Detachment.

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PSYOP Loudspeaker Truck

The detachment participated directly in attack planning which included control of civilians caught in the battlefield field of fire. On one major campaign called “Operation Eagle’s Claw” in the Bong Son Valley, the 24th PSYOP Detachment helped to relocate 5,000 refugees onto a temporary site and supply them with tents and food for over a month. They supported operations in the Bong Son Valley on at least three separate occasions and dropped millions of leaflets each time. The detachment had loudspeaker teams with Vietnamese linguists to call upon the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong units to surrender. The unit had one truck with printing press and produced a limited number of propaganda leaflets, but the majority of leaflets were printed and flown in from Japan. It also had several loudspeaker teams working in the field. Some were assigned to Korean (ROK) military units, other to the 101st Airborne Division. The Detachment made personal contact with the USAF 5th Air Commando Squadron and created a liaison that allowed both to mutually support each other.

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The 24th PSYOP Detachment also worked with the U. S. Navy
broadcasting from speakers mounted on patrol craft fast (PCF) river boats.
The speakers were located at the back of the boat by the 50 caliber
machinegun turret. Here John Magine is seen on PCF-52.

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Inspecting a VC Sampan for Contraband on PCF 52

Although PSYOP specialists had a safer job than infantrymen, PFC Magine discovered that life on the swift boats could be dangerous. On 16 July 1966, PCF 52 received small arms fire from shore positions just south of Nha Trang while conducting a PSYOP broadcast. The PCF received two hits in the pilot house, one in the main cabin, one in the gun tub and one on the radar mast. When one studies the files of the swift boats numerous such attacks are detailed. For instance, to name just two, after the completion of a PSYOP mission on the Dam Doi River, 4 December 1969, PCFs 50, 56 and VNN 3805 were taken under intense B-40 rocket, automatic weapons and small arms fire.  The lead boat PCF-50, took a B-40 hit in the pilot house, killing the bow gunner and wounding the Officer in Charge and helmsman. During a PSYOPS patrol on the western Cua Lon River, 19 November 1969, PCF-82 had two B-40 rockets fired at it, the first hit the water just off the port side, resulting in shrapnel wounds to the Officer in Charge and the gunners mate.  The second B-40 skipped off the water and then hit the port bow just above the waterline, causing heavy interior boat damage.  

PFC Magine recalls:

Our primary mission was to create the leaflets and go on special PSYOP field operations. I personally went on field operations in Bong Son, Phu Cat, Pleiku, and on a patrol craft fast (PCF) river boat.

On one operation two of us loaded some 155mm base ejection artillery rounds with leaflets out in a Bong Son cemetery. We had to screw off the base, pull out the powder bags, roll the leaflets and screw the base back on. Some of the leaflets were coded by JUSPAO “SP,” others bore our own codes.

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C-47 Aircraft with Loudspeakers in Doorway.

I also took part in some C-47 night leaflet drops near Saigon. The leaflet mission near Saigon was before and after a Phantom mission where they dropped napalm. It always seemed strange to me as to why we would throw paper into a burning jungle, but was Vietnam.  We also dropped safe conduct passes and Chieu Hoi leaflets after Arc Light and Tiger Hound missions. Arc Light was B52 bombing and Tiger Hound was Ho Chi Minh Trail Interdiction.

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B-52 Arc Light bombing mission

The first B-52 Arc Light bombing mission was carried out on 18 June 1965. Twenty-seven B-52F bombers of the 7th and 320th Bombardment Wings based at Guam were used to attack a Viet Cong jungle redoubt with conventional 750-pound and 1,000-pound bombs.   

From June through December, the 7th, 320th, and 454th Bombardment Wings completed over 100 missions to South Vietnam. These B-52s were used primarily in saturation bombing of Viet Cong base areas, but later they were used in direct tactical support of the Marine Corps' Operation Harvest Moon and the First Cavalry Division's fight in the Ia Drang Valley. 

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SP5 Tom Zangla took this picture of Spooky in action from the 525th Military Intelligence Group MACV Team 21 Compound near Pleiku, Vietnam, in May 1969.

The unit members reminisced about the Arc Light missions: 

An Arc Light mission was composed of four elements.

First, a fully loaded flight of B-52s with 500 pound bombs to be dropped over an area as wide and as long as the number of flights assigned to the mission.

This was followed by napalm strikes within the mission zone.

Then "Puff-the-Magic Dragon" (later code-named "Spooky" - now "Spectre") gunships would lace the area with withering minigun fire and in the case of "Spooky" 20mm cannon fire. This fire was so intense that a single 2 second burst would put a round on every square foot on a foot of a football field. When firing at night, it looked like a river of fire falling out of the sky and it sounded like a giant rip of heavy cloth.

The fourth phase was the PSYOP exploitation. If the social rule, "dissonance seeks consonance," is true, those folks on the ground were extremely discontented (in shock, bleeding from their eardrums) and we could offer them a much better, safer, and more peaceful life. We would kick leaflets into the flaming jungle. We flew with the Fifth Air Commando Squadron. At first there were no leaflet ports in Puff and Spooky so we tossed the leaflets out the gun doors.

The detachment had fully qualified Military Intelligence (MI) personnel assigned to interface with other MI units to extract actionable intelligence for Political and Psychological Warfare missions.

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“Puff the Magic Dragon” C47 in action

Once I even tossed the leaflets down a chute inside of a “Puff the Magic Dragon” gun ship near Pleiku. There was a small metal chute on the left side of the aircraft behind the gun. There was one Hell of a racket and a giant tracer trail out past the tail.

I inquired more about the codes on leaflets produced by the detachment and the general consensus is that they bore no codes. One member stated:

I had the opportunity to drop a few million leaflets and do not remember any code.

Another said:

We did not, to my knowledge, use any identification code. I never heard of a requirement to code leaflets. So, I guess we didn't, unless someone else in the unit remembers that we did.

It appears from these comments that the 24th POD either used coded leaflets from other sources or prepared their own leaflets without code. 

The first commanding officer of the 24th Psychological Operations Detachment was Captain Blaine Revis. He remained the commander until February 1966 when the detachment became the 245th PSYOP Company.

Captain Revis is mentioned by another soldier who said:

The reality was that very few of us went into the field on operations. Most stayed in Anh Khe or later Nha Trang. Field operations were more or less volunteer, unless a specific assignment came down. CPT Revis would pop in and say “who wants to go up to Tuy Hoa?” and whoever felt like a trip would go along for the action. Some of us liked being out in the field, but most of the unit stayed at the base with various PSYOP duties. There were headquarters administration tasks and the creating and production of leaflets. Only a few volunteered for the field operations.

Captain Revis replies:

It wasn't quite that casual. I would ask for volunteers and I always had more than enough for hazardous jobs. Like John Magine packing Leaflets into a live 155. Like the First Sergeant Horace Hill going into a Vietnamese anti-American demonstration to gather intelligence on the mood of the crowd with the idea of counter-propaganda. Like Bill Hyder and others who volunteered to go on Puff the Magic Dragon missions. Some were never asked to go because their jobs were specialties like printer or base operations. Some were tasked frequently, like the loudspeaker teams. They had to go. The unit had six officers. I divided them into five support teams consisting of an officer and two enlisted and one interpreter. We had a team with the 101st Airborne Division, the ROK Capital Division, and on occasion the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

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The U-10 Courier 

Staff Sergeant Bill Hyder recalls

The 5th Air Commando Squadron commanded by Major Robert Cresey had four U-10 Couriers and one C-47 Skytrain aircraft. We were all on flight status.  One mission was called "Fire Dragon." It consisted of one spotter aircraft, two A1E's Skyraiders, "Puff the Magic Dragon" and our leaflet C47. The spotter would find a Viet Cong camp late at night, the A1E's would light it up, "Puff" would fire thousands of rounds at it, and we would drop leaflets letting them know that the fire dragon was after them and where to go to surrender. We also had a campaign where we dropped leaflets with pictures of different weapons along with the price we would pay if they gave up and brought in a weapon. When a Viet Cong gave up and turned in a weapon, he got paid a reward, stayed in a camp for two weeks getting fed, and would sent to educational classes.  At the end of the two weeks he was returned to the general population. It was a good program, but apparently no one was keeping records.  Once they began keeping records it was discovered that some Viet Cong had surrendered three and four times. 

The last mission I went on was in the C-47 flying 100 miles west of Hanoi. I don't remember the altitude, but it was damn cold. We dropped the leaflets and the winds took them to Hanoi.  We were in the air nine hours. A real stupid thing for a guy to do with only two weeks left in-country. 

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A Chieu Hoi Leaflet

Captain Revis says about the Chieu Hoi leaflets:

About ten years ago, I was in Hanoi talking with a government official who was, at the time of the conversation, the Minister of Mines and Minerals in the current regime. He had been the Viet Cong province Governor of Quang Ngai while we were in Qui Nhon. We were chatting about the war and I had asked about the effect of our psychological operations as far as he knew. He said he had heard of us. He said our most effective programs were the Chieu Hoi campaign and the “Flaming Skeleton” that John Magine drew. As I recall, we used John's artwork of the flaming skeleton on several leaflets. One of them read, “Born in the North to die in the South” which was etched onto a canteen obtained from a dead North Vietnamese soldier. Another was a poem which had been extracted from a NVA diary that we had been given by the II Corps G-2 (Intelligence). John had accented the reverse in grey with a Northern style house with a garden and smoke curling from a chimney, the poem superimposed on the art work. The text was rather long but in essence was a plaintive cry of homesickness and questioning the purpose of the war by an NVA soldier. Most of the 24th carried a supply of these leaflets and when we went into a restaurant or bistro they would wet the leaflet and paste it to the walls or ceilings. I am told that they were tough to peel off!

I asked Captain Revis to tell me more about the “flaming skeleton.” I do not recall ever seeing that particular image on a leaflet. He replied:

The flaming skeleton was depicted with a conical Vietnamese hat that had a red star on it and red flames all around the image.

At the time our main target audience was the Viet Cong. Through intelligence reports we knew that when the North Vietnamese Army was in an area they would integrate the Viet Cong into their units but would put them in the center of the formation to keep them from deserting. The Viet Cong didn't like the overbearing leadership of the Northerners and would, in the Vietnamese vernacular, "Di Di Mau" (“go quickly”), at the first opportunity. We wished to exploit that friction.

So, the flaming skeleton was in VC garb. Remember also, this was a time when one of the main psychological weapons of the war was napalm. It was used for everything. Clearing bunkers, cooking off mine fields, and clearing areas of enemy troops. We knew from intelligence reports that both the NVA and VC were psychologically vulnerable to the intense fires of napalm. Special Forces used a variation of napalm made with a concoction called “Foogas,” (from the old cartoon "Smokey Stover" which labeled anything that was “BS” foogas). The stuff was made with a drum of gasoline and several bars of GI soap or soap flakes to thicken it. Sometimes chunks of charcoal were added to make the mixture burn longer. Then a -pound block of C4 explosive with a detonator attached to a trip wire was put under the container. Intruders were both illuminated and scared poopless from the resultant explosion. Anyway the result of a deployment of any form of napalm was psychologically profound. We knew of this fear and we sought to exploit it. Our leaflets were all developed from incoming and current intelligence with a calculated view of how to best exploit what we viewed as a weakness within the enemy ranks. Some leaflets were developed to support tactical operations by reminding the enemy of their weaknesses and the overpowering forces that faced them while others conveyed themes developed by ARVN and JUSPAO. The image of the flaming skeleton was well suited to a number of themes. And we used it frequently.

The 29 October 1965 overseas edition of Time discusses a strange PSYOP campaign:

Tucked away in their hammocks beneath the dripping rain-infested canopy, the Viet Cong guerrillas could hardly believe their ears. Out of the night sky came an ominous, warbling whine, like bagpipes punctuated with cymbals. It was Buddhist funeral music - a dissonant dirge cascading from the darkness. Then a snatch of dialogue between a mother and child: “Mother, where is daddy?” “Don't ask me questions. I am very worried about him.” “But I miss Daddy very much. Why is he gone so long?” Then the music and voices faded slowly into the distance and the platoon settled back to a restless sleep.

It was, of course, only one of many sights and sounds that the Viet Cong are greeted to every day, courtesy of JUSPAO - the Joint United States Public Affairs Office, which handles psychological warfare in South Viet Nam. Funeral dirges howl nightly over Viet Cong redoubts from the loudspeakers of JUSPAO planes, along with the tape-recorded cries of little children, and weird, electronic cacophonies intended to raise terrifying images of forest demons among the superstitious terrorists. During daylight hours, JUSPAO's eight aircraft dump tons of leaflets on the enemy - 3,500,000 a week, ranging from safe conduct passes to maps showing the best way to get out of Red territory. Says one of JUSPAO's “psywar” adepts; "We are the world's worst litterbugs."

This dirge and others like it came from the fertile imaginations of officers like Captain Blaine Revis, Commander of the 24th PSYOP Detachment. He told me that when queried by the Commanding General of the 1st Cavalry Division about what PSYOP could do to help win battles he answered:

One idea that I presented was to mount loudspeakers on some helicopters and to play tapes of the Vietnamese funerary dirges. (Really strange sounds but very effective in producing a mood of finality and defeat in the Viet Cong) The idea was represented in the movie “Apocalypse Now,” but in the movie instead of the funeral dirge they played the “Ride of the Valkyries.” I suppose the director thought it was more identifiable to a western audience. The dirge is played on a small instrument that looks and sounds like a miniature clarinet. From my past assignment in Vietnam I had noted that when a funeral procession went by and the dirge was played, even people who did not know the deceased became agitated and would sometimes cry openly. When I asked why, they would explain that even if they were young, it soon it would be their turn. I had recommended the use of the dirge to Major General Harry W. B. Kinnard along with painting some of the helicopters to look like the beast that carries people to heaven or Hell from this life. I do not know if he acted on the recommendation.

Revis also recommended against the dropping of the ace of spades “death card” on the bodies of dead Viet Cong.

General Kinnard asked me about the 101st Airborne Division’s idea of placing the ace of spades around the battlefield and on Viet Cong bodies. Bicycle Playing Card Company sent cases of decks of cards with all aces of spades. I told him that it was mistakenly a case of transposed symbolism, because we Americans look at the ace of spade as the death card, and the Vietnamese see it as a phallic symbol and would perhaps suggest the 101st was involved in necrophilia.

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245th PSYOP Company HQ in Nha Trang

On 10 February 1966, the 24th PSYOP Detachment was re-designated the 245th PSYOP Company and became responsible for PSYOP in II Corps. Major Robert R. Piragowski was the first commanding officer. At Ft. Bragg he had commanded the 1st PSYWAR (Field A) Company, of the 1st PSYWAR Battalion. The 7th PSYOP Group 1968 Unit History indicates that the 24th PSYOP designation was used again in 1968 to rename their Korea Detachment. Orders dated 4 December 1968 redesignates the Korea Detachment, 7th PSYOP Group, as the 24th PSYOP Detachment. The first Commanding Officer was LTC Carl E. Baskin (4 December 1967 – 12 May 1968) followed by Major Dennis C. Howley (13 May 1968 - ?). This new 24th PSYOP Detachment “conducted audio and visual media psychological operations and conducted liaison with United States and Republic of Korea agencies as pertained to psychological operations.”

One former member of the 245th commented:

When the 24th changed over to the 245th, to my knowledge everyone stayed where they were. More personnel came into the 245th and its headquarters was established in Nha Trang. The operational teams stayed where they were. AA Team (Command) was in Nah Trang. HE-2 Team was with the 1st Cavalry Division, and HE-3 was with the Korean Tiger Division.

Another member added:

The 245th PSYOP Co was activated on 10 February 1966.   Personnel from the 24th POD (Nha Trang) and the detachment in Pleiku were absorbed into the company, although subsequently, some were transferred out to other units.   Also additional personnel were transferred in from Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) 6th PSYOP Battalion. They had traveled with the Battalion HHC from the continental United States (CONUS). 

Former SSG Jon Cartier talks about how the PSYOP Company supported field combat units:

PSYOP Loudspeaker Team 8 supported operations with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, of the 1st Cavalry Division. While supporting the 2-7th Cavalry, Team 8 assisted in earning the unit a Meritorious Unit Citation during the period 25 August 1966 through April of 1967.  Members of the 245th currently still wear this award over the right jacket pocket of their dress green uniforms. Another unit supported by the 245th was the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. During this time, parts of the 245th were included in an award to the 2nd of the 101st for the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Device. The dates for the award are recorded as the 1st through the 31st of July 1966 and 9 December 1966 through 18 January 1967.

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:

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Beachmaster Loudspeaker System – WWII Land Configuration

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 took the NVA rallier along to make appeals to NVA soldiers. We used a 1000 watt Western Electric Beachmaster loud speaker in the doorway of a Bell “Huey” HU1D helicopter. The loudspeaker system was first used in WWII to help bring order to invasion forces on the beaches of the South Pacific. It was then known as the Navy Public Address Set (PAB-1).

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. 

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Staff Sergeant Baker’s Memorandum Book

Every American Sergeant worth his salt carries a memorandum book where he makes note of his mission, his men, his supplies and anything else of importance. Here is SSG Baker’s memorandum book page where he wrote down what he wanted his Vietnamese interpreter to broadcast to the Viet Cong below.

Baker continues:

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

Retired Army Master Sergeant Paul L. Johnson assigned to the 245th PSYOP Company (Nha Trang) as an HB Field Team NCOIC 1966-1967 recalls what it was like to try and change hearts and minds in those early days of the Vietnam War:

When I arrived in Vietnam in September 1966 I was a private first class with no idea of what PSYOP was all about.  I spent a week in-processing at 6th PSYOP Battalion Headquarters in Saigon and was then sent to the 245th PSYOP Company in Nha Trang.

I was just 19 and most of the soldiers in the outfit were about my age. Everyone was eager to teach me all they could as fast as they could. I learned more about PSYOP than I believed possible. I was taught everything from processing the field intelligence and photographs to laying out the leaflets for production.

I soon realized that we had two jobs. The first was to convince the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army soldiers to lay down their arms and stop fighting us. At the same time, we had a consolidation mission to bring the civilians to the side of the national government and to show them that we were their friends and in Vietnam not as occupiers, but only to guarantee their freedom and safety.  

I got to know the target audience really well when I was later assigned as the HB (loudspeaker) Team non-commissioned officer to a battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division. My teammate was First Lieutenant Charles Allen and we were really close, just the two of us working together with a Vietnamese interpreter. We tried to win over the civilian population and motivate enemy soldiers to cease resistance and go "Chieu Hoi." We had occasional victories and did bring some guerrillas over to our side.

I believe in my heart that the United States went to Vietnam in good faith and with good intentions. I left Vietnam in September 1967 a 20-year old seasoned Specialist Five field soldier and true "Psywarrior." I understood and believed in the phrase, "The pen Is mightier than the sword." I believed in the PSYOP effort I was part of. I think we helped a lot of people and saved some lives. In fact, I believed it so strongly that I volunteered for a second tour of PSYOP duty in Vietnam.

PSYOPS in Vietnam: Indications of Effectiveness, JUSPAO Planning Office,Saigon, Vietnam, May, 1967, mentions that from 1 Jan 1966 to 1 October 1966 USAF planes dropped over one billion leaflets for the 245th PSYOP Company. The 245th designed and printed 61 million of these leaflets with their own facilities. Five thousand hours of loudspeaker missions were logged in the same period. The result was that 6,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese regulars defected. That was a 300% increase over the same period in the previous year.

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Leaflet 245N-296-67 produced by the 245th PSYOP Company

Leaflet 245N-296-67 is an example of the type of propaganda leaflet that the 245th PSYOP Company prepared and disseminated on the Vietnamese in support of the Korean Tiger Division. The front depicts a tiger clawing the hand of a Viet Cong trying to steal the food of Vietnamese farmers. 500,000 of the leaflets were prepared to alienate the people from the Viet Cong.

Text on the front is:

The fierce Republic of Korea tiger Division stops the Viet Cong from stealing the people’s rice.

The back is all text:

Dear Inhabitants,

The Viet Cong has circulated false rumors that they will liberate the Republic of Vietnam. It has promised you a happy and pleasant life. But what has the Viet Cong done for you so far?

The Viet Cong has been beaten in the continuing operations here. They are in ruin. Now they make desperate attempts to enlist your support in combat by threatening you and telling you that the Korean Tiger Division kills innocent civilians. The Viet Cong lies to you.

Dear inhabitants, The Republic of Korea Tigers have come to help plant your long cherish hopes for freedom and peace in this country. We are your true friends. We will stay here so that you people of Vietnam can enjoy a secure and prosperous life.

You have seen the Republic of Korea Tigers do many things in your interest. We do not lie. Your future is a full one. It is time for all of us to work together to reconstruct the land.

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Leaflet 245N-342-67

The 245th PSYOP Company prepared 600,000 copies of leaflet 245N-342-67 in support of the 1st Cavalry Division in Binh Dinh Province. The purpose was to urge the people to cooperate in reporting sabotage and mines on the roads. The front of the leaflet depicts two photographs of dead Vietnamese killed by a Viet Cong mine. The text is:

Innocent civilians killed by a Viet Cong mine near Tra Luong Hamlet north of Phu My

The back of the leaflet is all text:

On Sunday morning, 11 June 1967, sixteen innocent civilians were killed when their Lambrettas ran over a mine placed on a highway by the Viet Cong. To stop these atrocious acts, persons knowing of anyone tampering with the highways should report this information to the Allied forces immediately. Your cooperation in solving these crimes will save your lives and the lives of your family. Help stop Viet Cong atrocities.

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Leaflet 245N-351-67

The 245th PSYOP Company printed 200,000 copies of leaflet 245N-351-67 to exploit a victory of the Army of South Vietnam over the North Vietnamese Army at Tuy Hoa. The front of the leaflet depicts four photographs of dead guerillas. The back is all text:

North Vietnamese invaders and South Vietnam defenders met squarely in a fierce battle 8 kilometers west of Tuy Hoa in Phu Yen Province on 16 June 1967. Using good tactics, the ARVN 2nd Battalion, 47th Regiment, killed 51 and captured 7of the NVA 4th Battalion, 95th Regiment, also known as the 11th Regiment. The picture shows the fate of the NVA. This is a fine victory for the government soldiers, and a sad disappointment for the for the NVA leaders who must now explain to their men why they came all the way from the North with heavy loads only to die. The NVA leaders ran, and did not even keep their promise to bury the dead. It is sad that these dead NVA did not join the honorable Chieu Hoi program to escape death and have a safe and happy life.

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245th PSYOP Company, Nha Trang, Vietnam, August 1966.

The 24th PSYOP Detachment was one of the first psychological Operations units to deploy to Vietnam. Unfortunately, in those early days of the Vietnam War there seems to have been little understanding of how to use PSYOP and what it could do for the battlefield commander. In my opinion the detachment was misused. Captain Revis is kinder in his critique:

It was a new tool that commanders did not know how to employ properly. There was a learning curve and the numerous successes such as Operations Eagle’s Claw and Market Time as well as the follow-up to Arc Light and Tiger Hound operations give testament to the successes of tactical PSYOP.

Authors note: Operation Eagle’s Claw was a 1st Cavalry Operation in Binh Dinh Province from 11-28 February 1966 designed to surround and trap the enemy Quyet Chien Regiment in the vicinity of the mountains surrounding the Song Bien Valley. Operation Market Time was created 11 March 1965 by joining the US Navy and the South Vietnamese Navy in an effort to stop the flow of supplies from North Vietnam into the south by sea. Operation Tiger Hound was a special Air Force, Navy, Marine and Army task force that began on 5 December 1965 to interdict the movement of enemy troops, equipment, and supplies from neighboring countries into South Vietnam.

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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 (Broadcast Specialist/Offset pressman), SP4 Luke (Field operations), SP4 Niver (Offset pressman) and SP5 Jones (Field operations). 
Back row- left to right: SFC Davis (First Sergeant), SP4 Boothby (Press operator), CPT Dunn (Commander), SP4 Wands (Artist), CPT Brereton (Executive Officer), SP4 Keen (Artist), SP4 Johnson (Motor pool), SP5 Tiffany (Company clerk), SP4 Plemmons (Field Operations).
Missing: SP4 Bell (Overnight offset press operator)

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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Nick Nickerson plays Dr. Strangelove?

This was at the Bomb Dump in Pleiku; we'd get called out to pack the leaflet bombs frequently during the first few months I was there. Shades of Dr. Strangelove. We would get called out at night and go to work regardless of how we were dressed and get the job done. By the end of my tour, there is no way we would have gone on the base out-of-uniform. Early in my tour it was the mission that was important. Like I said, the misfits went to Pleiku.

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NVA Prisoner

Revis continues:

The officers and men of the 24th PSYOP detachment are the finest for bravery, innovation, and intelligence that I ever met.

During one Eagle’s Claw operation, John Magine and I were deployed to a forward position of a reconnaissance platoon. They had captured a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) hospital on the side of a mountain and they wanted to get prisoners. John and I went in with a loudspeaker.  I spoke Vietnamese and I called for those that could hear my voice to come to us because we had medicine and shelter and would protect them. After about five minutes there was a rustle in the brush right beside our position. The Reconnaissance Platoon had been in direct contact all day and was about to fire when John stopped them. An enemy soldier crawled out. He was wounded in both knees. The wounds were festering and he was in some pain. One of the recon guys had a jungle survival kit that had pain killers in it. We gave the prisoner one. Normally, an American would get two but the Vietnamese are sensitive to western medicine and we didn't want the guy to pass out. We propped his back against our back packs and used our helmets to support his knees. I personally cooked up a C-ration for him. He looked at me and asked what my rank was. I told him “Captain.” He then asked, “Why are you cooking for me?” I said, “Because you are hungry.” After that he told us where the NVA troops were deployed, how many men were left in his battalion, his house number in Hanoi, and anything else we wanted to know. I then asked him to call for others to come out. He did. After about ten more minutes a NVA Platoon leader came out. He had been shot though the right chest and had a sucking wound.

In today’s Army PSYOP is recognized as a valuable force-multiplier and no commander wants to go into battle without the psychological preparation of the battlefield. I quote General H. Norman Schwarzkopf’s comments on his need for PSYOP during Operation Desert Storm:

If we do go to war, psychological operations are going to be absolutely a critical, critical part of any campaign that we must get involved in.

An Iraqi General said after Operation Desert Storm:

PSYOP...was a great threat to troop morale, second only to the coalition bombing campaign.

The United States Army is committed to psychological operations. I doubt that any American battlefield commander will ever go to war again without a complete knowledge of what the art offers and how to best use it. To do so is to invite defeat.

The 245th PSYOP Company was awarded the following battle streamers for its Vietnam service: the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm and the Vietnam Counter-Offensive for phases 1, 2 and 3.

Post-Vietnam Activities

I was under the impression that since the 24th PSYOP Detachment became a company in Vietnam the company was retired from the military. This could still be true, but former U.S. Army Specialist 5 Michael Woods wrote to tell me that as an active duty member of the 4th Military Intelligence Company he had taught 20 students an 84-hour introduction to “Order of Battle Analysis” in 1977. The unit he taught was the 24th PSYOP Company (Direct Support) operating out of Denver, Colorado. He also attempted to help the Reserve unit find a paper manufacturing source that specialized in quick biodegradable paper for their training leaflets. Mike had been an assistant intelligence editor for the 5th PSYOP Battalion from November 1974 to June 1975 while stationed in Germany. So, it seems likely that although the 24th Detachment was deactivated, the 24th PSYOP Company lived on as a Reserve unit.

The 245th PSYOP Company was resurrected on 30 October 1975, when it was assigned to the Army Reserve under the 321st Civil Affairs Group, 90th ARCOM, 5th U.S. Army.  The first commander of the new 245th PSYOP Company was Major Tommy Netherland who had served in Vietnam as a PSYOP officer with the 244th PSYOP Company. The Unit was divided into sections including the Graphic Arts (GA), Audio/Visual (HC), Propaganda Development Cell (PDC) (FA, FC), and the Tactical PSYOP Teams (HB). Early on, the unit was authorized 79 slots including positions for Intel analysts, PSYOP specialists, communications specialists, audio/visual specialists, journalists, photographers, illustrators, printers, clerks, supply, and maintenance specialists.

It had two mobile light shelters mounted on 2 1/2 ton trucks. these shelters contained a complete darkroom/graphics production facility in one and an AB Dick 1260 offset printing facility in the other. The mobile shelters were designed to be operational in any environment. Much of the rolling stock of the Unit was received around the same time. This included an audio/visual truck with shelter, 1/4 ton jeeps, 1/2 ton pick-ups, and various trailers. In 1978, the 245th received its first three loudspeakers. They were Telectro AEM-450, four-cone loudspeakers that were shipped from the Toby Hanna Supply Depot. In 1979, the unit was assigned to the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) in support of the 82nd Airborne Division.

In 1980, the 245th received orders to report to Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin to support compound operations during the Cuban Refugee Resettlement Project. Major Phil Brown was the commander at this time. The 245th journalists, illustrators, photographers, and printers produced and printed a newspaper called El Mercurio De McCoy for distribution twice a week to the Cuban detainees. The audio/visual personnel provided movies and music for their entertainment and the loudspeaker teams provided informational broadcasts and news reports. For their actions the participating 245th soldiers were awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal.

In 1986, the 245th PSYOP Company was designated as the first and only Airborne Reserve PSYOP Company in the U.S. military.

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Staff Sergeant Jon Cartier’s PSYOP Team in Desert Storm

PSYOP Loudspeaker Team “Charlie” attached to 3/3 1st Marine Division - Task Force Taro. The men pictured, left to right, top to bottom are: (top) Naief Al Multari (a Kuwaiti volunteer linguist), SGT Jon Cartier (245th team leader), USMC SGT Frank Torres (Security man on the team), USMC Jeff Taylor (M203 Gunner), SPC Darrell McCoy (245th asst. team leader), and USMC SSG Bitner (Driver and former sniper).   It was taken the morning of 26 February 1991 in the Kuwaiti town of Al Wafra, which was captured from the Iraqis on 24 February after breaching the first minefield belt. The picture was taken after operations against an Iraqi Tank battalion (16 armored vehicles and a dug in Infantry regiment that fired mortars and artillery at the team while broadcasting surrender appeals). On the ground there is a stripped down LSS-40 loudspeaker system they disassembled and mounted on a PRC-77 Radio pack. They hold a surrender flag from the Iraqi infantry.

Jon Cartier’s loudspeaker team was attached to Marines in the push to Kuwait City and attached to the Saudi Army during the battle for Khafji. He says:

I was a member of the 245th PSYOP Company from August 1986 through November 1997 and served in the print vans, the PDC and then the HB teams. I deployed to Desert Storm as a Loudspeaker Team Leader and again in Haiti for Uphold Democracy. I was in the unit as it transitioned to ARSOC, became Airborne and changed names to the 345th PSYOP Company. It was quite a time. 

On Christmas Day of 1990, 18 soldiers from the 245th were notified to prepare for their activation to deploy to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Soon after arriving, These loudspeaker teams were sent to support tactical operations with the 3rd Regiment of the 1st Marine Division while other teams were divided up among elements of the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions. One team captured an entire Iraqi tank Battalion, then later the same day, captured most of a dug in Iraqi Infantry unit under intense mortar and artillery fire. 245th teams distinguished themselves at the Battle of Khafji, the liberation of Kuwait City, and with deception and surrender appeals in the Kuwaiti desert. Members earned Marine Combat Action Ribbons, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations, and four Bronze Stars.

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Airborne Wings and Palm Tree Logo

The Airborne wings and Palm tree logo for the 245th/345th POC was a joint idea from three soldiers from the 245th PSYOP: SSG Jeff Nelson, SGT David Lamb and SGT Jon Cartier. They were being moved to their forward supported units with the Marines and had several teams still in convoy together. They spent the night in maintenance garage in Jabail at Marine Camp. It was the morning of January 17th. The start of the Air war had begun that night. As morning broke they noticed that all the other vehicles had logos on them to affiliate them with their units. They decided to come up with their own logo for the 245th POC. They did not want to blatantly put a PSYOP theme symbol on the outside of the vehicle because it would identify them to the enemy. SSG Jeff Nelson came up with the idea of a map of Texas in front of a palm tree, inspired by Erwin Rommel's “Afrika Korps.” After some discussion, they settled on a set of airborne wings and a palm tree instead. SGT Jon Cartier found a manila folder and drew the wings and palm tree then used a knife to make a stencil out of it. He found some black spray paint and stenciled the logo on all five of the 245th Humvees. It became a unit symbol and was on the 345th PSYOP vehicles in Haiti, Bosnia, and every operation since.

SFC Nelson (Retired) adds:

As we were from Texas the idea of putting our state over the palm tree was a close runner up but I abused my power and authority, and made the command decision to put jump wings there instead.  As we were an Airborne unit and on jump status (we actually carried our parachute rigging equipment in our vehicle the entire war thinking we might actually need it!), the wings fit to a tee. 

My section was assigned to Task Force Sheppard of the USMC's First Expeditionary Force (1MEF).  Jon Cartier had considerable artistic talent and once the decision was made on the design, he took a vanilla folder, hand drew the parachute wings over a palm tree, then used an Exacto knife to cut it out.  We then hand held the folder against the rear sides of our Hummer and spray painted it black.   It looked so good the other two vehicles in my section wanted it painted on their Hummers and when the rest of the unit saw the design, they had to have it also.  Just before we invaded Kuwait the Marines ordered all unit markings covered up on our vehicles.   We taped cardboard over all the numbers and markings but refused to cover the logo.   We told them it was our “official unit logo.”  They backed down and we proudly displayed it all through the war. 

When we got back to Texas, the logo was so popular that it was adopted as the official unit logo of the 245th and later 345th PSYOP.   Later, Major Jeffrey Scott had a coin made up. I still have the original vanilla folder Sergeant Cartier made and the captured Iraqi loud speakers Sergeant Lamb wired into our system ours burned out.

On 16 June 1996, the 245th PSYOP Company was changed to the 345th PSYOP Company. This change gave all remaining Reserve PSYOP Companies numbers in the 300 series. 

In 1997, the 345th was given the warning order to deploy to the Balkans for Operation Joint Guard. In 1998, the unit operated in war-torn Bosnia. In 2000, a Tactical Detachment deployed to Kosovo to conduct missions in support of Operation Joint Guardian.

In 2002, three Tactical Detachments and a Headquarters - Psychological Operations Product Development Detachment deployed with the 3rd Special Forces Group's 1st Battalion to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. 345th Teams were spread throughout the country to work with 3rd, 19th, 20th, and 7th Special Forces Group Operation Detachment Alpha's, other government agencies, Afghan militias, and conventional soldiers to hunt hostile Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists, conduct civilian non-interference, tactical deception, surrender appeals, special recon, mine awareness, sensitive site exploitation, and direct action in support of unconventional warfare. 345th soldiers were recognized with numerous awards.

With less than a year home, the 345th was given a warning order to prepare to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From February to October 2004, the 345th was assigned responsibility for tactical PSYOP in Baghdad, Iraq, supporting elements of the 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 10th Mountain Division, and numerous other special operations, foreign, and host nation forces.

As always, the author invites readers with comments to write to him at

End:  23 May 2005