MAJ Ed Rouse (Ret.) and SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)

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A gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches (2.86cm) in width overall consisting of and radiating from central base a white enameled torch with seven tongues of red enameled flame between a gold quill on the left and a gold Samurai sword, point down, on the right surmounting a black enameled Torii Gate on a green enameled background, all above a gray enameled scroll bearing the inscription "Support By Truth" in gold letters.


The torch, a symbol of enlightenment, with seven tongues of flame alludes to the 7th Psychological Operations Group and their basic mission. The Torii refers to Okinawa, where the organization was originally activated and the present headquarters of the organization is located. The quill and sword representing the correlation between psychological operations and military achievement; the quill representing the power of ideas; the sword, in addition to representing military aspects of force, alludes to the fact that psychological operations are also a form of warfare. The sword, being a Katana, alludes to the fact that the operations of the Psychological Operations Group are centered in the Asian Theater. The colors black, gray and white refer to the color symbolism of black, gray and white propaganda. The green background or backing is the color used for Psychological Operations organizations.

In the old days whenever you dealt with the 7th Group that would usually present you with a large card that depicted the unit crest and an explanation of the symbolism as sort of a Calling card. I always thought it was a beautiful card and since I spent time in Japan and Okinawa always loved the graceful Torii. I enclose an old one from my files from many decades ago.

7th Psychological Operations Group Recruiting Poster


The distinctive unit insignia was authorized on 15 Apr 1969.

Constituted: 19 August 1965 in the Regular Army as the 7th Psychological Operations Group

Activated: 20 October 1965 on Okinawa by General Order Number 306, Headquarters, U.S. Army, Ryukyu Islands. It was attached to IX Corps for operation and Training.

Inactivated: 30 June 1974 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Redesignated: 30 October 1975 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 7th Psychological Operations Group; concurrently withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and activated at the Presidio of San Francisco, California

Reorganized and Redesignated: 18 September 1990 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th Psychological Operations Group

I discovered an early letter in the Group files where some unknown Group member wrote the history of the Group. It differs a bit from the official history, but it is more interesting.

Before the Korean War, the Special Projects Branch of the Military Intelligence Division, G2, General Headquarters, Far East Command was a small staff responsible for planning PSYOP for the U.S. Army in the Far East. When North Korea attacked, Special Projects Branch was activated and within 24 hours dropped leaflets. The following day they were broadcasting propaganda, and this became the Voice of the United Nations (VUNC). By June 1951, the branch had 55 members and was redesignated PSYWAR Section, General Headquarters, Far East Command. When the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group arrived, they took over, and the PSYWAR Section became responsible for planning and supervising PSYOP. After the war, the Group returned to the U.S. and the PSYWAR Section was renamed the U.S. Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Far East.

After the merger of the Far East and Pacific Commands in 1957, PSYOP forces were to be centralized and deployed in the Western Pacific. As a result, USABVAFE in Tokyo (Strategic PSYOP in Korea), and the 14th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion were assigned to Okinawa and renamed the U.S. Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity Pacific. On 20 October 1965, the U.S. Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity Pacific was discontinued and the 7th PSYOP Group was activated.

The PSYOP Guide

The United States Military Assistance Command Vietnams’ April 1968 PSYOP Guide serves as a handbook of information to assist users to accomplish Psychological Operations in the Republic of Vietnam. It sets forth broad concepts and specific “dos” and “don'ts” which comprise the guidelines for effective PSYOP. It says about the 7th PSYOP Group:

The 7th PSYOP Group, located on Okinawa, is organized like most military organizations. Its 15th PSYOP Detachment and the 14th PSYOP Battalion are two on-island (Okinawa) forces available to the commander. The 15th PSYOP Detachment is the strategic PSYOP base and the 14th PSYOP Battalion is the tactical deployable element. The Japan Detachment, located at Camp Drake, Japan, has as its major mission the responsibility of maintaining liaison with the US Army AG Printing and Publications Center (PPC). The Korea Detachment, the largest off-island detachment of the Group, has the Voice of the UN Command (VUNC) as its major mission. The Vietnam Detachment, located in Saigon, maintains liaison between the 7th PSYOP Group and the various PSYOP agencies located in the RVN. The primary effort of the Vietnam Detachment is in expediting the printing of propaganda material developed by US/Allied Forces.

The mission of the 7th PSYOP Group is to provide psychological operations support throughout the Pacific Command.

Leaflet Publications


Determination of Optimum Leaflet Densities

The 1954 classified 79-page Operations Research Office working paper was printed in 250 issues. This is number 205. The study was the first in a series of long-range investigations dealing with problems of the current weapons and equipment of psychological warfare.

Page 8 depicts search area and density.

Determination of Optimum Leaflet Release Specifications

This 1956 classified 99-page Operations Research Office working paper was printed in 250 issues. This is number 193. It is meant to train the PSYOP specialists in the characteristics of the new military leaflet dissemination equipment.

Page 8 depicts patterns of falling leaflets 

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Leaflet Printing and Dissemination Guide

This was the old dissemination guide used by the United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Pacific. The leaflet dissemination formulas were reworked by Major David Underhill of the 7th PSYOP Group and he wrote a new version which we show below.

The 7th Psychological Operations Group was the successor to the United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Pacific, which was based in Japan, under several different titles, until 1958, when it moved to Okinawa.

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Low, Medium, and High Altitude Leaflet Dissemination Guide

Major David Underhill’s revised and improved the 116-page undated Dissemination Guide with new and tested formulas. This book would become the Bible of leafleting and be used by U.S. forces right up until the current time. 

Colonel Jack Summe, USA Retired

Years later in 2022, shortly after the death of Dave Underhill, Jack Summe talked about using his guide during Desert Storm in THE LEAFLET DROP, The Newsletter of the Psychological Operations Veterans Association. He said in part:

I don’t imagine that many people think about the actual physics and aeronautics of leaflet operations. This did not become a concern to me until I found myself as the Executive Officer of the PSYOP Task Force (POTF) supporting CENTCOM during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I always mention Desert Shield because most of the leaflet operations during that conflict occurred well before actual combat operations began. One day, Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Jones, POTF Commander, asked me how we get leaflets on airplanes and on target during what was essentially a peacetime deployment (at the time) in Saudi Arabia.

As the Executive Officer of a task force that did not have enough officers to integrate into the COCOM and Component staffs in Saudi Arabia at the time, our primary staff officers were given the task, by LTC Jeff Jones, to serve as liaison officers to HQs, CENTCOM and its components.  LTC Jones gave me the task of serving as both the PSYOP Task Force Executive Officer and the Liaison to Central Air Force (CENTCOM’s air component) with the specified and implied tasks to coordinate 100% of all leaflets drops from CENTAF controlled aircraft.  This eventually resulted in leaflets being dropped from F-15s, B-52s and C-130s both along the front lines and deep into Iraq.  The coordination and activities of USAF assets to conduct leaflet operations is a very interesting story, but my focus here is to discuss understanding how leaflets get from a fast-moving, high-altitude aviation asset to the ground.  To understand this, one MUST understand the "Low, Medium, and High-Altitude Leaflet Dissemination Guide!"  If you don’t understand that publication, then the leaflets you’ve spent time, money, and resources to produce will typically land in the middle of nowhere, or worse on friendly troops.

I, of course, was no expert, so the 4th PSYOP Group reached back to the states and found out that one of the Strategic Studies Detachment civilians was and expert on the publication.  I apologize, but I forget his name, but the expert was quickly sent forward to the POTF HQs in Riyadh Saudi Arabia to educate me and my one person staff on how to ensure leaflets land where intended.  Three baseline lessons were learned very quickly 1) Wind matters, and it flows in different directions and at different speeds at different altitudes. 2) Leaflet cloud formation and drop characteristics are dictated by the size and shape of the leaflet and the weight of the paper. And 3) Drop altitude and leaflet characteristics dictates how big the cloud will be upon landing and the density of the leaflets on the ground at the landing site.  This is all described in Former Lieutenant Colonel Dave Underhill’s publication.  As we were targeting specific Iraqi units across the front and deep into Iraq proper, LTC Jones and I wanted to ensure that the leaflets across or near the intended unit were in enough density to have the appropriate effect.  And we had to remember that the USAF gets a vote.  The PSYOP Task Force didn’t tell the Air Component Commander (a Three Star General) where and how to fly, what I found out as the liaison was that the Air Component would tell us where the missions were going and at what altitude.  As you might imagine, this was VERY sensitive information at the time.  My job was to tell them where I wanted the leaflets bombs to open in the sky.  After we loaded the bombs with the appropriate leaflets (no easy coordination effort there either…), the USAF then accomplished the arming, fusing, and loading of the bombs on the aviation asset.  They would determine where the bomb needed to be released so that it would blow open at the intended spot in the sky, creating a leaflet cloud that would track, according to the algorithms in Underhill’s book, to the intended landing point on the ground.  The aviation asset would then depart daily from various air bases as a “package” designed to protect USAF assets and deliver armament on target (to include leaflets).  This effort required understanding where the units were situated on the ground (an Intel function), understanding at what altitude and attitude the aviation asset was flying, and doing the calculations from Underhill’s pub to backtrack a leaflet cloud to the point in the sky where we wanted the bomb to explode open.  Again, no easy task.

This effort also included leaflet calculations for drops from C-130s across the front.  We had to know the altitude of the planned drops and the predicted weather in the operational area to do the calculations and ensure the leaflets would land where intended.  This was a daily exercise, and we would have to work it for multiple activities at multiple times a day.  For instance, had the weather not been favorable for leaflets drops from Saudi Arabia into Iraq, there would have been no C-130 leaflet operations during Desert Shield.  Due to favorable weather, we blanketed the Iraqi front with leaflets during Shield, all using the guidance from LTC Underhill’s publication.

The success of the leaflet operations in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm has been written about in many civilian and military publications, so I guess my little leaflet staff accomplished the mission in stellar fashion.  However, I can unequivocally state that the massive leaflet operations undertaken during Operation Desert Shield and Storm would not have been successful without the expert knowledge of a Strategic Studies Element civilian, a 71L admin specialist, and the publication “Low, Medium, and High-Altitude Leaflet Dissemination Guide!”  It is a quality and imperative resource for all PSYOP practitioners.  It may have less importance today in the cyber age, but I feel that there will again be a time when communicating to the enemy soldier on the ground will only be accomplished by a written product...the leaflet.

Falling leaflet pattern

A Leaflet Team Staff Meeting

Major Dave Underhill who led the some of the leaflet operations for Vietnam and the North Korean Jilli Operation for the 7th PSYOP Group leads a staff meeting of the leaflet team. Dave is at the right with his arms outstretched. The team included Americans, interpreters, and Vietnamese writers and artists. This picture appeared in Communicating with Vietnamese through Leaflets, a 7th PSYOP Group publication. It explains that leaflets are discussed and planned long before they are written or produced. Once an idea is approved, an artist will sketch illustrations while writers prepare texts. The product is then reviewed by the whole team before the actual artwork and writing takes place. It is the only way to ensure that the leaflet is correct and viable.

Underhill’s work was so important that I see it mentioned in many PSYOP publications. He had finally selected the 6 x 3-inch leaflet as the best and most effective size to get an accurate and reliable pattern on the ground. In the Psychological Operations Directive Newsletter No. 2, his numbers for the use of that sized leaflets are published.

The 6 x 3-inch leaflet box is 12 x 16 x 24-inches in size. He gives the statistics for leaflets using three different weight papers:

20 pound paper has 519 leaflets per pound and the box contains 57,090 leaflets
16 pound paper has 649 leaflets per pound and the box contains 71,390 leaflets
60 pound paper has 442 leaflets per pound and the box contains 48,620 leaflets

I found an unsigned document in my files that must have been written by Underhill. It seems someone asked for different sized leaflets and he is sending them but arguing against their use:

The optimum leaflet for aerial dissemination throughout South Vietnam is the 6x3 inch leaflet on 20-pound paper. This leaflet should be the mainstay of our leaflet program in the South. Our position is that at the present time there is no adequate substitute. However, we do recognize the limitation that this leaflet size imposes upon the PSYOP message. When using any size other than the 6x3 inch leaflet, serious thought must be given to such matters as the greatly reduced production requirement and the tremendous effort required to effect efficient delivery of the new size. The second-best leaflet size is about one half as efficient as the 6x3 inch leaflet. This means that the experienced leaflet operator will require almost twice the effort to disseminate (twice as many flying passes) the new, poorer, size. It is very doubtful that the experience level of our dissemination personnel will result in the proper dissemination of the new size. To achieve the same general ground density as has been previously attained with the 6x3 inch leaflet, the total press run should be reduced by approximately 50 percent. The following leaflets are reluctantly submitted for use on a special PSYOP message that cannot be accommodated on the 6x3-inch leaflet.

The War of Ideas

I did not realize the scope of Dave Underhill’s work until I discovered that USAF Captain Robert W. Chandler asked Dave for assistance in 1972 for his doctoral dissertation titled U.S. Psychological Operations in Vietnam. The dissertation was published in 1981 as War of Ideas: The U.S. Propaganda Campaign in Vietnam. This is the PSYOP Bible of U.S. operations in Vietnam and the best book written on that subject at the time. In his letters to Lieutenant Colonel Underhill (then Commanding the 244th PSYOP Detachment), Chandler points out that the U.S. Army had saved few papers on the PSYOP campaign in Vietnam. He points out the lack of the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office and Military Assistance Command Vietnam Guidance and newsletters. Underhill filled in those gaps, sent Chandler a great deal of material and offered guidance on the project. I should also add that in years of talking to Dave, he never once mentioned that he had helped Chandler. PSYOP Leadership and Training Booklets

Former Sergeant First Class Steven Porter, then the Operations (S3) NCOIC of the 7th PSYOP Group, told me about working on the Leader’s book:

The PSYOP Leader’s Book was introduced by 7th PSYOP Group to bridge the information gap created by ever changing doctrine, TTPs, and the lack of necessary training time to master and memorize all the skills required of deploying Tactical PSYOP Teams and detachments. The handbook fit in the chest or arm pocket and provided a quick reference on PSYOP, shoot, move, and communicate tasks.

In the years when Operation Enduring Friendship and Operation Iraqi Freedom were being planned and put into motion, new PSYOP leadership and training booklets were written and distributed. Between 2003 and 2005 several booklets appeared. The first one above is the Psychological Operations PSYOP Leader’s Book. It is 35 pages, well-illustrated, and has 27 chapters on subjects like: PSYOP capabilities brief; PSYOP missions; and Target audience analysis.

The second booklet is the Tactical PSYOP Team Leader Book. It is 25 pages, with some illustrations, and has 18 chapters on subjects like: The PSYOP interview; The PSYOP Annex; and Radio reporting formats.

Internal Paper Wars and Monetary Battles

I thought I would take a moment here and talk about the paper used in psychological operations. It seems straight forward; you want a leaflet or a poster you buy paper and print it. It is far more complicated. The paper costs money and minute changes in the size of a leaflet can save thousands of dollars over a period. It seems that all through the Vietnam war there were arguments about paper.

The Military Assistance Command Psychological Operations Directorate, PSYOP Newsletter dated 15 July 1968 says about leaflet size:

Personnel engaged in leaflet printing and preparation should review FM 33-5 and adjust their leaflet size selection based upon data contained therein. For aerial leaflet dissemination throughout South Vietnam, the 6x3 inch leaflet on 20- and 16-pound paper (also known as 50- and 40-pound paper) are considered superior to all other leaflet sizes. 

FM 33-5 states:

This leaflet size and these paper weights have very favorable aerial dissemination characteristics and can be more effectively disseminated by inexperienced personnel than any other known leaflet. Some PSYOP specialists have been reluctant to use this size because it does not properly accommodate the 10xl6 inch press sheet. The operator should realize that discarding 25% of the paper in the cutting process is preferable to "discarding" up to 100% in the dissemination process due to poor leaflet size selection.  

What is amazing is that the Army fought this concept. Criminologists used to say, “follow the money.” This was such a case. The bean-counters knew using a different sized leaflet they could save money, although the leaflets might not reach the target. A note from CINCPAC to Ft. Bragg states:

A slight reduction in leaflet size from 6 x 3-inches to 5.62 x 2.75-inches could accomplish a savings of $80,000 a year. I request that studies be conducted regarding drift characteristics.

The original letter seems to be a note from a First Lieutenant who was a printing officer. He said in part:

The present 3 x 6-inch standard leaflet is not compatible with Army standard paper, nor the equipment used to produce it. Only seven 3 x 6-inch leaflets can be produced from a standard 10.5 x 16-inch sheet. Of the 168 square inches, only 126 are used. If the size of the leaflet was reduced to 2.5 x 5.25-inches, this size would increase the sheet use to 147.5 square inches. 12 leaflets could be printed on a sheet instead of 7. The 4th Group’s yearly paper savings would amount to $160,000.

The 4th PSYOP Group decided that the aerodynamics was more important than the money saved. In a letter to the Commanding General in Vietnam they replied in part:

The suggested change in leaflet size would realize a savings in paper. However, adverse effects on printing and dissemination must also be considered…A change in size would mean that all the existing leaflet lay-up negatives would have to be redesigned or photographically reduced prior to platemaking. The present catalog contains several hundred such negatives…In view of the above; the proposed leaflet would not be acceptable as a substitute for the current 3 x 6-inch leaflet.

The letter ends by suggesting that the 7th PSYOP Group do tests on dissemination, dispersion, and wind drift of any new leaflets. And of course, it was the 7th PSYOP Group that did the original testing that picked the 3 x 6-inch leaflet on the basic of aerodynamics and not money saved.

At some point the printers were asked to provide information on how many leaflets they could print and fit in leaflet boxes. The data forwarded for the standard 3 x 6-inch leaflet was:

Paper Weight
per pound
Leaflets per
40-pound box
Leaflets per
55-pound box
16-pound 649 25,963 35,695
20-pound 519 20,760 28,545

And of course, they wanted the data for all the dozens of leaflet sizes on all the dozens of different paper weights.

Chart 1

Next, the accountants wanted the price of every leaflet printed, everywhere. They were first told those numbers were impossible, prices change, contracts change, etc. They still wanted the numbers. They eventually got some numbers although they were told they were inaccurate.

Chart 2

They got a cost to print leaflets in Japan. All are standard 3 x 6-inch leaflets, but they vary in printing: 1 color, 2 sides cost $674 per million, 2 colors 1 side cost $712 per million, and 4 color 1 side and 2 color the other side cost $912 per million. I am sure that Okinawa, Vietnam, and Manila had different costs. The graphs were prepared showing the sheet sizes, leaflet sizes and the amount of scrap paper. Other charts were made up showing various presses and what they produced at what cost. The reader should remember that all of this is going on while the group is trying to fight a war in Vietnam and regularly drop leaflets over North Korea. Once again, the bean-counters appear victorious. I have dozens of these charts. They seem endless. The Viet Cong must have seemed an easy foe compared to the accountants. When did the Group have time to fight?

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Color Mixing Card

This card was in the printing file. It seems rather simple and one would assume that the printers knew all this already, but perhaps it is just a “cheater” card, like gamblers will use when playing blackjack. They know when to hold and when to hit, but there is a pocket card they can use to remind them in case they have any doubts. At any rate, I found in interesting.

Although the 7th Psychological Operations Group assumed all missions and functions previously administered by USABVAPAC and a transfer of personnel and equipment was affected, the two units are not historically related.

How to Prepare Copy for 7th PSYOP Publication

This 21-page booklet was designed to teach units in the field how to prepare copy and request printing by the 7th PSYOP Group. It explains every phase of printing from line copy, to halftone copy, layout, printing, photography, illustrations, color, times and costs, and technical terms. For publication purposes “copy” is defined as any of the material to be reproduced by printing, and includes the text (typeset, typewritten, or handwritten), photographs in color or black and white, and any kind or art illustration. I found one line humorous because it shows clearly that the booklet was printed in the 1960s. That line is: “Use Executive Typewriter with carbon ribbon.”

The Back of the booklet

There is an interesting back cover that depicts text in all the languages that the 7th Group prints in, and a series of drawings showing the stages of printing a product.

Kadena AFB – Vietnam War and North Korea

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7th PSYOP Group was stationed at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa

Subordinate units include the 15th PSYOP Detachment, the 14th PSYOP Battalion, and Temporary Duty off-island detachments in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The 7th Psychological Operations Group was tasked with the mission of providing PSYOP support for the Commander in Chief, Pacific, the Commander in Chief, United Nations Command, and the High Commissioner, Ryukyu Islands. During the Vietnam War a large proportion of the Group’s resources were concentrated in support of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam.

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Specialist 4 Dennis Wood prepares a printing plate of the Seal of the Ryukyu High Commissioner

The 15th PSYOP Detachment was responsible for carrying out the strategic psychological operations of the Group. In order to accomplish this mission, the 15th PSYOP Detachment had under its control the Radio Branch, which produced programs for the Voice of the United Nations Command; the Propaganda Branch, which is the research, evaluation and analysis arm of the detachment; the Publications Branch, which supported the High Commissioner, Ryukyu Islands as its main function; the Electronics Branch, which maintained and serviced all the electronic equipment of the Group; the Graphics Branch, which provided drafting and artistic support for the Group; and the Printing Branch, which did a large portion of the printing for which the Group is responsible. During the Vietnam War the Printing Branch was operating 24 hours a day in support of leafleting and other operations in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and elsewhere. The 14th PSYOP Battalion was a deployable element and on Okinawa was responsible for training, discipline and housekeeping administration for personnel of the Group.


The 15th PSYOP Detachment’s FEEDBACK

Feedback is a newssheet prepared by the Leaflet Branch and printed by the Reproduction Division of the 15th PSYOP Detachment of the 7th PSYOP Group as a training mission and for the information and use of the Group members. This issue mentions The Land of Courtesy Magazine (mentioned elsewhere in this article), The Focus Truth (Jilli) leaflets, The Friends of Freedom magazine, and VUNC, among other topics that we mention.

Under the command of the 14th PSYOP Battalion were the 16th PSYOP Company, which had a mobile radio and loudspeaker capability, and the 18th PSYOP Company. The battalion headquarters was organized as a command and control element, with the commander’s staff consisting of an Executive Officer, an S-3, and an Assistant S-3. The S-3 schedules all training for Group personnel. Throughout the year it is the battalion’s responsibility to conduct all the necessary classroom, arms, physical and individual specialized training that it deems necessary to accomplish the assigned mission. The Group’s maintenance section, attached to the battalion, because of its close proximity to the Group Headquarters, depends on the Group Staff Sections for services for which it is not staffed. The off-island detachments provided liaison with Group Headquarters and in-country commanders, and also provided PSYOP support and advice to in-country commanders.

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The Machinato Service Area

The headquarters elements of all three major units of the 7th Psychological Operations Group were located in the Machinato Service Area near the North end of Perimeter Road. Ample space was provided in the Group compound for all activities except the Printing Branch, which was located about a mile south of the compound, the 16th PSYOP Company, which was located near the town of Deragawa, north of Koza city, and the 18th PSYOP Company, which was located in the Sukiran area. Due to the tremendous increase in printing activities, the building which houses the printing plant had become inadequate, and plans were formulated to construct a new plant.

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The Cruz Compound

Throughout the Vietnam War, the 7th Psychological Operations Group provided augmentation forces for PSYOP units and related activities throughout the Pacific Command. One year alone, twenty-six personnel were sent to Vietnam, and 71 members of the Group served on temporary duty in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Laos, Korea, and Philippines, the United States, and small islands in the Ryukyuan chain. The Vietnam Detachment of the 7th PSYOP Group was headquartered in the 4th PSYOP Group's Cruz Compound. We know a lot about the detachment because I have their mission sheet. It says in part:

Coordinate PSYOP support with MACV and other U.S., Vietnamese and Third Country forces in Vietnam. Provide in-country planning and gather information and intelligence. All requests for out-of-country printing support will be made from units in Vietnam to the Vietnam Detachment. No direct liaison will be made to the 7th Group in Okinawa which is responsible for all out-of-country PSYOP printing for Vietnam. Gather and forward information and intelligence needed for PSYOP area estimates. Gather and forward feature material for 7th PSYOP Group visual media production and audio programming directed at targets in the Far East.

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An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group specialist works on a horizontal process camera that feeds directly into a dark room at the left side of the device. The film is light sensitive so it’s kept in a separate room in dark or red lights. The camera takes “pictures” of large sheets of paper to make negatives. It was used to film the original sources (art and or print) needed to make the four plates for the 4-color printing process. Much like film in cameras is kept in the dark until it can be developed. Having the camera in two rooms allows you to get things ready in brighter lights and just like a camera this has a series of lenses and mirrors that direct the image through a small hole in the wall into a dark room. Film stays in the dark and all is good.

The 7th PSYOP Group, to obtain more information about the effectiveness of psychological operations against North Korean audiences, utilizes trained psychological operations intelligence interrogators who conduct detailed interrogations of defectors and captured or surrendered agents. These interviews are based upon psychological operations intelligence essential elements of information (EEI) and for this reason produce information more suitable for the needs of psychological operations than those based upon the usual combat or military intelligence EEI. The product of these interviews is usually published and given wide dissemination in PSYOP Intelligence Notes published by the 7th PSYOP Group.

Propaganda analysts at the 7th PSYOP Group review all available North Korean propaganda material, including magazines, newspapers, speeches of Kim ll-song, monitoring reports of North Korean broadcasts produced by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), translations of North Korean publications produced by the Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS), and other materials. These are not only subjected to the usual types of propaganda analysis, but are also examined for any explicit reactions to Free World psychological operations and for any counter-propaganda reactions to psychological operations themes.

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The Friends of Freedom

This magazine was printed for the Korean people and many issues mention the Vietnam War. Notice the soldiers at the far right representing Koreans in Vietnam. This is the June 1972 issue to promote friendship among the South Koreans, Americans, South Vietnamese and other Free World nations. The monthly magazine was founded in June 1955. This entire issue is about self-reliance and how with the help of the USA and the Korean military the country has become safer and more prosperous.

Page Nine

The Constant Threat

Page nine is a good example of the kind of images and text found in the booklet. The paragraph starts as follows:

The prospects for peace are perhaps greater now than at any other time in this century. With the lessening of tensions between nations of different political ideologies, there is reason for guarded optimism. The United States view of the current situation in the Korean peninsula was presented by U.S. Secretary of State William P. Rogers in the annual foreign police report to the Senate. The report states:

Consonant with the objectives of the Nixon Doctrine, the Republic of Korea during the past year took significant steps to assume a larger share of its own defense…

In October 1968 the 7TH PSYOP GROUP sponsored a three man radio/magazine team who completed an 18 day visit to the Republic of Vietnam. They visited all major Republic of Korea Headquarters and facilities. Their purpose was to gather information, radio material, photographs on ROK forces, and other areas of Korean involvement in Vietnam. The team accomplished its mission with the assistance of the ROK Forces Vietnam and the 7th PSYOP Group Vietnam Detachment. They visited 7 different areas, conducted 40 interviews (including 9 Commanding Generals), and took 400 photos. The material collected will serve as valuable PSYOP input to the 7th Group's activities throughout Southeast Asia.

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An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group soldier runs the Harris printing Press

The 7th PSYOP Group, based on Okinawa with detachments in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam provides approximately 65% of the leaflets used in the Vietnam PSYOP effort.

The accelerated effort, over the entire spectrum of psychological operations, have molded the Group into a well-trained professional unit designed to conduct psychological operations throughout the Pacific Command. The professionalism and accomplishments of the Group have stimulated letters of appreciation from General Westmoreland and General Bonesteel; also, four Meritorious Unit Commendations were awarded the Group for “Exceptionally outstanding support to military combat operations in the Republic of Vietnam” between 1967 and 1973. The second award in 1968 mentioned the Group's support of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam, and specifically that the Group had printed 13 billion leaflets (at that time) in support of military operations in Vietnam.

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Soldiers from the 7th Psychological Warfare Group printing and packing Chieu Hoi leaflets on Okinawa for deployment in South Vietnam, 1966.
Photos enhanced by Erik Villard

The reader may wonder where I got all the information in this article. In general I do not footnote because I want the story to be easily readable to civilians without having to look up and down on a page to see where a quote came from. This drives PhD candidates crazy, but I write for the parents of soldiers and young soldiers themselves so I do not put a lot of technical details in my articles. For those that simply must know, some of the facts from this article come from my own articles on the Vietnam War PSYOP Order of Battle and Operation Jilli. I also have a very well stocked library with a collection of 7th Psychological Operations Group Unit Histories, 7th Group PSYOP Intelligence Notes, Monthly Operations Reports, and other publications too numerous to list here. Having said that, let’s look at some of the highlights of the Group’s activities during the Vietnam War.

The reader will notice a lot of duplication in this article. That is because I have a tremendous number of files and some mention, manpower, others budget, others, magazines, leaflets, posters etc. I find that depending on who wrote the particular document: Higher authority, the 7th PSYOP Group, the various detachments or even the Senate when it looked into U.S. propaganda, the numbers and facts change just a bit. So everything you read is genuine and published by a reputable source, but many of the facts will change slightly because the people writing the document did not have all the numbers, or may have had a vested interest in making the group look better or worse. So, I conclude with an in-depth look at the unit through the eyes of the U.S. Senate investigating American PSYOP in the Far East in 1970. The funny part about this entire report is that apparently nobody knew the 7th PSYOP Group existed until an investigator in Japan was given an Army phone book and saw the name.

The Birth of the 7th PSYOP Group.

Following the merger of the Far East and Pacific Commands in 1957, United States Army Pacific (USARPAC) decided that in order to maintain theater control of PSYOP planning and operations, its PSYOP forces should be centralized under a central command and be located as far forward as possible near areas of operation in the western Pacific. As a consequence, the United States Army Broadcasting and visual Activity, Far East (USABVAFE), in Tokyo which was engaged in strategic PSYOP in Korea and consolidation PSYOP in Japan and the contingency PSYOP organization in Hawaii, the 14th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion, were brought together on Okinawa in February 1958. It was designated the United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Pacific (USABVAPAC), and assumed command of the 14th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion. On the same date the Japanese Detachment was established and the Radio Detachment was designated the Korea Detachment.

In face of the threat posed by Communist China, the Taiwan Detachment was organized on 15 September 1963. The mission of the Detachment was to provide PSYOP assistance to the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) and the Taiwan Defense Command. A Detachment was formed in Saigon, Vietnam, in May 1964. Its purpose was to maintain liaison with Allied PSYOP forces and to coordinate out-of-country printing requirements.

On 20 October 1965, the United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Pacific, was renamed the 7th PSYOP Group and placed under the command of U.S. Army Ryukyu Islands. The 3rd PSYOP Detachment was established at Bangkok, Thailand, in November 1968 to coordinate US PSYOP support for that country. The Detachment coordinated all PSYOP printing requirements with the Military Assistance Advisory Group Thailand.

On 1 July 1968 the 7th PSYOP Group was placed under the control of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Army Ryukyu Islands for administrative and logistical support. By 1970:

An Undated Chart of Units Assigned to the Group

This chart or “map” may have been issued to members of the unit. Since units came and went as the military tried to make units more efficient, this might be slightly different than other lists of units making up the 7th PSYOP Group.

The Group consisted of 686 personnel, of which 279 were civilian personnel, both American and native to the various countries the Group worked in. The Fiscal Year 1969 budget was 8.953 million dollars and Fiscal Year 1970 was 8.300 million. The 7th printed 11.8 billion leaflets in FY 1969 and in FY 1969 printed 16.2 billion. The Group consisted of five units on Okinawa and five units outside of Okinawa. They are:

15th PSYOP Detachment – Okinawa.
Headquarters, 14th PSYOP Battalion (Command and Control) – Okinawa.
16th PSYOP Company (Radio) – Okinawa.
18th PSYOP Company (Advisory and Support) – Okinawa.
U.S. Army Psychological Printing Company – Okinawa.

Japan Detachment – North Camp Drake Japan.
24th PSYOP Detachment – Seoul, Korea.
Taiwan Detachment – Taipei, Taiwan.
244th PSYOP Detachment – Saigon, Vietnam.
3rd PSYOP Detachment – Bangkok, Thailand.

The Army Concept Team in Vietnam conducted an evaluation of US Army PSYOP units from 1 December 1968 to 21 March 1969. A booklet was prepared titled EMPLOYMENT OF US ARMY PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS UNITS IN VIETNAM. The 7th PSYOP Group is mentioned:

The total leaflet requirement for Vietnam exceeded one billion 3x6-inch leaflets a month. The 4th PSYOP Group in Vietnam could produce with 28 printing presses about 230 million a month. The 7th PSYOP Group in Okinawa produced the rest. 55% were for Chieu Hoi, 45% for campaigns such as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, B-52, Frantic Goat, and North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam.

Now, back to the main story.


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7th PSYOP Group Unit History -1965

The unit printed 90,000 copies of the magazine Shurei No Hikari for Okinawan employees of the U.S. Forces. This was a full-color 32 to 40-page magazine directed to the people of Okinawa

The Japan Detachment printed 60,000 copies a month of the magazine Koryu for Japanese employees of the U.S. Forces. This was a full-color 32-page magazine directed at the employees of the United States in Japan. It was considered a labor relations magazine.

The Japan Detachment was located at North Camp Drake, Japan. It produced a 32-page Japanese-language magazine called Koryu (Interchange) in 54,000 copies and an annual calendar. It performed the final graphic and editorial work for the material sent to them from the U.S. Army’s Adjutant General’s Printing and Publications Center, Japan. It coordinated the printing of approximately 400 million Leaflets and 750,000 magazines annually and collected intelligence through liaison with other U.S. agencies in Japan.

The Group took part in several training exercises such as Black Night in Hawaii, Aumee IV in Taiwan, Joint U.S.-Korean exercises in Korea, and Strong Shield in Korea.

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The 7th PSYOP Group Printing Plant, shown in the foreground are sheet fed offset presses

The Multilith 1250

Specialist 4 James LaVerdure said that the above Multilith 1250 looks like a T51 head was added on so that you can print two colors at the same time.

The Harris Press

LaVerdure added that he was not sure about the paper size of the Harris Presses, maybe 17 x 22 sheets of paper. The honcho presses used big rolls of paper, they had metal floors around the presses and were about a foot off the ground. The metal floors could be a little slippery at times. James was trained as an infantryman but was sent to Fort Polk Hospital in the reproduction section using the Multilith 1250, then he got orders for Okinawa, the 7th Psyop Group Printing Company were he worked the bindery most of the time over the next 16 months. He was later sent to Vietnam several times on Temporary duty attached to the 4th PSYOP Group.

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

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

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

In June 1965, an American Special Forces A camp was overrun. We went to help reestablish the nearby village, which had been largely destroyed in the battle. We operated on the principle that civic action was an integral part of the effort to win the hearts and minds of the people, and visited many hamlets, villages, and towns to evaluate the needs - whether emergency food supplies or construction materials or improvements in public services (schools and clinics).

During the time I was in Nam our detachment was assigned to the 173rd Airborne, the Military Assistant Command Vietnam and the United States Army Vietnam. I spent many hours in choppers and little fixed wing bush planes, along with many hours in C47's on both day and night missions. My tour ended in May, 1966, and until then the unit had suffered no direct enemy attacks.

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Trucks in the 7th PSYOP Group were equipped with conex shelters that housed either printing or graphic equipment. In Vietnam such trucks might have two web printing presses with ramps for the back and side. The roll paper loaded in the back and the cut sheets would come out the side door and laid on side ramp to be cut down later. The cut load was a load of a few thousand sheets 8 1/2 × 11 inches or 8 1/2 × 14 inches according to roll width.

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An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group soldier runs a print job on a Multigraph Multilith Duplicator Press
Model 1250 inside a 7th PSYOP Group Mobile Print Trailer/Conex. A wide-format printer is on the right.

Major Michael G. Barger in his U.S. Army Command and General Staff College 2007 Master’s thesis Psychological Operations Supporting the Counterinsurgency: 4th PSYOP Group in Vietnam adds:

The initial forces for deployment to Vietnam were drawn either from the ranks of the 7th PSYOP Group, based in Okinawa, or from stateside units, for the most part those stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. According to official order of battle records, elements of the 7th PSYOP Group totaling 143 soldiers conducted psychological operations in Vietnam between 20 October 1965 and 1 December 1967, and additional elements continued to perform missions in Vietnam throughout the war.

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An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group soldier sits at a Light box inside a Mobile Graphics Trailer. He is holding a paint brush used for opaquing pinholes in negatives prior to plate making. This is the prepress/plate making section of the process. Equipment in the mobile graphics trailer include a vertical process camera directly behind the soldier used to convert the camera ready copy into a film negative for later plate making. There is also a Varitype typewriter in the left foreground. The device above the sink appears to be a waxing machine used to put a light coat of wax on the back of lines of type to adhere it to the final artwork before it is photographed to become a negative.


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Tom Majors (center) adds ink to one of three Presses of the
15th PSYOP Detachment Print Shop on Okinawa.

Specialist Fourth Class Tom Majors of the 15th PSYOP Detachment, 7th PSYOP Group, was assigned to the Machinato Printing Plant on Okinawa from 1966 to 1968. He told SGM Herb Friedman:

When I was there we only had three web presses. They must have brought in more presses after I left in 1968. Looks like some walls may have been taken out to fit all the equipment in there. I loved my tour with PSYOP. It was my first duty assignment with the Army. I was a typist doing final drafts of propaganda scripts from previous drafts that had been corrected with pencil. After a while I wanted a bit more action so I asked to change jobs. I was then assigned to the Art Department and worked alongside Mike Peters. He became a well-known cartoonist after leaving the military. I then became a press-helper in the Printing Plant. I really enjoyed that job because I got to move around and get some exercise.

Retired Colonel Charles V. Nahlik talks about flying leaflet missions over Vietnam for the 7th PSYOP Group as a Captain from 1966 to 1968:

In support of Vietnam, the 7th PSYOP Group was given a schedule by Military Assistance Command Vietnam and flew missions once a month via the C-130s. We flew into Ubon AFB Thailand the day before and flew the mission the following evening. We sat with the fighter jocks for the evening briefing, jumped into our survival vest, checked maps and weapons and took off.Depending on the wind direction, we either flew up the Ho Chi Minh trail and then along and below the demilitarized zone or we flew up the east coast of North Vietnam. When we dropped leaflets along the Ho Chi Minh Trail we took lots of fire from the Mu Giah pass. Our electronic jammers were working to their fullest but we still saw the rockets coming up at us. That is something that will start your heart pumping! However, none of that was as frightening as dropping leaflets from one of those tiny O2B aircraft out of Can Tho with a pilot who thought he should have been flying in an attack aircraft. I was dropping leaflets while he was diving at the enemy, dropping grenades and shooting a rifle out the window at Viet Cong in the bush below us. “Pure Crazy” is the way I would describe that experience.


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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. This picture was first published in the Morning Star newspaper of Okinawa on 14 September 1967. The article was titled, Selling Democracy is the 7th PSYOP’s Job. Some of the text was:

About 500 men and women on Okinawa sell democracy. These people are members of the 7th Psychological Warfare Group in the Machinato Service area. Their jobs are related to advertising and marketing in the civilian community. Their duty is to tell the truth about democracy and to explain its advantages.

Th Army’s 7th PSYOP must do its job at a distance. The 7th PSYOP produced more than one billion leaflets in support of PSYOP in Vietnam. It broadcasts 19 hours of programs from its Voice of the United Nations Command radio transmitters on Okinawa and in Korea. It publishes three magazines in foreign languages each month with a combined circulation of more than 450,000.

Later reports indicate that the Group printed 5,369,720 magazines for Japan, Korea, and Okinawa. 1,680,000 calendars were produced for Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and Okinawa. The 7th Group printing plant broke a record in December when they printed 173,000,000 leaflets. To break the record the plant worked around the clock and ignored the holidays. Eight thousand hours of radio programming in three languages were written, produced and broadcast for the Voice of the United Nations Command.

We mention radio and the Voice of the United Nations several times in this article. On 11 June 1969 the 7th PSYOP Group published guidance on the themes to be used in the broadcasts against North Korea. VUNC personnel assigned to the 15th and 24th PSYOP Detachments were to follow this guidance in all news, analyses, commentaries, and features that they broadcast. There were twelve in all:

  1. Don’t miscalculate the will, resolve and capability of the United Nations Command.
  2. North Korea is the source of the heightened tension in Korea.
  3. There is no popular support of the North Korean regime in South Korea.
  4. UN and ROK forces adhere to the Armistice Agreement. North Korea does not.
  5. The UN buildup is defensive and caused by North Korean provocations.
  6. There is solidarity between the United States and the Republic of Korea.
  7. North Korea builds up its forces at the expense of the people’s welfare.
  8. North Korean infiltration is, has been, and will be a failure.
  9. The U.S. will meet its commitments to the Republic of Korea.
10. The Republic of Korea’s stability and progress is real and positive.
11. The Republic of Korea participates in international events, organizations, and associations.
12. The way North Korea manages its manpower and resources causes hardships and obstructs progress.

The Group developed and tested small parachutes capable of delivering a miniature transistor radio to a specified target.Leaflet boxes were improved by having the boxed pre-weakened at the factory with perforations so that it comes apart readily upon ejection from the aircraft.

The Vietnam detachment took part in the production of a bar of soap with eight different PSYOP messages that became visible as the soap was used. 25,000 bars of soap were ready for the annual Tet campaign of February 1969. One former officer from the group told me that the soap propaganda caused some hand chaffing in the unit when everyone in his office was ordered to wash their hands over and over again to test out the use of soap bars and see how long it took the new messages to appear.

The unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for their support of military operations. Besides the units mentioned earlier, the 7th PSYOP Group added a Radio Detachment (Provisional) Vietnam. The unit now had 41 linguists who were proficient in 11 different languages.

During 1967 the Group printed 7 billion propaganda leaflets for Vietnam and Korea. Their printing capability was enhanced by using the U. S. Army Printing and Production Center in Japan, and the Regional Service Center in Manila.


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7th PSYOP Group Unit History -1968

In January, members of the 14th PSYOP Battalion took part in Exercise Former Champ on Taiwan. In February, two officers and five enlisted men from the Battalion deployed to the Republic of Korea to provide PSYOP assistance after the North Koreans tried to assassinate the President of South Korea and seized the U.S ship Pueblo. On 24 March 1st Lieutenant Michael A. Merkel, a member of the 16th PSYOP Company deployed to Vietnam was killed during a Viet Cong attack on a radio facility in Pleiku.

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The 7th PSYOP Group newsletter was called VERITAS, (Truth). Curiously, this same name was used on the newsletters of several other PSYOP units, including the 4th Group.

Shurei No Hikari
“The Light of the Guardian Spirits”
Courtesy of Tim Yoho

The publications Branch printed the Japanese-language magazine Shurei No Hikari. The Target Analysis Section printed the PSYOP Intelligence Notes that covered North Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, and PSYOP doctrine. North Korean defectors were regularly interviewed and over 95 reports were prepared.

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The Tu Do Newspaper

The 7th Group Detachment produced about 800,000,000 leaflets a month for the U.S. forces in Vietnam in 1968. They worked with JUSPAO to print 2,000,000 copies bi-weekly of the PSYOP newspaper Tu Do (Free South). The detachment also printed six different calendars with a run of 1,720,000 copies and six PSYOP booklets with a run of 330,000 copies.

A 21 August 1968 letter from David Underhill points out that JUSPAO is printing two million copies of the 10.5 x 16-inch newspaper in Manila. JUSPAO, the main proponent of leafleting in Vietnam would like an aerial newspaper that could be dropped over the enemy. It would be smaller and lighter than the regular newspaper at 8 x 10.5-inches. By Printing on 40-pound and 60-pound paper which falls at a different rate a larger amount of ground could be leafleted. Manila has a commercial press capable of printing four rolls at a time. The newspaper could also be printed by the 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa. The Group has enough paper for 7.5 months of printing. Underhill recommends against tasking the Group with this job. Manila will do the job if the military purchases the paper to their specifications.

Two members from the Special Projects Branch taught High, Medium and Low Altitude leaflet dissemination in South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand. In September 1968, the 7th PSYOP Group reached two billions leaflets dropped over Vietnam.

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Thong Cam

Thong Cam (Mutual Understanding) Magazine. The 4th PSYOP Group produced a monthly 16-page magazine targeted to Vietnamese employees of US military forces and civilian firms. This multi-color magazine was printed by the 7th PSYOP Group in 80,000 copies. Initially, distribution of the magazine was limited to III Corps Tactical Zone. However, plans were made to expand the magazine to 32 pages in 135,000 copies per month beginning in July 1969 to allow country-wide circulation. The magazine was aimed at promoting good will and understanding between the US and Vietnamese people.

On 4 December 1968, the Korea Detachment was renamed the 24th PSYOP Detachment. At the same time the Taiwan Detachment brought 25 Republic of China PSYOP personnel to Okinawa for special training on psychological operations. The Vietnam Detachment assisted in the development of a new magazine Thong Cam (Mutual Understanding) for Vietnamese employees of the U.S. forces in Japan.

In 1968, the commanders of the 24th were Lieutenant Colonel Carl E. Baskin (Temporary duty, 4 July to 12 May) and Major Dennis C. Howley. It produced the monthly magazine Chayu-Ui Pot, (Friends of Freedom), leaflets, wall posters, calendars, a farmer’s almanac, and handbills. The 24th prepared these publications and they were printed by the Japan Detachment.

Their Target Analysis Unit interviewed North Korean defectors and prepared 95 reports for the 7th PSYOP Group’s PSYOP Intelligence Notes [Depicted elsewhere in this article].

Their Signal Division oversaw three radio stations broadcasting to North Korea on three wavelengths. The Stations were Voice of the United Nations A, B, and a Base Station. They broadcast on 50 KW middle wave, 5 KW middle wave, and 200–300-Watt shortwave, from Kanghwa-Do, Chorwon Valley, and Yongsan Seoul. One of the 5 KW stations also broadcast to South Korea.

One PSYOP theme introduced was Salkil, (the way to live), that pointed out the lives of the people of the South was much better than that of the people of the North. A cartoon book was also printed titled Son-O-Gon in support of the Republic of Korea’s National Police.

The Thailand Detachment was renamed the 3rd PSYOP Detachment.

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Colonel Harold F. Bentz, Jr.
Commanding Officer, 7th PSYOP Group

Colonel Maurice W. Lundelius, Commanding Officer of the 7th PSYOP Group, died on 4 October 1968 of a heart attack after commanding the Group since 7 February 1966.

Colonel Harold F. Bentz, Jr., commanded the 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa from 30 November 1968 to 16 May 1972. After four years he was superbly qualified to discuss some of the problems he faced during his multiple tours. Some of the points he makes in his Senior Officer Debriefing report are:

One major problem regarding PSYOP is the lack of understanding and appreciation for PSYOP by some senior military commanders. Although the situation has improved somewhat during the past decade, there are still some senior commanders who do not fully recognize the importance of the PSYOP weapons system as it is employed in a politico-military conflict situation.

One perennial problem that confronted the 7th PSYOP Group was the fact that not all officers assigned to the group had formal PSYOP training or experience.

It appears that the U. S. Army is deficient in the number of qualified printers…Such personnel shortages seriously reduces the requisite flexibility necessary to support strategic operations…

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

A new PSYOP theme was introduced in 1968; it was SALKIL, (the way to live). This was used in the North Korea defector program and emphasized the fact that people in South Korea lived much better than those in North Korea.


The Magazine Rural Spirit – Code 3386
A Vietnamese worker stirs a boiling vat of brown sugar

This 32-page fully illustrated magazine was published for rural readers throughout Vietnam, especially farmers and provincial leaders, and people in contested areas. It was written by the Field Development Division staff of JUSPAO and printed at the Regional Service Center (RSC) in Manila. This is Issue 72, developed in September 1969. 565,500 copies are printed each month and distributed in all the provinces of Vietnam. Some of the main articles among the ten stories in this issue are about effective protection for pigs and chickens, hatching and raising pond fish, hemorrhagic fever, and growing sugar cane.

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Boxed and palleted leaflets ready for transport to Nha Trang

Production of PSYOP materials in support of the 1969 TET Chieu Hoi Campaign, in 6 x 3 black and white leaflet equivalents produced by the 7th PSYOP Group, included 260 million leaflets for December 1968 and 500 million each for the months of January and February 1969. These figures do not include 100 million Safe Conduct Passes which will be produced during that same three month period.

On 3 February the Vietnam Detachment of the 7th PSYOP Group was officially designated as the 244th PSYOP Detachment with the responsibility of providing liaison and offshore printing support for South Vietnam.

The 7th PSYOP Group Joint Propaganda Development Center in Da Nang was staffed to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week under “Vietnamization” and there is joint U.S. and Vietnamese participation at all times. During the month of June a total of 37 leaflets, 14 handbills, 19 posters, 8 newspapers, a 9 tape texts were developed and produced. Quick reaction leaflets could be produced in as little as 4 hours. Tapes can be produced and made ready for aerial delivery in 1 to 2 hours.

In other articles I have mentioned how the term Propaganda became PSYWAR and Later PSYOP. More recently it was changed to MISO, and then back to PSYOP. This is interesting because everyone constantly worries about how the units are identified and what the connotations of the name might be. Most people are suspicious of anything that might be involved with the tricking or control of the mind. This leads me to a problem the 7th PSYOP Group had with the Japanese translation of its name in 1969. It was found that the Japanese used the terms Shinri Sensu (“Psychological Warfare”) or Shinri Sakusen (“Psychological Operations”). The first was more sinister than the second because the Japanese Army had units of the same name. The latter is also suspicious and nefarious because of the word “psychological” and it is not a term associated with any military organization. As a result, it was suggested that the unit change not its name, but the Japanese translation of that name. Dai Nana Hoho Katsudo Butai was recommended because it literally meant “7th Information Activities Unit.” The words are not uncommon, as is psychological, nor do they have any manipulative tone.


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Warehouse full of leaflets

On 25 June 1970, the 7th PSYOP Group printed its 8 billionth leaflet. Colonel Bentz, Group Commander, was present as the Printing Company presented him with a symbolic leaflet.

The 7th PSYOP Group Support Requirements, FY 1970.
Employment of the US Army Psychological Operations Units in Vietnam

Printed Material

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An unidentified 7th PSYOP Group soldier works on a 3-color web printing press with a
feeder/registration board. Behind the printing press is what looks like a guillotine paper cutter.

Most people know that a PSYOP unit prints leaflets, but that is just the start of the items that are requested and produced. For instance, other items that are regularly produced are calendars, magazines, booklets, almanacs, book markers, posters, folders and bulletins to name just a few. Some examples; the Japanese Detachment in 1968 printed 1,640,000 calendars for Vietnam, 1,080,000 magazines for Okinawa, 640,000 posters for Korea, and 160,000 bulletins for Japan. Of course, the major product is always leaflets during wartime and the Japan Detachment printed 2,575,593,530 leaflets for dissemination over Vietnam. Another 18,300,980 were dropped on North Korea and that will be addressed in the Jilli section below.

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An Unidentified 7th PSYOP Group printer works his three-color web press with a feed roller at the right, three offsets at the center (each can add a different color if required) and the delivery unit at the far left. The sheet is cut from a roll after the 3 units have printed. The 3 color web press could print 1 color on back and 2 colors on front or 3 colors on one side. Most of the leaflets printed were two sided.

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An Unidentified 7th PSYOP Group printer is developing or etching a photo-sensitive printing plate that is then put on the printing press to mass produce an image. The plate could also be gummed to prevent oxidation.

Friendly Nations Served by the Detachments

I mentioned all the Detachments of the 7th PSYOP Group above. Printed products for peaceful allied nations are much different than those for the countries at war or considered adversaries. The allied countries got PSYOP products that were friendly, useful and pro-government, what used to be called "consolidation," but really is just nation building. The material almost always says good things about the friendly government and asks the people for support and loyalty. I depict some of these interesting products:

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A 1965 Calendar Printed by the 7th PSYOP Group for Okinawa

We show the image for January. Naha City Hall, the largest building in the Ryukyu Islands, was opened to the public in September 1965. It contains more than 10,000 square meters of office space. Curiously, when I was in Naha in 1954 the houses were mostly all wooden shanties and the streets were mostly unpaved. There had been little repair from the devastation of WWII. The reason that PSYOP people so love calendars is that once it is on the wall of a house the residents might look at it every single day for a year, thus reading the pro-Government message every single time and helping it to take hold.

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A 1972 Calendar for Okinawa

The 7th PSYOP Group printed this calendar for Okinawa at the request of the High Commissioner of the Ryukyu Islands. It depicts the flag of the U.S.A. and Japan on the cover. Inside, there is a dedication by Lieutenant general James B. Lampert who was the High Commissioner at the time. It says in part:

This 1972 calendar is dedicated to the inhabitants of Okinawa and to the spirit of friendliness that over the centuries has made Okinawa “The Land of Courtesy.”

Cartoon Leaflets

I found two types of these leaflets in one old 7th Group file. They come in two colors, on white or green paper, and in two sizes, 8.5 x 3, and the more standard 6 x 3-inches. One depicts a standard U.S. Army 0-1 Bird Dog aircraft dropping leaflets. There is no text on the front. The text on the back of the top leaflet is in Japanese, so could have been used by the Japanese section in Japan or by the Group in Okinawa. Both leaflets have the same general text with only a slight difference in the opening. The text is:

To our honored visitors, Howdy!

Welcome to our event. This same type of leaflet is being used all over the world. We can choose the size and dimensions, and weight as fits the situation and area being targeted. This leaflet shows how far “Leaflet operations” have progressed. Currently the airdropping of leaflets has become a science. The members of the “Psychological Warfare Unit” are miles away but can deliver this leaflet with ease.

The second is more of a cartoon style aircraft with a smile, eyes, and dropping leaflets from the hands at the end of its wing. It seems aimed at children. The bottom leaflet text is Chinese. The 7th PSYOP Group had a section in Taiwan and trained selected Chinese PSYOP troops there, so we assume that is where this leaflet was used. Some of the text is:

To our honored visitors,

Welcome everyone to the Harding training area. This same type of leaflet is being used all over the world. We can choose the size, dimensions, and weight as fits the situation and area being targeted. This leaflet shows how far “Leaflet operations” have progressed. Currently the airdropping of leaflets has become a science. The members of the “Psychological Warfare Unit” are miles away but can deliver this leaflet with ease.

Bookmark – 2052

As part of winning hearts and minds the 7th Group often prepared bookmarks. I have seen dozens of them among the papers of the Group. They usually show patriotic or historical scenes. This one was for the 11th International Library Week. I would have never added it being just a minor project for readers, but it bears the code number 2052. If the Group thought it was propaganda worth coding, who am I to argue with them?

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An Alphabet Poster

A Modern List of the Japanese Hiragana "Syllabary" for Young People

Among the 7th Group material I found two posters to teach children the alphabet. One is in Lao and depicted in another article. The one above is a child’s chart for learning the Japanese Hiragana alphabet. It uses pictures of various items the children would recognize to help them remember the symbols. Hiragana is the main alphabet or character set for Japanese. Japanese also consists of two other character sets - Kanji (Chinese characters), and another alphabet/character set, Katakana, which is mainly used for foreign words. It is a phonetic lettering system. The word hiragana literally means "ordinary" or "simple." Author and veteran Dan King pointed out that the symbol He pictured a helicopter, the image of a jet fighter under Hikoki and that was further proof that this poster was post-WWII.

Headquarters, 7th PSYOP Group – Okinawa. It coordinated the printing of PSYOP materials in support of Pacific Commands (one billion leaflets, 750,000 magazines, and other miscellaneous printed material produced in either the: U.S. Army Printing and Publications Center, Japan; the 7th PSYOP Group printing Company; or the USIA Regional Service Center, Manila. It programmed and operated the Voice of the United Nations Command broadcasting 19 hours a day over five radio transmitters located in Korea. It works closely with the United States Information Service on a daily basis.

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15th PSYOP  Detachment Printing Branch

15th PSYOP Detachment – Okinawa. It conducted PSYOP research on 16 Pacific Command countries. It wrote and distributed Shurei No Hikari (Light of the Land of Courtesy), a 32-page Japanese-language magazine printed in 97,000 copies and annually produced a calendar and Farmer’s and Fisherman’s Almanac for Okinawa.

Headquarters, 14th PSYOP Battalion (Command and Control) – Okinawa. It exercised control over the 16th, 18th, and Psychological Printing Companies. It supported the Pacific Command with loudspeakers, audio-visual units, a light mobile printing unit, and a fixed printing facility producing approximately 220 million leaflets a month and packed about 300 leaflet bombs a month.

Because Okinawa was at peace there are no military images. Instead, they show children taking part in music, dancing and even Japanese opera. The images celebrate Okinawan culture.

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The Communist Propaganda Technique of Group Singing

Here is a very strange Intelligence report printed by the 7th PSYOP Group. Since they were on Okinawa they watched the political situation there very carefully and discovered that the Communists on the island were using the technique of group singing to gain recruits. The gist of the 52-page report says:

The Communist led choral singing movement UTAGOE UNDO is a well-organized and expanding movement as indicated by one of its current slogans, “Choral singing for 10 million.” The movement began during the American occupation of Japan. It fails to mention that the original name of the Central Chorus was the Communist Youth Movement Central Chorus group and it remains under the control of the Japanese Communist Party. The success of the Communist movement led the Japanese Socialist Party to form its own choral movement. Some of the songs that might give a clue as to the organizations policies are: “Don’t send them to Vietnam;” “Nixon and Sato,” Nixon and Sato talk and then flee in terror from the sound of the people; “March for a free Vietnam;” “Ban the bomb;” and “Let’s liberate South Vietnam.”

I should point out that these anti-American and anti-Vietnam War songs are hidden within 27 popular and folk songs so they were able to pretend it was just simple entertainment. Once inside the singing groups the members could be gradually indoctrinated to the Communist philosophy.

Don’t Send Them to Vietnam

Can you hear the voices
Of fallen and injured soldiers
Calling from hospitals and inside bases?
Let’s stop sending soldiers to unknown battlefields

When American youths
Burn their draft cards,
When Vietnamese mothers and children defend their homeland,
Let’s stop manufacturing the weapons and military transport headed for Vietnam

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The King of Thailand

The portrait of the King of Thailand was printed by the 7th PSYOP Group on 18 November 1969, coded 97-2-4. The purpose was to encourage respect for the Royal family. The text is:

His Majesty the King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, is the most beloved and respected of the Thai People.

We should point out what the Military Assistance Command Thailand, February 1966, Psychological Operations Field Handbook for Thailand says about gifts and portraits:

Give-aways should. have explicit or implicit symbolic meaning, readily recognizable as an act of loyalty. Giving away pictures of the King to villagers has explicit meaning; they likely will keep them, either for display in their home or (if there is danger to them of subversive reprisal) in a secret place where they will serve as a sort of charm. Acceptance of a picture of the King becomes explicit out of loyalty to the government. An example of an implicit act would be acceptance of, say, cabbage seeds, if the government is seeking to have villagers in an area increase or diversify their vegetable production. Items distributed might have a symbol (a slogan, a Thai flag) affixed on them. For instance, in Vietnam, it was found useful to give away T-shirts for small children. A T-shirt has no propaganda significance; this significance was added by imprinting the Vietnamese flag on the garment. Thus, these shirts became symbolic of a villager’s loyalty, of his readiness to have his child parade around the village with the government’s symbol on hie chest or back. Under serious conditions of insurgency, the political climate in the village may be such that the very acceptance of any give-away becomes an act of loyalty to, or at least identification with, the government.

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A 1971 Calendar showing the King and his Queen Sirikit

3rd PSYOP Detachment – Bangkok, Thailand. The Group only prints materials prepared by the Royal Thai government’s Communist Suppression Operations Directorate. It liaisons with the Military Assistance Command Thailand in regard to PSYOP products printed for Thailand. It keeps the supported Thailand units informed of the printing and delivery schedule of the 7th PSYOP Group to Thailand. The printed materials: posters; handouts; calendars and maps are all attributed to Thailand. Once the products are printed and forwarded to Thailand they are distributed by the Thais. One Thai anti-Communist comic book printed by the 7th PSYOP Group was titled: THE VICTORIOUS BLACK PANTHERS which told the story of Thai troops fighting the Viet Cong in Vietnam so that Communism does not spread to other parts of Southeast Asia. The Group designed 10,000 bars of soap for Thailand produced by the Taiwan Detachment in Taiwan with messages inside. The Detachment is sometimes as few as two men with the main responsibility of coordinating printing requirements.

The Group must have been dissatisfied with the dissemination of the calendars. A memorandum pointed out that they were prepared with funds from the U.S. and each year the warehouses had calendars left over. One recommendation was that the calendars should be sent to military radio stations where they could be talked about and would be available to any listeners writing in for them. Radio programs could be tied to the calendars. The October page depicts school children in front of a statue of King Chulalongkorn. The radio program could talk about the King and tell the audience what he did for the people of Thailand. The memo concluded that the National Calendar should be provided to the Army PSYOP stations by the Royal Thailand Information PSYOP Organization.

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March 1971

Each page of the 1971 calendar bears a beautiful full-color patriotic image. The same images were printed as posters. I depict several below. The month of March image above depicts Communist troops drafting a farm boy to become a guerrilla. He fights as his father who appears to be tied to a tree looks on hopelessly. The text is:

Loving kindness

Not communism

Dave Underhill told me that they had to do a lot of work to get the maximum distribution of this National Calendar. He asked the Thai radio stations to broadcast their availability. He also wanted to forward calendars to the military PSYOP radio stations. There was no point in spending thousands of dollars for these calendars if they did not get into people’s homes.

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A booklet Depicting Thai Armed Forces in Action


The booklet seems to be targeting the proud anti-communism of Thailand’s history, potentially to recruit men to volunteer for service in South Vietnam.


Propaganda comic book for Thailand – The Victorious Black Panthers

This comic book was prepared in 1968 coded 2065. It was to motivate the Thais to stay in the war fighting to keep the Vietnamese free. Its plot describes the heroic Thai Black Panther Division planning an attack against the Viet Cong and being victorious. The comic mentions spotter aircraft seeing some Viet Cong near the Thai base named Bearcat. The Thais call in an airstrike and send in their Rangers to clean up. It ends with the comment that “The Rangers of the Black Panthers Division in Vietnam successfully completed their mission and make their brothers back home proud."

In the page above, an American soldier reports the sighting of a small group of Viet Cong fighters about 12 kilometers west of Base bearcat, the home of the Black Panthers. The commander calls for a conference and for their Rangers to be readied for action.

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The Newspaper THAILAND

This is a 7th Group propaganda newspaper for Thailand. My files only identify it as a newspaper so we don’t know how many issues were printed and how often they were distributed. The main stories are:

The Rapid Rural Development Considers building roads to connect villages and open access to remote areas.

The Ministry of Defense is providing mobile health clinics to assist people in the more rural areas that can't come to the city.

The Office of Rural Development is building roads to and from Nakhon Ratchasima, Phitsanulok and the Lampang provinces.

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There was a Communist movement in Thailand though you seldom hear about it today. The “Dominoes” of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos fell, but Thailand remained free. The Communist insurgency in Thailand was a guerrilla war lasting from 1965 until 1983, fought mainly by the Communist Party of Thailand and the government of Thailand. The war declined in 1980 following the declaration of an amnesty and by 1983 the Communist Party of Thailand had abandoned the insurgency. The 7th PSYOP Group had positioned the 3rd PSYOP Detachment in Thailand to coordinate U.S. PSYOP support for that country. The Detachment coordinated all PSYOP printing requirements with the Military Assistance Advisory Group Thailand and helped the Thais in the propaganda war by printing posters such as the one above. The poster above shows a Thai citizen who is tied up and has been beaten by the Communists. The text is:



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This poster has a rather simple design. A character that looks a bit like a silhouette of Mao Tse-tung holds a torch and the entire bottom of the poster is afire. Obviously, whatever the Communists touch they destroy. The text is:


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Republic of Korea

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A 1971 Calendar for the Republic of Korea
Notice the United Nations Symbol at the left

Happy New Year

A gift from the Friends of Freedom

The calendar contains both patriotic military pictures and artistic photographs of South Korean tourist attractions. I love the picture of the two affectionate hogs on the cover of the calendar. That immediately screamed “Year of the Pig” to me. Asians believe that the pig is peace-loving, trustful, honest, and sincere. People born in the year of the Boar will be lucky and successful in handling money, business and academic matters. Notice that the calendar is from the “Friends of Freedom.” That is the same as the Korean-language magazine depicted earlier in this article.

January 1971

This calendar page depicts Republic of Korea soldiers on watch along the Demilitarized zone.

I spoke to Dave Underhill who oversaw this operation and he remembered that the calendars were not all that successful at first. He said:

I became interested in calendars soon after my appointment to PSYOP. The unit printed a monthly Korean wall calendar for the United Nations Command to distribute within Korea. The illustrations were horrible. Nobody wanted to have one hanging on the wall, and nobody in the unit ever bothered to see what the people thought of them. I went to Korea and found out that our own people were cutting off the picture and placing just the calendar portion under the glass on their desks. On my way back to Okinawa, I stopped by our Japan Detachment who produced the calendars and told them I would like to see a yearly calendar that would become a collector’s item and never be thrown away. The printers were very professional. Once I told them what I wanted they produced very beautiful and high-quality patriotic images that the people loved. It may have been the best work they ever did. We eventually produced calendars for Korea, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand and Laos.

On 3 June 1971, the 7th PSYOP Group printed a set of six 2.5 x 3.5-inch pocket calendars for Korea. The message on all was the same:

Good Health and Happiness to You

The cards, numbered 1 through 6, were printed in four colors on front and in three colors on the back. The pictures on the six cards are as follows: a pretty girl by a willow tree, a young girl beside a stone statue, a woman beating drums, farmers eating in the rice fields, a pitcher, and a girl’s dancing group. Each card has a 1971 calendar on the back.

A "Year of the Rat" Calendar for the Republic of Korea


United Nations Command

I wish you good health and happiness

This calendar was designed to further the friendship between the United States and the Republic of Korea. The inside consists of beautiful full-color patriotic paintings suitable for framing and even some cartoons. The cover depicts an elderly Korean sitting among wild animals living together in peace. His name is Dangun Wanggeom who founded the nation of Korea over 4300 years ago. His father was Hwanwoong the son of God, who descended from heaven, and a woman named Woongnyeo who overcame a long ordeal and changed from a bear to human.

April 1972

The month of April had this remarkable painting of the Turtle ships at war. The Geobukseon, also known as turtle ship in western descriptions, was a type of large Korean warship that was used intermittently by the Royal Korean Navy during the Joseon dynasty from the early 15th century up until the 19th century. The sides and deck were covered over; to protect the crew from missile bombardment. The Turtle Ship’s prime armament was some 26 cannons, of various calibers. This gave them a stand-off capability more lethal than the archery or early rifle fire of the marines who manned the Japanese ships they opposed. Turtle ships were first used in the Battle of Sacheon (1592) and proved decisive in almost every battle. At nearly every encounter, they were able to sink their enemies with cannon fire at close range. 

24th PSYOP Detachment – Seoul, Korea. It supported the United Nations Command with PSYOP against North Korea and operated the Voice of the United Nations. It produced a Korean-language magazine Chayu–Ui pot (Friends of Freedom) in 500,000 copies, and annually produced a calendar and Farmer’s Almanac for Korea.  The Magazine Chayu was a full-color 32-page magazine directed at the general population of South Korea. It was the largest circulating magazine in South Korea. It designed leaflets and supports balloon and float operations against North Korea. It gathers information and intelligence from the interrogation of North Korean defectors.

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A Patriotic Comic Book

This 68-page comic book was written to tell the Korean people the story of their troops fighting in Vietnam. It shows them helping the people, feeding them and doing public services like digging wells etc. The title of the book is:

Civilian Aid

Korean Army Headquarters in Vietnam.

Department of Psychological Warfare for Civilians

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Page One

The first page of the comic book shows the Koreans being helped by the Vietnamese to capture an armed Viet Cong fighter and the text:

When cooperation is achieved with the residents, our soldiers become fond of the people and their comrades, observe army discipline, and become friendly with the local citizens. Our soldiers fight the communists most effectively.

Page 25 - A Korean Soldier pays for what he takes

Other cartoons depict the Koreans helping the Vietnamese people by giving them food, medicines, and even cash. The booklet makes a point that the Koreans pay for whatever they take while the Viet Cong steal it. In one cartoon a Korean soldier fixes a fence after he knocked part of it down with his jeep. When the Koreans walk through a garden, they are careful to walk on the path and not through the vegetables, and when they drive, they are careful to watch of children at play. They build houses, piers and dig roads for the people. The booklet presents the Koreans in the best light possible. Page 25 features a Korean soldier buying produce from a Vietnamese farmer. The text at the top is:

Amazing, it's too much money

The text at the bottom is:

When you buy an item, pay a fair price

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1972 Calendar for Laos

There was no 7th PSYOP Group Detachment in Laos but leaflets were printed for that country. The Group printed 40 to 45 million leaflets a month for Laos; one high or medium altitude mission a week with 10 about million leaflets dropped each mission.

Lao PSYWAR designed this calendar, using their photographers and writers and then the material was sent offsite to be printed. The code is M72-12 (192).The inside front cover depicts all the native people of Laos. Each month the photographs are patriotic and nationalistic. For instance, January shows a Laotian soldier loading an aircraft with the text:

The Army is always ready to provide aid to people in remote areas with transports from the Lao Air Force.

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A Pathet Lao Defector is honored

March depicts a large picture of the King of Laos reviewing his troops. The picture on the actual calendar page shows a female Social Worker honoring a former Pathet Lao who returned to the Government side. She places a garland around the former guerrilla’s neck.

1973 Calendar for Laos

This calendar was a bit complex. It opens with the same display of decorations that the 1972 calendar closed with. After that, each month features a pretty girl, the standard calendar, a Laotian calendar, the insignia of 3 Lao Army units, a generic picture with no caption, a Laotian saying, important dates in history for the month which focus primarily on events in Laos, and comments about festivals and holidays geared to the Laotian calendar. There is a centerfold showing the display of captured enemy weapons which was located in front of the psychological warfare division headquarters in Vientiane along with the blurb. At the end there is a map surrounded by the pretty girls. The back cover is a 1974 calendar.

This was the last calendar produced off-site by the 7th PSYOP Group. The calendar for 1974 featured the king and had tear off calendar sheets. While the psychological warfare division had developed the capacity to design these calendars, it had neither the budget to have them printed elsewhere nor the capacity to print them in-house. Other priorities became more pressing.

I wondered why the Laos fighters would have to pay for the calendars when they were surely printed gratis earlier. It seems to be the same as the idea of Vietnamization. Karl Fritch told me:

There was a ceasefire in Laos starting in spring 1973 and the United States Government pulled back from supporting the Lao Army to the extent it had previously. The emphasis was on getting the Royal Laotian Government and the Lao Army to function independently. The concept was to supply and equip them to do the job themselves. Hence, work done out of country for the Lao needed to give way to work done in country by the Lao.

Miss February from Lao 1973 Calendar

Follow the example of the old and the flesh-eating demons will not eat you

This is a traditional saying reflecting beliefs in a spirit world which could be pretty malevolent at times. A free English translation it would be “The old ways are safest”

Some of the other comments on the calendar pages are:

An angry heart is like an evil spirit the good heart like the Buddha
Death is better than breaking faith[death before dishonor]
Building with your hands is hard; with your mouth, easy
A barking dog doesn’t bite

There are also various patriotic comments on the monthly pages. Some examples are:

01 to 10 May 1971: 18 soldiers from the 22nd Pathet Lao Company along with their company commander Captain Vanna and another 45 Lao Patriotic front soldiers along with officers from the 11th Battalion came together with a battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Sengchan and another 5 soldiers to rally to the government side.

13 October 1967: The government of Laos presented 19 North Vietnamese prisoners of war to the press to show the truth concerning North Vietnamese soldiers committing aggression on Lao land.

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The 7th PSYOP Group published a regular monthly magazine called the Laos Army Magazine. As might be expected, it was very patriotic and supported the Lao Government and military. All of the covers are military in nature.

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Pro-Government Army Poster 12-2-19

This 1971 large 21 x 29-inch full-color poster depicts a Laotian soldier in the forefront holding his flag while behind him massed Lao civilians wave their flags. It is a very patriotic scene. The text is:

21st Celebration of the Formation of the Army 23 March 1971

The nation exists because soldiers and people are together resolved to fight the enemy.

Army Day expresses the commitment of our brave troops to defend our sovereignty.

The nation endures as the sky and the land because the soldiers and people are strongly entwined together in the struggle.

Nation, honor, discipline, courage, unity, fortitude and sacrifice

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Laos Air Force Poster

The poster features the Royal Laotian Air Force. Behind the brave pilot is a North American T-28 Trojan fighter, a Sikorsky H-34 helicopter and a Douglas C-47 Skytrain cargo aircraft. The text is:

All the peoples of Laos give their constant support to all units of the Nation’s brave fighters

The Royal Lao Air Force (RLAF), was the air force component of the Royal Lao Armed Forces (FAR), the official military of the Royal Lao Government and the Kingdom of Laos during the Laotian Civil War between 1960 and 1975. During the 1960s, the RLAF came to carry the weight of the battle against Vietnamese communist invaders and local Pathet Lao insurgents. Despite its continual drain of heavy pilot and aircraft losses, the RLAF grew to the point where it flew 30,000 combat sorties annually against its enemies in the years 1970 through 1972, as well performing essential logistics duties.

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The National Army - Unity Brings Happiness Booklet

An example of propaganda to help the people instead of just attacking the Pathet Lao is the booklet above. The Lao PSYOP unit produced this book to teach the people to read. Texts like the above were distributed to both adults and children. The Army trained literacy teachers.

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Our Land Booklet

This is the final Version of the national unity illustrated program titled “Our Land.” There were also films that were made to encourage the people to come together and take pride in their heritage. It was designed in conjunction with Lao PSYWAR, the United States Information Service Special Projects, the U.S. Army and the U.S. 7th PSYOP Group headquartered on Okinawa. There are inspirational comments that tell of all the times Laos was invaded by China and Vietnam and how each time the Laotians were victorious.

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Leaflet .13

Many of the leaflets for Vietnam depicted scenes of violence, bombing and dead bodies on the ground. The Laos leaflets were much milder, showing leaders, doctors and nurses, and soldiers getting haircuts or eating. There was a different culture and so the leaflets were different. The Laos leaflets all start with a decimal point in front of the number. We always thought that was a code for Laos and the leaflets were printed by them. Instead, we now know that many were printed by the 7th PSYOP Group. There is an entire series of large leaflets that depict and support Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma. Some of those in my collection are .13, .15, .16, and .17. Since the images are all identical, I will just translate leaflet .13:

Prince Souvanna Phouma Prime Minister in the government of his Majesty the King

The Kingdom of Laos received its independence over 20 years ago. For the last 20 plus years our nation has been a democratically governed by a King, Privy Council, National Assembly and Constitution. Many nations of this world have recognized our independence and sovereignty as assured by the 1962 Geneva Accords. There is no nation in the world that can take away our rights.

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Leaflet .324

Full-color leaflet .324 depicts a Lao mother nursing her baby. The text can be translated several ways but probably is best read as:

When will you return?

The back is all text. It says:

It has been a many years since you last saw your family; your mother, father, wife, children, and grandchildren, which you abandoned,

Brothers and sisters, for what reason do you abandon your loved ones and live in the jungles alone? You have worthlessly wasted so much time.

The Royal Lao Government has a program for you to rejoin the family that you left behind so many years ago. Please come back as soon as you read this leaflet.

The 7th PSYOP Group wrote a PSYOP Intelligence Special Report in February 1972. It says in part:

Both the Royal Laotian Government and the Pathet Lao had a variety of PSYOP programs designed to reach various target groups within Lao society. Government themes are addressed to the whole country as well as special audiences: Lao-Thai mercenaries, commercial circles, military forces, the Pathet Lao, farmers, other ethnic groups, monks and the youth. The Government objectives are to reduce the combat efficiency of the enemy, to stress the goodwill of the U.S., to convince enemy troops to defect, and to carry out plans for economic development while educating the people.

To carry out these goals the Government uses posters, leaflets, motion pictures, still pictures, cartoons, travelling theatre groups, PSYOP teams, loudspeaker programs, radio broadcasts and printed media. The Government has five radio stations which transmit to an estimated 70,000 radio receivers in the country. The Government publishes Khao Phap Pacham Sapda, a weekly news and photo sheet with a circulation of 20,000.The value of leaflets were shown when large numbers of the enemy defected and stated that leaflets and loudspeaker programs were influential in their decision to desert.

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An Uncut Sheet of Propaganda leaflets for Laos

One of the earliest series of leaflets that were printed by the U. S. Army 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa for The Laotian Army is the “Work together, Build together” series. The 7th PSYOP Group had a liaison officer working with the Royal Laotian Army Psywar. This is a group of leaflets that show the Lao people in different professions. The images are drawings like cartoons, the front with some red color added and the back always black and white, but patriotic and showing the workers and students in their best light. The front and back of each leaflet has the same title at top, but the descriptive text at the bottom is different: The nurse cares for the ill; The veterinarian looks after the health of animals; The teacher transmits knowledge, etc.

Notice that the top two leaflets are in Vietnamese. Since the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong often hid in Laos it was considered efficient to address them too.

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I thought I would start by talking about leaflets. I spent years tracking down various codes used by different organizations during the Vietnam war. I finally understood the system and thought I was pretty smart. And then I discovered that I didn’t know anything. That is sobering, but let me first start by talking about the Korean War. In Korea, three organizations produced the major portion of leaflets. There was the U.S. Eighth Army, the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, and the 1st loudspeaker and Leaflet Company. That is pretty easy. Except, I sometimes saw the same leaflets being claimed one or more of the three units. It then became clear that although the Group and Company was producing most of the leaflets, they were subordinate to the Army so when the Army G3 Operations section felt like it they just said “We printed them.” That is technically correct if we consider the chain of command, but not exactly accurate. It is more accurate to say “we ordered them to be printed.”

The same confusion can be found during the Vietnam War. There were originally four companies producing leaflets, then four battalions, then the 4th PSYOP Group in Vietnam, and all this theoretically guided by the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO). We knew if a leaflet had a code like “246” it was made by a company, if “10” it was made by a Battalion, if “4” it was made by the Group and if it had either the letter “SP” or a four letter code like “3536” it was made by JUSPAO. Or was it?

It later became clear that the 7th PSYOP Group was used to support all those units during the war and they printed the majority of the leaflets on Okinawa or Japan and simply used the codes as requested. So, the fact that we find a code on a leaflet does not tell us who printed it, it tells us who may have designed or requested it. I have a partial listing of all the leaflets produced by the 7th PSYOP Group and some of the codes I see are: T-01 (designed for use on the Ho Chi Minh Trail), P-01 (designed for use against the People’s Army of Vietnam), CP-03 (designed for use in Cambodia), 95 (designed to be used against North Vietnam) and SP-1380 (printed by JUSPAO – we thought). We now know that all of these were printed by the 7th Group. So, the bottom line is that anything we see that is coded and we think we know where it was printed may have been printed in several different places by quite different people.

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

244th PSYOP Detachment – Saigon, Vietnam. Through liaison with Military Assistance Command Vietnam and the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office it coordinated requests for PSYOP printing with the 7th PSYOP Group. It keeps supported Vietnam units informed on the printing and delivery schedule of the 7th PSYOP Group to Vietnam which makes up 75% of all the leaflets used there. It printed the Vietnamese-language magazine Thong Cam and annual calendars. It arranges for the 7th PSYOP Group to give instruction on leaflet dissemination techniques to Army, Air Force and Marine personnel in Vietnam. It collected PSYOP intelligence through liaison with military and civilian intelligence agencies. All printed material for Vietnam was designed by U.S. sources in Vietnam.

Let me start with some of the more interesting items printed for the South Vietnamese.

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A pictorial history of America

The U.S. Army 7th PSYOP Group produced this 52-page propaganda comic book for the Vietnamese to teach them the history of the United States. It opens with the Vikings and Columbus, goes on to the Mayflower, then the Revolutionary War, on to Andy Jackson and the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The westward movement follows, and then WWI and WWII featuring Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower. The comic ends with Khrushchev, Jack Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. It bears a code on the back: 6-182(208). The 7th Group had a detachment in Vietnam all through the war so at some point it must have been asked to produce this comic to help the Vietnamese better understand the Americans that were in their country.

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Land Tenure Booklet

The 7th PSYOP Group printed hundreds of informative booklets for the people of Vietnam. This booklet was developed in May 1968, coded 2593, and titled Land Tenure Booklet. The cover has a farmer working his field with water buffalo and the back has a colorful painting of a farm scene. The 18-page booklet was printed for the general population to provide information to land owners of rights and privileges and government regulations that affect them. There are 60 numbered paragraphs answering every question that a land owner might ask regarding rights and obligations, land rights and contracts, renting, crops, seeds, fertilizer, security, disputes and penalties.

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Phuoc Ninh District Newsletter

There were hundreds of small patriotic, military, or government agencies supported by the Group. They all needed newsletters to keep them updated on what needed to be done and the current status of the war. This July 1968 publication is the Phuoc Ninh District Newsletter, designed to provide an attractive and attention-getting cover to facilitate dissemination to the district, both urban and rural. 2,000 copies were printed weekly with the JUSPAO code number 2659.

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Regional Forces / Popular Forces Magazine

This magazine for the Vietnam civilian militias was prepared in October 1968 and coded 2899. This issue, for Binh Dinh Provinces is Special Projects. The magazine was developed by the Vietnam Information Service aided by the U.S. Civil Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS) and Vietnamese PSYOP, then sent to the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office who assigned the project to the 7th PSYOP Group. The objective of the magazine was to promote the RF/PF (Ruff Puffs) a part-time local militia of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) during the Vietnam War. 3000 copies were printed every other week. Most of the stories tell of Viet Cong defeats. Some of the feature stories are:

Another Attempt of the Blood-thirsty Communists Crushed in Qui Nhon
Victory at Phu My Hamlet, Binh Khe
Rallying to the Just Cause
Victory at Phu Cat

The People’s Self-Defense Monthly Bulletin

This 4-page bulletin was for rural and urban Self-Defense forces. It was designed to stimulate interest in civilian self-defense and provide guidance for self-defense groups. It talks about the growth of the movement and how at the start they had 175,338 members with 37,678 had military training and weapons. By November 1968 they had 658,934 members, 239,246 now had military training, and 96,899 weapons had been issued. This bulletin was coded 3,000.

My Country – A Study Magazine for Revolutionary Development Cadre

This publication was for the Revolutionary Development Cadre. It was designed at their Center in Vung Tau. It was meant to give them orientation, information, and motivation. This issue from November 1968 was coded 2994.

Your silent sacrifice and unremitting struggle will open the door to Vietnam’s future. The people and history shall not forget the credit you have dearly earned from hardship. You must always show yourselves up to the task of cadre born from the people and ready to give the supreme sacrifice of their lives to serve the people.

Whenever we complete the civil-defense machinery and when that machinery runs smoothly like a wheel, it will be time for the underground communists to surrender and flee from that machinery or be pushed out and isolated by that machinery. They are like fishes that are ready for cooking, and they will lose their spirit and capacity for action.

My County – 1969 Spring Issue- Code 3080

Can you ever have enough of these attractive magazine covers? I think not. This issue, "Special Projects," was developed in January 1969 for the members, friends, and families of the Revolutionary Development cadre. It was prepared by the Vietnamese at their center at Vung Tau, then printed by JUSPAO. It contained cadre orientation, information, and motivation.

Patriotic Poems

The Vietnamese loved poems and as a result many leaflets and brochures contained poems. This July 1968, 6-page booklet was developed by the Field Development Division of JUSPAO to promote a patriotic feeling for the Republic of Vietnam. 500,000 copies were printed. It was meant to be presented in a plastic gift bag with 11 other items.

Poem with illustration

The poems include My Beloved Vietnam, A visit to our Homeland, and A Map of Vietnam. Each poem comes with its own illustration. This booklet was coded 2634.

Masthead – Sector News Bulletin

Sometimes the Group simply prepared blank pages with a patriotic masthead. These could be forwarded to any sector where they could add their own text. This masthead was printed in June 1968 and coded 2644. It would eventually be published by the Political Warfare Bloc of Hau Nghia Sub-Sector

Song Sheets

Song Sheet 3082

Like the magazine covers, the song sheet covers were often quite colorful and impressive. This February 1968 song sheet was for the civilian RF and PF militia to build up their morale by a song about brave soldiers who were lost in battle. The text on the front is:

The Voice of the RF and PF

Ky Dau Spring

Inside the text is:

A March composed by Thuy Duong

Brilliant spring, sowing new beliefs, casting rays of victory on a sprouting nation. Spring, source of life, spreading like a sacred fire.

We are determined to offer our blood and bones to build our Fatherland this new spring. We feel hot blood coursing through our veins.

Brilliant Spring: Spring will return, painting the Vietnamese sky with colors of victory and achievement

Song Sheet 3087

This song was designed for residents and voters participating in the village and hamlet elections in January 1969. 50,000 copies were prepared for Vietnamese Ministry of Information. The song was titled, We Go to the Polls.

We go to the polls! We go to the polls!
To elect the village popular council.
To elect the village popular council.
Each ballot serves as a stone.
To build up villages and hamlets.

We go to the polls! we go to the polls!
To elect representatives of the people.
To elect representatives of the people.
The worthy candidate shall be lawfully elected.
That democracy may flourish in the countryside.

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Poster 2564

This May 1968 poster has the theme of eradicating illiteracy and convincing the people that life in one of the Strategic Hamlets was better and safer than living in a village where the Viet Cong could come at night and steal food and perhaps draft children. It depicts a group of Vietnamese adults in a New Life Hamlet classroom being taught the alphabet. The text is:


Eradication of illiteracy in order to bring progress and knowledge to the people

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Poster 3088

This January 1969 poster is entitled “Elections build Democracy.” JUSPAO ordered this poster at the request of the Vietnam Ministry of Information. 100,000 copies were printed. The image depicts a woman holding a child while voting. The text is:


All go to cast the Ballots, Follow the right procedure, Elect the right person.


Booklet 2613 and 8-900(8)

This is a a pro-voting booklet with two codes, one being 8-900(8). That is not a normal code, although the 8 is often used by the 8th PSYOP Battalion. In this case I suspect that is a Vietnamese code. It was developed in August 1968. The cover has the flag of the Republic of Vietnam at top and a Vietnamese woman voting on the back. 500,000 copies were printed in the Regional Service Center in Manila. The 10-page booklet is designed for children to teach them their civic duties. The book is meant to instill patriotism and pride in their nation and national heritage. It explains their Constitution and lists 29 rights and duties the children will have as adults. The text on the front and back is:




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The 7th PSYOP Group constantly produced political slogans when requested by the Vietnamese. The slogan is in the form of a small banner about 17 x 4-inches in size that like a poster can be placed anywhere. They were usually made in a set with a number of different slogans. The set above coded 3089 was developed in January 1969 and was made up of 17 different slogans all meant to encourage the citizens to vote in the village and hamlet elections. 20,000 copies of each slogan were printed to be distributed by the Vietnamese Ministry of Information. Some of the slogans are:

Each vote is a brick building the foundations of democracy.
Every ballot is a weapon that will drive away the Communists.
Boldly denounce the henchmen of the Communists who plot to undermine the election.
To undermine the election is to betray the nation.

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Chieu Hoi and Tet Slogans

This group of nine slogans on the theme of Chieu Hoi and Tet were prepared in December 1969 and coded 2953. They targeted relatives of the Viet Cong and also the Viet Cong themselves, and therefore were to be left along trails frequented by the Guerrillas. Some were apparently also air-dropped. The title of the operation was SPRING IN THE FATHERLAND. Some of the slogans are:

Support with enthusiasm “Spring in the Fatherland.”
“Spring in the Fatherland" is for love and the right cause.
“Spring in the Fatherland" opens a new road to the people on the other side.
“Spring in the Fatherland” is a good time for the Hoi Chanh to return to the right cause.

More Small Slogan Slips

The 7th PSYOP group printed an un-coded and un-dated sheet of small slogan slips. I suspect they were dropped on North Vietnam, but I have no evidence. The slips are 8 inches wide and about three-quarters of an inch high. The sheet contained 8 different slogans printed in sets of three on each side for a total of 24 slips and 16 different slogans in all. I assume since they were a mix on the same sheet, all the leaflets would have been dropped together. Some of the slogans are incorrect and there are grammatical errors. They do not feel like they were written by a Vietnamese. Perhaps this was a black operation? Some of the slogans are:

A negotiation in good faith by North Vietnam is a path to peace.

The war could end if the Labor Party would negotiate in good faith.

This war is hopeless.

It is time to end hostilities and to start a negotiation in good faith to end the war.

Everybody can return to a peaceful life once the war ends.

Without the cooperation of everyone, the war cannot end.

Current military actions against North Vietnam can be avoided should the leaders of the Labor Party know better and negotiate in good faith to end the war.

After a leaflet drop these would be everywhere like ticker tape confetti after a New York City Parade down Broadway. I spoke to one of the officers involved in this project and he said

We figured they would have to send hundreds of people out to pick each of these little slivers of paper up and they would not be able to resist reading them as they stooped to clean up the area.

What is interesting about these small slogan slips is that they may have been created by the Viet Cong and then copied by the South Vietnamese and Americans. The Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office Memorandum 14 dated 9 February 1966 is titled The Viet Cong Slogan Slip. It says in part:

A tool in the Viet Cong communication armory is the slogan slip. This is a small slip of paper (some as small as two by three inches) which contains a short message expressing one idea. The most terse, for example, might read, “Down with the US-Lackey Clique.”

One of the primary uses of the slogan slip by the Viet Cong cadres is to help raise revolutionary consciousness. Villages are encouraged to draft, produce, and distribute slogan slips…There are three types: those which praise our policies; those which express hatred, especially for enemy crimes; and those which support the proselyting movement. Slogans may be written in the form of poetry, in verses of six or eight words, or in the forms of words to popular songs…Slogan slips are generally distributed covertly. They are slipped into women’s shopping baskets at market, tossed in parked vehicles in the cities, placed at night in school room desks, or simply scattered along paths and walks where they are apt to be found by pedestrians…



These plaques are an odd case. Remember that the 7th PSYOP Group had the artists and the printing presses and could produce many different items including leaflets, posters, comic books, booklets, calendars, and a host of special requests. Some of the latter from my files are award certificates, retirement certificates, letters of commendation, stationary, fancy holiday menus, etc. In the files of the 7th were three Vietnamese Army Infantry Division plaques. They are for the 7th, 9th, and 21st Divisions, all of which were organic to IV Corps in the Mekong Delta. American PSYOP units supported and were often attached to allied units such as the Australians, Thais, Koreans and Vietnamese. I do not know if the 7th Group printed these for the Vietnamese units they supported, or received these as gifts from the units for their support. Either way, they were saved in their archives. Each item has the same exact text:

Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam 
Determined to Defend 
Family - Native Village - Nation 


We mention calendars in the paragraph above, and I believe that all through this article we depict calendars and point out how popular they are for PSYOP, because the target looks at the calendar almost every day and therefore is constantly seeing the message. This small pocket calendar depicts a Vietnamese mother and child. The other side has all twelve months of 1969. I should mention that the Viet Cong also prepared such calendars for American troops. The message on the front is:

A Warm Family
A Prosperous State


I thought it might be interesting to discuss the two major types of leaflets. I could use Military descriptions from field manuals of course but when I was asked about them, I always tried to give a very short and succinct answer. The first is the tactical leaflet. I would explain that this was usually for units directly in front of you. It was for nearby targets and was often time sensitive. You tried to make the enemy directly in front of you act in a certain way that was advantageous to your forces. It was prepared and disseminated quickly.

The strategic leaflet was just the opposite. It was long-range for the enemy government and civilians hundreds or thousands of miles away. It meant to change their mind in a more massive way, to change the way they think and act. It was for the long haul.

I mention Lieutenant Colonel Dave Underhill many times in this article. He was a bit of a mustang and the father of the mathematics of leafleting, writing the formulas for leaflets of different sizes and weight that would show where they would land and in what configuration. Dave wrote about the same two types of leaflets on several occasions. I have his handwritten notes. . His concepts will be far more insightful and complete than mine. He was a visionary:

The primary goal of tactical psychological operations is to produce an immediate reaction on the part of the target audience. It may be designed to cause the enemy to surrender, rally to the friendly side, or cause civilians to leave an area where operations are pending. The tactical leaflet may have a direct bearing on the physical condition of the target member by alluding to the fact that he is surrounded, faced with overwhelming odds, or subjected to superior firepower. In these instances, the threat of death is implied. As a safe conduct pass, the tactical leaflet offers an avenue of escape from a depressing situation and hope to the despairing who have come to believe their situation hopeless. The tactical leaflet is usually tied to a particular event or situation which makes the timing of its dissemination critical.

The strategic leaflet does not necessarily carry a theme that would produce immediate defection or bring about sudden dramatic changes in each situation. A strategic leaflet strives for the long-range effect. Its objective goes far beyond that of the tactical leaflet in that it aims at the gradual changing of attitudes and beliefs over a relatively long period of time. In some instances, the objective of a strategic leaflet can be the same as that of a tactical leaflet. For example, a defection appeal could be used in a strategic leaflet program as well as in a tactical program. However, the objectives of the strategic program, while essentially the same as those of the tactical program, would be realized over a much longer period, and by far more subtle means. By using a low-keyed approach and presenting the truth about a friendly country, it is possible to create doubt in the minds of the target audience. This initial doubt if continually reinforced by credible strategic propaganda can lead to further doubt, questioning of enemy domestic information programs, and finally the conviction that the friendly country has told the truth. The goal of a well-conducted strategic program is to have the target member convince himself over a period of time of the truth of the friendly message. Defection is by no means the only objective in strategic psychological operations. It may be the least desirable achievement. A United Nations Command representative in Korea made the comment that "we are better off with a million unhappy North Koreans in North Korea than a million unhappy North Koreans in South Korea." Creating dissatisfaction with a particular form of government or way of life can also be a primary goal and one that readily lends itself to the gradual processes of strategic psychological operations. It should be remembered that in many cases, the strategic leaflet is the only method of reaching vast numbers of people whose only other source of information is government-controlled propaganda.

I have written 32 articles on the leaflets of the Vietnam War. I don’t think we need to go into any great detail in this section. I will select a few leaflets that I know to be a 7th PSYOP Group leaflet and ask that the reader consider it an example of all their work.

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5 Flag Safe Conduct Pass Leaflet

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7 Flag Safe Conduct Pass Leaflet

The United States and its allies dropped over 50 billion leaflets on Vietnam. Many of them were safe conduct passes. These passes have been used in every war in recent history and were used in Biblical times, during medieval times, and even in the American Indian wars. It is very powerful form of propaganda. It allows an enemy to defect with the absolute knowledge that he will be treated fairly and his life and safety are guaranteed. During the Vietnam War, the United States produced a series of safe conduct passes depicting the flag of the Republic of Vietnam with other allied flags, to encourage defection of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Dave Underhill of the 7th PSYOP Group told me about the safe conduct passes:

During one trip to Vietnam, I discussed the safe conduct pass problem with our Vietnam PSYOP Detachment Commander. I suggested that he have his people draft a National Safe Conduct Pass to be used throughout the nation. He took a proposed leaflet layout to JUSPAO. They immediately took the project over and assigned it leaflet number SP-893. The leaflet was eventually produced at the rate of one hundred million leaflets per month and dropped throughout the country. It was a highly successful leaflet used by tens of thousands of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers.

The first version of the Pass contained the flags of the Republic and four countries that provided combat / support troops – The United States, Australia, New Zealand and Korea. The first version contained no signature because of the unstable government in the south. When the Philippines and Thailand provided assistance in the form of personnel, the pass was revised to include their flags. By this time the government was rather stable and General Ky signed the pass. The third version changed the signature from General Ky to President Thieu after the elections of September 1957. Once this "official" design was approved, it was decreed that this should be the only safe conduct pass used by the Allies so as not to confuse the enemy.

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7th PSYOP Banknote Leaflet Description Sheet

Perhaps I should mention one more operation where the 7th PSYOP Group produced North Vietnamese propaganda banknote leaflets in 1, 2 and 5 dong denominations. These official sheets depicted the actual leaflet, gave the English-language translation and other information such as the size and sometimes the paper weight.

I spoke to a former officer of the 7th PSYOP Group who was involved in the 1973 banknote operation. He said:

In 1972-1973, I returned to Vietnam on extended TDY to run strategic leafleting operations throughout Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. There were three banknote leaflet denominations, the 1, 2 and 5 dong, with a message printed at the end of the leaflet on the front and back. Design and layout graphics wanted the back of each leaflet to have the printed message. I told them that was not what we wanted. The drop requirement was to come up with three leaflet widths to accommodate the three note widths, and at the same time have them fall in the same general area. The length needed not only to accommodate the note, but leave a space for an inflation message at the end.

Someone from the 7th PSYOP group hand-carried the packet to the Regional Service Center (RSC) in Manila. Once RSC-Manila got on board, they made as many serial numbers as they could by moving around the digits of the three original notes.

Leaflet NT4/TD/2 – Continuous Evaluation

Some readers might believe that after an initial evaluation and check of language, spelling, grammar, and assurance that the leaflet follows the approved political policies, it is “Good to go.” Not true. Leaflets were continuously evaluated, brought before boards, friendly prisoners of War and Hoi Chanhs, to determine the continued value. I selected this leaflet to show you such a case. Here is a 7th PSYOP Group leaflet that was looked at a second time in September 1971 before reuse of the leaflet was approved. It was found to be lacking. The original leaflet depicted an injured Viet Cong being treated by South Vietnamese medics. It was meant to show the good treatment they would receive from their brothers from the south. I will mention some of the text below and the criticism by the evaluation board. I will underline the words that were problems.

Your wives and children are waiting for you impatiently. Nothing remains but for you to make yourself POWs, and you will be well-treated by the Republic of Vietnam government. You will reunite with your families in North Vietnam or build a new life in South Vietnam if you rally courageously.

Peace will be restored sooner or later. Even though there will be peace, the Communists will not let you reunite with your families but send you to other battlefields for you know well that the life in South Vietnam is freer and more prosperous than in North Vietnam. This would harm the deceiving propaganda in North Vietnam.

There were two major flaws indicated by the evaluation board. The first was that the first paragraph first told them to become prisoners of war and later told them to rally which would have made them Chieu Hoi candidates. The two choices are quite different and could confuse the reader and be counterproductive. The second problem was that in the first paragraph the enemy soldier was told he could return home, and in the second he is told that he would never be allowed to return home. The board asked:

How can you promise a man he will return home and then tell him in the same leaflet that he won’t be allowed to return home even if peace is restored?


The following leaflet was created by the 7th PSYOP Group to show the People of Vietnam the propaganda used by the Communists, and then pick it apart. The upper portion in pink says:

Let us emulate in contributing as much effort and means as possible to the revolution for securing the victory.

Resist all cunning psywar, return offers, and calls-to-surrender ploys by the enemy.

Information and Propaganda of the National Liberation Front of Gia Lai.

The anti-Communist message is directly below. There are two paragraphs on the front and two on the back:

1. The above is a Viet Cong propaganda leaflet issued by the Provincial Party Committee of Gia Lai, captured by the Republic of Vietnam’s Army during Operation KONMAHAR.

2. What does “EMULATE IN CONTRIBUTING AS MUCH EFFORT AND MEANS AS POSSIBLE TO THE REVOLUTION FOR SECURING THE VICTORY” mean? Is this propaganda and coercion, intimidation, and punishment for those who refused draft, taxation, contribution of rice, and property to the Communists so they can prolong their inhuman and unjust war in the South?

3. What does “RESIST ALL CUNNING PSYWAR, RETURN OFFERS, AND CALLS-TO-SURRENDER PLOYS BY THE ENEMY” mean? Is our political warfare effort by the Government and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam so permeating into Viet Cong soldiers' minds? Has the return policy of the South weakened the combat zeal of the Viet Cong cadres? Has our just cause so shaken the enemy ranks that the Communist masterminds in the Provincial Party committee of Gia Lai have produced such infantile, psychologically counterproductive leaflets out of fear?

4. The Communists have been known for boasting about their political competence and cunning ploys. Reading this leaflet, you can clearly see the Communists are worse than the worst. Such an infantile and false propaganda can mislead no one, and cannot cheat on the people, both Vietnamese and Montagnards of the Kontum province.


Note: The text of this leaflet includes long sentences with formal vocabulary. It appears that the 7th Group used Northerners as the authors of both the original and answering messages. There is no code number on this leaflet so it might have just been handed to passerby’s or used as an example of North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese propaganda at some meeting. “RETURN OFFERS, CALLS-TO-SURRENDER” would seem to be the Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) program. But the leaflet mentions both Chieu Hoi, which is an encouragement to rally, to come back as a wayward son coming back home. and Chieu Hang which means the person will be treated as a prisoner of war.

[Author’s Note]: The Kon Tum Offensive, also known as the Konmahar Operation, was a significant military campaign during the Vietnam War. Kon Tum Province, located in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam, was strategically important due to its proximity to the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In 1972, during the Easter Offensive (a large-scale North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam), the North Vietnamese forces launched the Konmahar Operation. The primary objective was to capture the provincial capital, Kon Tum, and gain control over the surrounding region. The South Vietnamese defenders, along with indigenous Montagnard fighters, put up a determined resistance. Ultimately, the South Vietnamese forces successfully repelled the North Vietnamese attack, preventing the fall of Kon Tum. The Konmahar Operation demonstrated the resilience of South Vietnamese forces and their ability to defend strategically important areas. It also highlighted the importance of indigenous fighters (such as the Montagnards) in the conflict.

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Uncut sheet of Propaganda Leaflets for Vietnam

This is a nice mix of leaflets to be dropped over Vietnam together. They are all on the same theme and the belief was that a mix like this worked better than just single leaflets. They could argue the same points with different arguments working toward the same conclusion.

Still Active as the War Ends

Retired Army Major Joseph L. Tebor was interviewed in March 2022 about his duties during the Vietnam War with the 244th PSYOP Detachment of the 7th PSYOP Group in Okinawa and Vietnam. Some of his comments are:

I am referring to Psychological Warfare, and the use of Propaganda Leaflets, radios, flotation bags, the dissemination of leaflets from various aircraft like helicopters, Jets, cargo planes and drones. We also delivered transistor radios by balloon launched from submarines. We disseminated leaflets printed in 3 different denominations of North Vietnamese currency, printed in full color front and back.

As the Intelligence Liaison Officer for the 244th Det, 7th PSYOP Group, I was responsible for selecting the targets for every Vietnamese Language Strategic Leaflet Drop throughout all North and South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos from 1 May 1972, until combat ended in April 1973. I provided the 7th Air Force with 60 targets every month; they flew at least 1 mission every day and every mission included a minimum of 15,000,000 leaflets.

I also selected the targets for the last 6 missions involving the delivery of leaflets by remote controlled Drones. My collection includes a box specially made for drone missions, that is packed with the same leaflets that were dropped from these drones over North Vietnam. I can also talk about PSYOP Soap, and the Safe Conduct Pass Leaflet that I Put in a jar of water in March 2015, and it's still readable, intact, and unable to be torn.

On 14 May 2022, retired Major Tebor gave a talk about psychological Operations at VFW Post 6695 in Plymouth, Michigan. He is in the process of donating his collection to the National Vietnam War Museum in Texas.

I should point out here that just about everything Major Tebor mentions has been illustrated, discussed, and translated if needed, in one of the 30+ articles I have written about the PSYOP of the Vietnam War on Psywarrior.com.


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Buddha Fights the Khmer Rouge

The 7th PSYOP Group did not have a Detachment in Cambodia. Still, it was a war zone and the 7th produced many propaganda items that were used there. Probably my favorite poster of all time is this one that shows the Buddha.

This large 15.5 x 19.5-inch poster coded 13-2-6 depicts the Lord Buddha destroying the Communist Khmer Rouge who are depicted as demons. The enemy is shown with AK-47s, grenades, RPGs and tanks at the left. On the right they are sinking into the sea; the tank’s main gun is bent and broken and their leader is pleading for mercy. Crocodiles and sawfish attack them. Buddha is a God of mercy and moderation so his depiction in this poster is very strange. From a standpoint of color and artistic imagination it would be hard to find a more impressive propaganda poster. Directly beneath the Buddha is the Buddhist Earth Deity, who wrings out her hair, sending a stream of strong water at the drowning Communists. She is known in Cambodia as Neang Kanghing Preah Thoranee. She has other names in Arakan, Burma, Thailand, and Laos, but the names all mean “Lady Earth” or “Mother Earth,” She is the Buddha's witness at the time of the enlightenment. According to the mythology of Mahayana Buddhism, the Buddha's spiritual authority derives from the Earth Deity.

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A Full Uncut Sheet of Camel Path Leaflets

Since the Cambodian operation was highly secret they called the PSYOP “Camel Path.” The Camel Path leaflets were all printed at the same time and not mixed with other leaflets for Vietnam proper. On this sheet I see CP-03A, CP-05A, CP-06A, CP-08A, CP-09, CP-55A, CP-1387A, and R-2. This is an interesting mix. The seven “A” leaflets all seem to be “additional,” or leaflets that bear some text or images in common with leaflets to Vietnam. So even though these were classified secret, apparently they stole much of the propaganda from standard leaflets for Vietnam. The R-2 is even more interesting. It is a scrap leaflet designed to fill in an empty place on the sheet so the printers get full value out of every sheet.

To give an example of the way the leaflets were prepared and dropped I note from a leaflet order sent to the 7th group for a mix of six Camel Path leaflets ordered in November 1967 for dissemination in January 1968. The leaflets are CP-02, 08A, 09, 10, 55A, and 1389A. All are black and white and sized 3 x 6-inches. 5 million of each was ordered. They would be placed in a mix and dropped together. The leaflets were forwarded to the respective PSYOP units stationed in the I, II and III Corps areas. 15,000,000 were for 245th PSYOP Company in Pleiku, 10,000,000 for the 246th PSYOP Company in Bien Hoa and 5,000,000 for 19th PSYOP Company Can Tho.

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A Sheet of Leaflets with Cambodian Codes

Since there were no Americans in Cambodia it made sense to prepare leaflets for the Cambodians that seemed to be from them. This sheet depicts leaflets numbered 1 to 5. The first leaflet mentions Nong Suon the leader of the Khmer Rouge and lol Nol. The second claims that the people of Phnom Penh have chased away the Khmer Rouge. The third shows the government air force and brags that the government forces are pure Cambodians while the NVA and VC are pagans that paint their teeth black. The fourth shows pictures of dead VC killed by the Cambodian government forces. The fifth and final leaflet of this mix says that Cambodia is now a Republic and the home of all real Cambodians. This is an interesting grouping with a lot of pure race propaganda and a lot of anti-Vietnamese racial insults about black teeth and such. You can see that the Cambodians were allowed to use their own text and concepts in these leaflets prepared by the 7th PSYOP Group.

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Propaganda Miniature Radios

The Group spent about $200,000 to purchase 67,000 pocket-size battery-operated radios to be distributed in rural areas. The 7th PSYOP Group billed about $250,000 for printing support to Cambodia. Both of these payments were from the Pacific Command Psychological Operations Fund. The United States gave about $70,000 to radio Cambodia, mostly parts and equipment. It also loaned a 10 kilowatt portable transmitter to improve the medium wave signal.

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Leaflet 3791

In May 1970, the U.S. and South Vietnam entered Cambodia. During that “incursion” there was an entire series of Allied leaflets entitled “Communist Cadre and Soldiers in Cambodia.” The language of the leaflets was Vietnamese and the theme was to undermine the North Vietnamese Army’s willingness to fight. In every case there is a statement that “JUSPAO will produce 13 sets of glossy prints of this leaflet…to be used for mass printing.” All of the leaflets depict a scene of captured weapons on the front and the text:

Your weapon caches are now in our hands.

In all cases, the back is all text. Some examples are:

Leaflet 3788 was printed in May 1970 and depicts two photographs of weapons and ammunition piled on the ground. The text on the back tells the North Vietnamese that there so-called “sanctuaries” in Cambodian territory are being attacked and destroyed by combined Vietnamese-American forces.

Leaflet 3789 was printed in May 1970 and depicts a soldier kneeling over a cache of mortar rounds. The text on the back tells the North Vietnamese that for many years they were able to hide in Cambodia but now everything has been destroyed. It says that South Vietnam now has all the weapons that the North Vietnamese were unable to carry in their attempt to escape.

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Leaflet A313

Some leaflets were in Vietnamese because the Vietnamese were known to be hiding in Cambodia. Others were in Cambodian for the people and the Khmer Rouge. This all-text leaflet is in Vietnamese on one side and Cambodian on the other. The text is:

Do you happen to know,

Who tries to seduce the youth to leave their families and follow the criminal path; robbing and killing people without shame?

The Cambodian Fighting Front which is the National Liberation Front in the South.

Countrymen, you have to advise your brothers and sons to be on guard.

Don’t get trapped by the Cambodian Fighting Front.

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Propaganda Booklet Published on the 16th National Day of the Republic of China
Nationalist Chinese soldier watches the Mainland from the island of Quemoy

Taiwan Detachment – Taipei, Taiwan. It provided PSYOP support and advice to Military Assistance Advisory Group China. It pre-tested PSYOP material for the 7th PSYOP Group. It collected PSYOP intelligence through Chinese sources and it planned combined exercises for U.S. and Chinese forces on Taipei. One such exercise called “Forward Thrust” was a war game taking place in a fictitious country and nine 7th PSYOP Group personnel were attached to support the exercise. The Group printed no specific items for Taiwan and was more involved in teaching, training and advice.

During the Cold War the American government constantly worried about the morale of the Nationalist Chinese and their willingness to carry on the fight against Communism. They regularly studied both Taiwan and Mainland China and a number of reports were written by the Central Intelligence Agency, mostly stating that it did not believe China would attack Taiwan as long as the United States offered naval and air protection. Other studies attempted to discern how the loss of the smaller islands would affect Taiwan. A 1955 CIA report entitled Morale on Taiwan says in part:

The islands of Quemoy and Matsu are so important in the eyes of the Nationalists that their loss during the current crisis would be a severe blow to the morale…The effect would be considerably greater if the islands fell to Communist attack, especially if U.S. forces were involved…We believe that they would continue resistance to Communist pressure as long as they have confidence in the determination and ability of the U.S. to defend Taiwan.

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English-Chinese Political Warfare Terms Handbook

The 7th PSYOP Group Detachment working with the Nationalist Chinese helped to produce a booklet that showed all the important PSYOP terms in both English and Chinese. The introduction says:

To meet the requirement for a Chinese-English translation of political warfare writings and publications and to improve the mutual understanding between the Republic of China Armed Forces and their counterparts in other friendly nations, we have done our best to collect the maximum number of POLWAR terms and expressions for this handbook…Many thanks are particularly extended to Colonel Harold F. Bentz, Commanding Officer of the 7th PSYOP Group, U.S. Army.

Pocket Calendar

I have depicted many calendars in this article. As I often mention, calendars are looked at daily and if the owner generally will see the 7th PSYOP Group propaganda message every time. This pocket calendar for Taiwan was printed for the year 1971. On the back is a propaganda message in gold gilt on a red background:

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The Nationalist Chinese regularly sent various gifts and trinkets to mainland China by balloon. We depict one of their propaganda bookmarks above. A bookmark is a strip or band of some material, such as paper, leather or ribbon, put between the pages of a book to mark a place. Psychological operators have used it on numerous occasions to carry their propaganda messages because the bookmarks tend to be saved and placed in a book and every time the reader opens the book the message is the first thing that is seen. PSYOP Bookmarks have been used in Vietnam, Korea and by the Nationalist Chinese on Taiwan. The text is:

Our leader is the anti-Communist, Russia-resisting, prescient Great Thinker.

(Issued May 20, 1954)

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Souvenir Booklet for the 7th PSYOP Group

The 7th PSYOP Group sent officers to Taiwan on several occasions to help them with their balloon launches against the Chinese Mainland. In return, the Nationalists sent the Group souvenir booklets containing samples of their latest leaflets.

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Propaganda Envelope

This colorful envelope depicts an artillery round, a loudspeaker, balloons, gift items to go in a float and leaflets. Each of these was used to disseminate Nationalist Chinese propaganda. The envelope contained eleven Nationalist Chinese leaflets. This was another gift pack for Group members. At the left of the envelope there is a radio antenna and the text:



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51111500 - Marriage

Many of the Taiwan leaflets depict young people getting married. This seems to be a favorite theme of the Nationalists and one wonders if the Mainland Chinese were tempted to defect to Taiwan to find love and romance. The text on the front tells of the marriage of Li Caiwang to his wife is named Xue Xunrong. The flyer is intended to show yet another benefit of defecting to Taiwan!


Something from the People’s Republic of China
A 1971 Pocket Calendar

This very handsome plastic laminated pocket calendar was found in the files of the 7th Group without explanation. It has gold text on a bright red background. The size and color remind one of Mao’s “Little Red Book.” I assumed it was a Group product with propaganda against the PRC. Instead, it turns out to be a very famous poem by Chairman Mao Tse-tung on the event of the Liberation of the City of Nanjing, Chiang Kai-shek‘s temporary Capital City of the Republic of China on 23 April 1949. Why did the Group file it? Was it something sent by the PRC to Taiwan by balloon? That is a distinct possibility since someone wrote on the back in Chinese five printed characters that read: Bandit Pseudo-Government propaganda. This would seem to be the wording used by the Taiwan Kuomintang (Nationalists). My translator believes it was ballooned from mainland China to Taiwan. Perhaps the 7th Group team in Taiwan brought it back to Okinawa.

Or, was it carried by a Chinese "volunteers" helping to keep the Ho Chi Minh Trail open in Vietnam? Was it just for research, or did the 7th PSYOP Group plan to reprint it and change a few words to embarrass Mao and show the Chinese guilty of secretly sending troops to Vietnam where they might be killed? In the past they had taken a Tet Holiday greeting from Ho Chi Minh and reproduced it with a different text. We will never know. It was just there at the bottom of a file box and I just depict it here. The poem is:

The People's Liberation Army Captures Nanjing

Over Zhongshan swept a storm, headlong,
Our mighty army, a million strong, has crossed the Great River.
The City, a tiger crouching, a dragon curling, outshines its ancient glories;
In heroic triumph heaven and earth have been overturned.
With power and to spare we must pursue the tottering foe
And not ape Xiang Yu the conqueror seeking idle fame.
Were Nature sentient, she too would pass from youth to age,
But Man's world is mutable, seas become mulberry fields.

Operation Jilli or Focus Truth

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The Classified Report on Operation Jilli

During the height of the Vietnam War the United States dropped millions of propaganda leaflets over the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong enemy. This was a “white” operation and above board. At the same time, a “black” operation was quietly taking place. Some of the aircraft taking off from the air bases in Okinawa headed straight for Vietnam; others secretly veered off and dropped their leaflets on North Korea. The reader can find a complete discussion of this operation in my JILLI article. The operation was first known as Jilli (“Truth” in Korean), later changed to Focus Truth.

The Report on Operation Jilli was declassified in 1979. It mentioned the 7th PSYOP Group and the way the leaflets were dropped:

The Vietnam War printing support requirements laid on the 7th Psychological Operations Group caused a reduction in the printing support available for Operation Jilli. In order to partially offset this reduced printing capacity, a new, smaller leaflet size was selected on a test basis. This technique produces more leaflets in less time, yields more per pound, and thus, permits increased quantities of leaflets aboard aircraft. Hence, at a time when production was curtailed, the C-130 aircraft load Jumped from 12.5 million to about 20 million leaflets. The dispersion characteristics of the smaller size leaflet are less favorable than that of previous leaflets, but this can be completely overcome by flying repeated passes. The smaller size leaflet has a much slower descent rate and allows for the launch of the mission under less favorable wind conditions than before, which is an important advantage for delivery by Republic of Korea and United States Army aircraft.

The Vietnam Archive Oral History Project interviewed former pilot and Captain John Stubbs about his missions with the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron. I have edited the interview down to a few paragraphs that specifically mentioned the leaflet missions.

The 35th squadron, which I was in, we had what was called a “leaflet mission.” Up until that time, it was only used in Korea [Jilli]. There was that cold war, and there was a lot of propaganda, the mission dictated by the Department of Defense and State Department was a leaflet mission. And I am talking about mass leaflets, ten to twelve million, on a flight. And they would go up, depending on the winds, and this was the tricky part of it, as you take off, at various levels, you would climb out and check the winds at five thousand, ten thousand, and fifteen thousand, twenty thousand whatever necessary, depending on your route. If you were on the west side of it, which most of the time you were, because of the wind, you would find out what drift you would get from the leaflets. They were, aerodynamically cut, the shape of the leaflet was rectangular, but the aspect ratio was such that it rotated instead of falling like a leaf, a hap-hazard leaf, it would go into rotation, and you could predict approximately where it was going to land, based on the winds. And the Air Force worked with the Army 7th PSYOP Group in Kadena, they developed the information, and did the printing of the leaflets. And the physiological people in the Air Force at Kadena, modified for each mission they had put together supplementary oxygen system and installed it on the C-130 in the back. So, you could accommodate up to, I think it was up to six or eight additional people on the oxygen system. If the winds were such, and they usually were up there, that you had to drop from above ten thousand feet, everyone had to be on oxygen, because you were unpressurized.

They packed the leaflets in cartons of about forty-eight or fifty thousand per carton. And the cardboard boxes, and each box had a static line that the load master would connect to the static line cable, and the airplane was loaded with about ten million or ten, eleven or twelve, depending on the information that they wanted, and the density they wanted. There was a minimum density of eight thousand leaflets per square mile based on wind predictions. If it were less than that you did not drop; if it were more than that of course you could. The oxygen system was installed, you had feeders who would physically take the boxes, put them in position, and roll them back to the load master for the kickers. They put together a timing device with a light to blink so you could set the interval by seconds, or up to I think thirty, forty-five seconds to a minute, something like that. And depending on there again, depending on the density, how often you would have to kick one out, to get that density. That was calculated by the navigator on the C-130.

The physiological people flew on the airplane, with the 130 crew, and the kickers, and feeders, to monitor the oxygen and the physical condition of the people when they were working. Because working at twenty thousand feet or twenty-five thousand feet, unpressurized, is a lot more tiring that it would be at sea level, and if you have any problem, you will never know it until somebody passes out. So, they were there to constantly monitor the people. Army always had an observer on board. So that essentially was the mission of the 35th.

It changed a little bit in ‘68 when the Pueblo was captured. And then they restricted the mission to the “offshore, high wind only,” and kind of limited that, but that same technique was used in Vietnam. And that was the mission that we conducted, on a mission called “Frantic Goat.” [The leafleting of North Vietnam]. Why they picked that, I do not know but that was it. But that mission originated in Okinawa. We would leave Okinawa with a load of leaflets, and the physiological people, and fly to Clark and refuel, and with a load you could not make it all the way to Thailand because the 130 was limited in weight, the A model was. And then from Clark we would go on to Ubon, Thailand. It was every Tuesday night and every Wednesday night we had to be over the target at nine o’clock, and we would send to headquarters, “please vary the time over the target.” I mean they are going to be sitting there waiting for us, and then that is not a comfortable feeling. So, it took about two or three months before we finally got them to change from nine o’clock in the evening to some other time. The leaflet mission dropped over two billion leaflets in North Korea and North Vietnam.

PSYOP Intelligence Notes

How were the leaflets prepared? Where did the 7th PSYOP Group get their information? They prepared several publications after interrogation of defectors crossing the border from the north. They would ask about the prices of items, the quality of items, what was working and what was not. That information was published in PSYOP Intelligence Notes and Topical Reports. These publications could have as little as one page rarely, two pages was more common, and in some cases as many as 51 pages. PSYOP Intelligence Notes had subjects like: Restaurants in Pyongyang; Economic goals; The reactions of North Korea to psychological operations; Surveillance of restaurants in North Korea; Food prohibition in North Korea, Food in rural North Korea; More protein sources, and More food variety. Knowing the problems and current events in North Korea tells the PSYOP troops what themes to write about. It is clear from the above titles that food seemed to be a major title and we can assume that many leaflets spoke of the wonderful and bountiful food in South Korea and showed happy eaters in restaurants with the table covered with delicacies.

PSYOP Intelligence notes, 3 December 1968, explains in more depth:

Psychological Operations research and analysis entails three major functions: analysis of the target area; propaganda analysis; and evaluation of PSYOP media output through pre-testing and post-testing, and determinations of reactions of inhabitants of the target area. PSYOP research and analysis has information requirements which are different from that of combat and tactical intelligence. Briefly, PSYOP intelligence research analysis needs to know what it is like to live in the target area, about all aspects of life there so that PSYOP media output (leaflets, radio broadcasts, loudspeaker broadcasts, and so forth) can be developed which are suitable for the target area. This approach requires a large amount of detailed information about the life patterns and living conditions of people in various occupations and social levels in the target area.

Topical Reports

Topical Reports usually are two pages, sometimes more. These were prepared by the 7th PSYOP Group to be used as reference when producing leaflets to use against North Korea. They tell of what is going on in North Korea from defector interrogations. The data is then made available to PSYOP. Some of the titles are: Economic goals; The North Korean potato output; What local North Korean areas need; Changes in food production; The question of food; More protein sources; Raw materials; and More food variety. The 7th Group needed to understand what was always going on in North Korea.

Operating Instructions: PSYOP for North Korea

On 21 November 1968, the 7th PSYOP Group published a 16-page guide on methods for propagandizing North Korea. The purpose of these instructions is to provide guidance to end prescribe responsibilities for subordinate detachments of the 7th PSYOP Group for the conduct of day-to-day PSYOP directed to North Korea in support of the PSYOP Program. It states that the mission is the Group, on a continuous basis, will conduct PSYOP which is directed to the North Korean military forces and civilian population, and which is designed to fulfill psychological objectives directed by the United Nations Command and the United States Forces – Korea. Under its concept of operation, the Group will continue to rely upon the Korea Detachment and the 15th PSYOP Detachment to develop PSYOP for North Korea. Two principal media—radio and visual media—will be employed by these operational detachments in conducting PSYOP to the North Korean audience. In developing media output in support of the campaign, to apply PSYOP actively against North Korea, exploit themes presented below at every opportunity, provided the situation warrants such exploitation.

There were 15 major and numerous minor themes to be exploited. Some of them are:

Explain to the North Korean populace the advantages they will have if they were to defect to the South. Target potential defectors.
Convince the targeted group that living in the free society in the South is worth the risk of defecting.
Target North Korean agents and exploit the psychological pressure they face when infiltrating the South.
Explain the illegal nature of North Korean activities along the DMZ.
Demonstrate the economic achievements of the Republic of Korea to the people of the North.
Convince the North that the Republic of Korea is militarily strong and armed with modern weapons.
Convince the North that “one man rule” is the reason for their problems and should be changed.
Convince the North that they will never reach production goals if they waste money on a needless military buildup.
Show how young industries in the ROK are thriving and producing domestic commodities for the people.
The US/ROK Mutual Defense Treaty is a Joint defense pact to preserve peace in Korea.
The US has exemplified herself in honoring commitments in Vietnam, Thailand, Europe, and Korea.
The ROK armed forces with allied support constitute a powerful deterrent force to renewed aggression.
Purges are a constant threat to the security and wellbeing of all Party members in the North Korean regime.
Political indoctrination is added to an already long duty day.
Sons and husbands conscripted into long military service leave wives and mothers, who in their absence, must take over all the work.
Economic progress cannot be achieved so long as it is hampered by a large military buildup.
If North Korean farming methods are so progressive, then why is rice so severely rationed?

North Korean Propaganda – Themes and Tactics

This March 1966, 23-page research report by the United States Information Agency identifies the principal characteristic of North Korean Propaganda. It identifies five major themes:

The rewards of the Communist form of government.
Reunification of the North and South.
The criminal activities of South Korean President Pak Chung-hui.
The United States “Imperialistic” meddling in Korean affairs.
Japan’s aggressive designs in Korea and East Asia.

Each of the themes has several pages of documentation. About anti-Americanism, the report quotes an article from the Minju Choson of 24 July 1965:

The American way of life is the most shameless and degenerate way of life of the ugliest, most bare-faced, and bestial cannibals with no precedent in the East and West and is an ideological-moral weapon to ensure the exploitation and plunder by the monopoly capitalists and the annihilation of the working people and small nations which are weak politically and economically.

7th PSYOP Group 20 March 1968 Report on North Korean Propaganda

A 1968 17-page 7th PSYOP Group report entitled North Korean Propaganda adds:

North Korea uses from 10 to 12 different transmitters and is on the air at almost any hour during the day. North Korea has better equipment. The North Korean Central Broadcasting Company, Radio Pyongyang, is thought to have a main station at least 500 kilowatts. The Voice of the United Nations is 50 kilowatts. They produce many slick illustrated magazines like “Korea Today,” “Korean Youth and Students,” and a large publication called “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” In addition, they publish an English-language newspaper called the “Pyongyang Times.”

North Korean propaganda is devoted to the principle that one hundred repetitions is a good beginning. To the Westerner, North Korean propaganda sounds boring, repetitive, totally immersed in broad irresponsible generalizations, and replete with many falsehoods.

North Korea prints leaflets which it infiltrates into the Republic of Korea by balloon. It also tries to infiltrate propaganda in the Republic of Korea using Japanese, American and other magazines. The propaganda is inserted into these magazines and sent into South Korea through the mails.

North Korea in its propaganda uses the direct lie. They claim to have won the Korean War. As the North Korean’s put it, “we gave the U.S. Imperialists their first taste of defeat.” They used to credit the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army for helping win that war, but now using the lie technique they claim that they alone defeated the U.S. Imperialists.

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A C-130 Fully Loaded and on its way for a Jilli Leaflet Drop

Then Major Dave Underhill
Notice his flight crew wings from leaflet drops and his parachute wings.

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Underhill was a member of the 7th PSYOP Group stationed on Okinawa during the Vietnam War. He did psychological operations in both Vietnam and in North Korea in what was at the time the top secret Operation Jilli. He had previously attended the Advanced Infantry Course at Fort Benning followed by a tour at the PSYOP Directorate of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. He told me about his PSYOP missions during his 30-month tour from 1964 and 1966:

We had two C-47's on call at Suwon Air Base (K-13) in Korea. The C-47 aircraft originally flew along the DMZ with side-looking radar monitoring activities.They were loaned to us for use in dropping leaflets. The camera port was removed and a chute installed for dropping leaflets. The Air Force loved the mission. We would load the aircraft with 3000 pounds (about a million and a half leaflets once we arrived at the best leaflet size, paper weight and aerodynamics for the mission). We would climb to 15,000 feet. We went on oxygen with a personal tank for each crewman beginning at 12,000 feet. This unit later received the Air Force Outstanding Award. The citation mentioned Special Airlift missions. I was officially attached to the unit on flight status.I wear the unit award as a permanent award.

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A Filled Jilli Leaflet Box ready to be dropped over North Korea

I asked for a C-130 my first year on Okinawa and everyone told me I would never get a big bird for a PSYOP mission. Using my formulas, I was able to plan leaflet missions very successfully and plotted winds-aloft forecasts for the C-47s on the proposed C-130 routes. After the brass saw the accuracy of the drops my second year they gave me one C-130. Prior to the beginning of the favorable weather season (generally Mid-April to late September); I used the mission weather reports to plot drops from 25,000 feet. My Intelligence Sergeant and I both attended the Air Force's Physiological Training School (High Altitude School). From the very first mission in 1964, I would submit an after-action report with projected coverage overlaid on a map of North Korea. I did the same on South East Asia maps for missions there. The projected increase in penetration into North Korea, and the vastly increase in area coverage made the decision for the use of a C-30 a no-brainer. By my third year they gave me two dedicated C-130 aircraft that were stationed at Kadena Airbase, Okinawa for missions in Vietnam and Laos. These aircraft often had propositioned leaflet loads.

A member of the 7th PSYOP Group takes a moment to read a leaflet as he prepares the leaflet boxes on Okinawa. I thought it interesting that on the wall directly in front of the soldier there is a poster showing him step-by-step how to prepare the box. They needed to be prepared just right to open properly.

The prepositioned leaflets for North Korea were of a strategic and not a tactical nature. It was all appropriate to the day-to-day activities of the North Korean target audience. Material would be developed months in advance for the following year's seasonal operation. Near the end, we even had PSYOP at Fort Bragg print and ship leaflets to us. As the program continued, we were also printing in support of Vietnam operations. The nice thing about a strategic operation is the fact the target is the total population of the country. The content was mostly pro-South Korea and pro-United Nations. We put forth, mostly in pictures, the economic, political, and social prosperity and progress occurring South Korea.

The straps that will pull the leaflet box apart are carefully placed in the optimum position to assure that the box will break easily and release the leaflets. If done incorrectly, the box will plummet to the ground and the leaflets will not be spread over the target area. The box is rolled out of the aircraft, and as the container comes to the end of the static line, the sides of the box split. In effect, the box is turned inside out, and the leaflets fall away followed by the empty box.

I was on 24-hour call for favorable weather forecast periods. I had a very high telephone precedent authorization called “Flash.” As I recall the priorities were Routine, Priority, Immediate and Flash. I normally notified the duty officer when I went to the movie or whatever. I would be paged and went to the nearest phone where I received the weather forecast. It was always for the next four hour period. That meant that from the time I received the call, we would have to be ready to start our first pass against North Vietnam in four hours. There was no time to waste. I would call the Far East Air Force headquarters in Tokyo to arrange for an aircraft to be readied at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. I then called the operator and said I had a Flash message. Five minutes later, I had the tail number of the aircraft that was scheduled for the mission.

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A 10-Ton Leaflet Load on a C-130

Our printing plant operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and printed 100 tons a month, but we controlled the printing of an additional 900,000,000 products a month by using the Adjutant General's printing plant in Japan, and the United States Information Service Regional Service Center in Manila. They printed the high quality inflation theme North Vietnamese money leaflets. At the peak, a billion leaflets were printed each month.This included 100,000,000 National Safe Conduct Leaflets.The leaflet was my idea, and used by over 100,000 Vietnamese.

Based on the nature of the content, we were able to stock up with leaflets. When they authorized a second C-130 for 1966, I proposed we stock leaflets at Suwon (K-13) where our C-47 aircraft were based. We could rig the boxes for C-130 dissemination. After dropping a load launched from Okinawa, we could land at K-13, load, and drop another 10,000,000 leaflets. We were primed and ready to go in 1966.

The leaflet box is released and breaks up perfectly leaving the leaflets free and ready to spread over the target area.  

In 1966, we began to launch two C-130s from Okinawa against North Korea. They could drop their leaflets, land and disperse two more loads from our prepositioned stock. Forty million leaflets in under three hours. We had a Captain in Korea on temporary duty at the time, and I asked him to stop by 8th Army G-2 (Intelligence) and see if we were getting any reaction out of North Korea. He walked in and found the place in an uproar. He asked in a loud voice, “Are you guys getting any reaction out of north Korea?” He said you could have heard a pin drop.North Korea was on full military alert, and was moving troops. He left content with the knowledge that the regime was reacting to our leaflet drops.

The leaflets used in the initial missions were designed and laid out by me. We had no in-house capability on Okinawa. Graphics for our magazine publications were done in our Japan Detachment. Eventually, we developed a capability in the Korean Detachment. At some point a Korean Army Non-Commissioned Officer joined the team from the Army of the Republic of Korea PSYOP. Later, when his enlistment was up, we hired him and he ran our leaflet development. We ran a photographic contest looking for good images, and one individual was so good and his pictures so classic that we hired him too.

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Leaflets Disseminated from the back of a C-130

We learned the most efficient way of loading the aircraft. The floor of the C-130 Hercules was covered with rollers on both sides. The boxes were stood on end. They were too fragile to stack. They were loaded by the aircraft crew, including me. The aircraft would fly at 120-130 knots in a nose-high attitude. The leaflets were stacked one on top of another against the webbing wrapped around the leaflet box. The idea was to have the leaflets spill out the four corners as the box gives way. The early boxes resulted in too much of the weight ending up on the crossed webbing. We later used a much flatter and wider based bottom that carried about 135 pounds of leaflets. We carried ten tons in all, or about a million leaflets a ton per mission. Later in the program, we used a smaller leaflet on 13 pound paper for deeper drift, and greater density on the ground. On these missions, we carried 16,000,000 leaflets.

We still occasionally had a static line snap, until we strung a webbing line across the aircraft so that the static line never hit the sharp (cutting edge) of the raised tail door. It was stopped by the webbing line across the rear just below the cutting edge of the raised door.

To keep from having to stack the boxes for deployment, we simply stood them on end to compensate for the much larger box base or bottom. The crew carried a broom handle type stick to hold the box from rolling on the rollers, and as the aircraft flew in a nose up-attitude, a box at a time was released at pre-determined intervals based on flight pass duration.

I always wanted as many passes as possible, and the aircraft commander wanted to get the hell out of as soon as possible. At most I could sometimes hope for two passes or a second partial pass depending on wind direction. The potential flight path was selected from a permanently authorized flight path that stretched from the East Coast to out over the water to a rectangular box on the west coast. We could actually disseminate while descending to permit covering close-in areas without danger of dumping leaflet into South Korea.

Underhill was awarded the Air Medal in early 1966. His award said in part:

For meritorious achievement while engaged in aerial flights against North Korea and North Vietnam during the period April 1965 through December 1965, while serving as a member of the 7th PSYOP Group…He participated in a total of 12 PSYOP missions directed against North Korea and North Vietnam. Operating in a depressurized aircraft at altitudes up to 25,000 feet, unassisted, he planned the aerial flightpath, determined the points for dissemination, selected the altitudes to be flown and areas to be targeted, singling out special areas for particular attention and determining the dissemination rate for tons of propaganda material. He accomplished these tasks with complete disregard for his personal safety…

Dave was awarded Legion of Merit awards in 1967 and 1973. In 1968 he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service while serving as Psychological Warfare Officer, Development Branch, Psychological Operations Directorate, United States Military Assistance Command-Vietnam. Some of the many comments on his recommendation for the awards are:

He was a key member of the joint U.S. Embassy – JUSPAO – USMACV Leaflet Targeting Group which selected targets and leaflets to be disseminated in each PSYWAR program. He prepared and published reference data on PSYWAR leaflet development and dissemination that materially assisted US and Vietnamese PSYOP and POLWAR advisors. He labored to reduce the cost of the PSYOP program. By reducing the book paper stock in one year he saved the government $148,000. That was significant because paper costs amount to 60-70% of printing leaflets. His study on the elimination of the dissemination of propaganda miniature radios resulted in a saving of over $2,000,000. He studied and published a listing of leaflet sizes; recommended changes in paper weights and size that were implemented by PSYOP agencies. For the first time, PSYOP units were provided with a wide range of proven delivery methods and delivery vehicles capable of penetrating and disseminating PSYOP materials into otherwise denied target areas. His classified secret study on leafleting highly defended areas of North Vietnam was presented to the 7th Air Force and eventually led to reduced risk to aircraft and crews.

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Bookmark 70-1

There were a number of bookmarks in the Korean language printed by the 7th PSYOP Group Japanese detachment. 60 copies of each 2 x 7-inch bookmark were printed on 3 June 1971 and disseminated at a later date. Bookmark 70-1 depicts a primitive Korean mask and a detailed temple roof on the front and a single line of text on the back:

Hahoe Mask

The Hahoe mask is used in traditional masque plays. This wooden mask originated from the Koryo Dynasty.

The beautiful painting of our country’s old architecture.

Wooden Chop sticks

Dave Underhill also thought about propaganda chop sticks. He said that the idea came to him in a PSYOP Conference in Hawaii:

In South Korea, we prepared some good wooden chop sticks and went around getting information about fancy restaurants with owner-marked name, hours, menu specialties, etc. The idea was to make some good wood ones with many advertisements. We knew the North Koreans could not conceive of the variety of eating establishments in South Korea. North Korea had no forests to cut down and only used plastic chop sticks which were resented by their people. We knew if we sent them into North Korea, the people would find and use the chopsticks, and everyone secretly acted as South Korean propaganda.

Some Sample Chopsticks gathered by the 7th PSYOP Group for Evaluation

The concept of propaganda chopsticks was tested on a panel of North Korean defectors and they loved the idea. The interesting part about this concept is that it is not the chopsticks that are important. It is the paper wrapping on the outside that would mention all the restaurants in South Korea. The PSYOP occurs when the people see the various ads and realize that South Korea is booming and full of restaurants offering excellent food. Bamboo is imported into North Korea from China and is rare. The people would understand that in South Korea they use them once and throw them away. The panel recommended that there should be many named restaurants, mostly from small towns written in Hangol (the Korean alphabet) and the words daejoong shiktang (restaurant for the ordinary people). A telephone number would show that telephones were common in South Korea. Any food mentioned should be Korean dishes and terms like “thank you” and “friendliness and service” should be used. All North Korean restaurants are owned by the state and the help is apathetical toward the customers. The chopsticks should be made of bamboo and they would be saved and later be used by women as knitting needles.

The panel of defectors also thought a sushi box would be a good PSYOP gift.

There was also a discussion of toys in North Korea. City people can buy poor-quality toys, but folks in the country cannot afford them. One of the panelists said he bought his child a toy helicopter for 12 won and it came apart in less than three days. Since the North Koreans are told that South Korea has nothing but foreign-made items in their stores, sending some well-made South Korean toys north would make a statement. One of the favorite toys of small children are balloons that look like frogs, ducklings, bears, dog, pigs, and the like.

When Dave Underhill moved on, he was replaced by Captain Charles V. Nahlik. He told me:

I started basically as an understudy to Dave Underhill in our small Special Projects Office of the 7th PSYOP Group.Dave was nearing the end of his tour in 1966 when I got there. I was initially in the S-3 Plans office but was asked if I wanted to become a replacement/understudy for this strange Major who specialized in dropping leaflets and timing their fall from atop the inside of our printing plant. My initial thought was this guy must really be a screwball but found out in one day how he had totally immersed himself into the "art of leaflet dropping."

He gave me a book to study about how John Hopkins University had conducted a study on dropping leaflets of various sizes and weight of paper. It was very interesting and I was hooked. I listened to his stories about leaflet operations and went to Vietnam with him in October 1966 for classes he was presenting. By this time, with several months under my belt in the office, I knew enough to help out, show people how to plot leaflet fall and to answer questions. It was a fantastic orientation for me on working with people that were doing our business in a small scale setting --- not via C-130s as we did from Okinawa.

Over the next year and a half that I was there, I gave classes in Korea at some sort of Special Forces Camp in sub-freezing conditions with no heat. I also taught the following year in warmer conditions in Taiwan, Saigon, Da Nang, Pleiku and Nha Trang, as well as on Okinawa. These ideas were basically the stuff taught in bits and pieces at Ft. Bragg plus the ideas that Dave Underhill told me about in the development of the leaflets for Operation Jilli.

The last amusing incident was teaching a plane full of Taiwanese officers. They came with their own translator/interpreter who had translated the 7th PSYOP Leaflet Book into Chinese. I would demonstrate something and then he would explain it. If I would talk for one minute, he would talk for three. He was a fantastic assistant and a great help in the hand on process of plotting. After each of the class days, they went to the PX to spend all the money the US was paying them on this trip. They did well with US paid per diem, maybe too good. They overloaded the plane and it could not lift off the runway and could not stop. It went through the fence and slid into the Ocean but did not go under water. However, the baggage area did get water in it so don't know how much of their assorted cameras and electronic items were damaged.

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The 7th PSYOP Group Banknote Leaflet disseminated over North Korea

Although hundreds of different leaflets were developed, for the purposes of this article we will just discuss those that were made to look like a North Korean Central Bank 1 won note of 1959 with the back bearing a safe conduct pass message. The banknote leaflet was coordinated through various agencies in Korea and printed by the 7th PSYOP Group Japan Detachment. The Safe Conduct Pass consisted of a faithful reproduction of a North Korean one won note. The reverse consisted of the one won note border, the Republic of Korea National Flag in full color at top center, a horizontal message indicating it was a Safe Conduct Pass to be honored by all ROK and Allied Troops at the top and bottom, and Safe Conduct Pass vertically at the left and right borders. This leaflet was coded “41” although that does not appear on the banknote. It was dropped over North Korea as part of the Cold War Operation Jilli to motivate the people to defect to the South.

The idea for using a North Korean one won note was to enable the target audience to "hide" the bill by placing it in with other bills. This would prevent detection through any casual search, but not one where it was the item of the search. The project was not coordinated with the Korean Psychological Operations Intelligence Desk. What is interesting to note is that the Americans believed the one won was such a low value note that it would be common among the North Korean farmers and workers. What they did not understand is that the North Koreans were so poor that a crisp one won note would be exceptional and rather than just hide among other notes, it would stand out and be dangerous for the North Korean farmer who was found with one. The text on the banknote is:


This Republic of Korea safe conduct certificate provides you with an opportunity for a new life. Bear in mind that your present toil will never change until the Communist regime collapses. Why should you give up your happiness? Please cross over to the South without hesitation. When you come to South Korea, this certificate will guarantee your personal safety when shown to any Republic of Korea or United Nations Command serviceman. We will warmly welcome you. You will be rewarded with money, employment, housing and freedom. Your safety is guaranteed with or without this leaflet.

KIM YONG BAE, General,
Republic of Korea Army, Chief of Staff.

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Leaflet 190

This leaflet is entering because it discusses marriage and shows that even Communist spies who come South and are caught can lead respectable lives and find love. The text is:

Wedding day of Mr. Ogiwan who is a former spy from the North

Tying the knot at the wedding ceremony in front of the wedding officer where friends and relatives from Gangsu-goon gathered.

With the wedding officer after the ceremony.

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Cold War Float to North Korea with T-Shirt and Pencils

Leaflets and items to North Korea did not come only through the air. On occasion, floats were used to bring items to the people.

Lieutenant Colonel Underhill told me:

The propaganda leaflet program directed against North Korea was the major focus of our propaganda activities. However, it was augmented with the "propaganda float." The propaganda float was simply a plastic bag with various printed media and gift items placed inside. The bag was then placed in the water where the winds and/or currents would carry it to an area or shore line where it would be discovered by North Koreans. A water borne package provides tremendous flexibility in terms of items that can be presented to the target audience. The propaganda float operation directed against North Korea was begun in 1965.

North Korean officials ignored the operation for a long time. Internally, instructions were passed by various Party officials to deal with the situation. Initially, propaganda floats were systematically prepared on an assembly line basis. This proved to be an error in judgement on my part. If someone attempted to conceal an item, North Korean authorities simply had to located one package intact, inventory it, and then round up all items that were on their inventory list. However, we introduced the technique of systematically placing items in the float package on a spotty basis. The absence of an item would not create undue suspicion when the float package reached security officials because all packages were not the same. In one such instance, on the evening of August 10, 1970, a variety of float packages were inserted into the North Korea offshore waters by the Republic of Korea Navy. The contents of these floats were not identical, which marked the first time the technique was used.

The Communists Respond

Of course, the Communists did not sit quietly as the 7th PSYOP Group continued to hammer them with leaflets. The Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo reported on 11 April 1971:

Anti-war U.S. soldier Sergeant Herschel David Poplin reveals activities of the 7th PSYOP Group. He says the unit operates under the premise of a nuclear war. He gave an anti-war group confidential data on the unit. He is currently awaiting court martial for AWOL. He wanted to charge three senior officers with war crimes. He also charged Japan with guilt for helping the Group. He claimed the unit was gathering information on Laos, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, South and North Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and Vietnam. Some of his statements were apparently reported also by the Japanese Communist Party Newspaper "Red Flag."

I got a kick out of this left-leaning soldier wanting to court martial senior officers. His statement about all the countries being watched was absolutely right. That was their mission. They were tasked to gather information and make recommendations on all the nations in their general area of responsibility.

The 7th Psychological Operations Group was inactivated 30 June 1974 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Redesignated 30 October 1975 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 7th Psychological Operations Group; concurrently withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and activated at the Presidio of San Francisco, California. It was reorganized and redesignated 18 September 1990 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th Psychological Operations Group. The location changed 15 September 1994 to Moffett Field, California.

Balloon Training Operations - 2011

We have told the reader how the 7th Group first sent balloons, and later dropped leaflets on North Korea in the 1960s. The U.S. Coalition again used leaflets during Operation Desert Shield before the shooting phase of Operation Desert Storm. Here, on 25 June 2011, Sergeant First Class Evan C. Paulsen deploys leaflets as part of a training exercise as a member of the 7th Psychological Operations Group at Moffett Field in San Jose, California.

Within the psychological operations battalions, there are a number of tactical psychological operations companies. Such companies are organized in the same manner as other Tactical Psychological Operations Companies Army wide. It consists of a Headquarters Section, a Tactical PSYOP Development Detachment or TPDD and three Tactical PSYOP Detachments or TPD. The TPDD focuses on Product Development and Target Audience Analysis while the TPD usually focuses on product distribution, face to face engagement with a given target audience and loudspeaker operations.


The 7th PSYOP Group had several members in Syria during the battle against ISIS. These leaflets were sent to me by the Military Information Support Task Force – Central Command, augmented by Headquarters, 7th PSYOP Group. Captain Danny Surbeck was the S3 (Operations) and Colonel Tony Paz was the Commander. The timeframe was 2016-2017 and the task force was based out of Qatar.

Iraqi Citizens killed by Daesh.

I am always happy when I find an anti-ISIS leaflet in English. Of course, this would be a file copy, or one shown to pilots, so they know what they are dropping on the enemy, but it saves me a lot of time translating and typing. This leaflet talks about the number of people murdered by ISIS in various ways, and of course asks the citizens to call with any information they might have about the terrorists.

Abu Yusr al-Masri

This English-language leaflet tells the story on a patriot who thought he was joining the civil war against President Assad in Stria. Instead, he found himself a member of ISIS terrorizing civilians. The back mentions another good Muslim Abu Ibrahim, who joined Isis to live under strict Islamic law and help the people. Instead, he found cruelty, barbarism, and murder.

Every Oppressor has an End

This leaflet depicts an AK-47 with some ISIS propaganda on the stock, and the hand of the dead terrorist who used that weapon to terrorize and kill those people that he considered his enemy.

An anti-ISIS cartoon leaflet

This leaflet is an interesting three panel comic strip. It depicts four ISIS fighters in wrecked building talking to each other as they fight. I believe it comes from Iraq. The text is very small, and my translator had a tough time with it.

The back of the leaflet is all text, a good deal larger in stark black and white:

You are not alone in the battle against the unfair treatment and injustice of ISIS.
There are many among you who feel the same injustice. Coalition forces support you in this battle to take back your freedom.
Discuss the matter with your friends and family and unite together.

Recent Deployment History

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10th Psychological Operations Battalion (POB) St. Louis, Missouri

TF-10 deployed to Iraq as an organic USAR Battalion in 2007, part of OIF V. Supported 25 Infantry Division and 10 Mountain Division.

Deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. 307th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU)  St. Louis, Missouri 1. Supported 3rd MEF.

Deployed to Iraq in 2004, supported 1st CAV and 3rd ID, Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Deployed to Iraq in 2007, Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF 2007-2008).

Detachment 1020 deployed with Task Force 10, supported 2nd Infantry Division and 1/504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Baghdad, Iraq.

Deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF 10-12).

Detachment 1010 supported 1-506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division in Paktika Province Sharana.


308th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Belton, Missouri

Deployed to Iraq in 2007.

Deployed to Iraq in 2010. (Two detachments with the 17th Psychological Operations Battalion).

Deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. (One detachment with 17th Psychological Operations Battalion)

318th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU)   St. Louis, Missouri

Deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1991 (as the 18th PSYOP CO (TAC)(DS)) in support of Desert Shield/Storm. Attached to 1st Infantry Divison.

Deployed to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1. Attached to 101st Airborne Division.

Deployed to Iraq in 2007.

Deployed to Afghanistan in 2009

362nd Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) - Bentonville, Arkansas

Deployed to Iraq in support of OIF 2003.

Deployed to Iraq in support of OIF 2004-05.

Deployed to Afghanistan in support of OEF 2006-07.

Deployed to Iraq in support of OIF 2009-10.

Moved from 16th POB to 10th POB in 2009

Deployed to Djibouti in 2012-2013


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12th Psychological Operations Bn  (POB) - Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

On 15 November 2005, a five-man team from the 12th PSYOP Battalion of the 7th PSYOP Group deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, to conduct a Pre-deployment Site Survey for their upcoming deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 06-08.

The purpose was to confirm what equipment and facilities were in-country, what the current unit utilizes during their operations and what they will return with, and to identify any equipment and/or training shortfalls the new command might have prior to deploying. On arriving at Bagram, the Pre-deployment Site Survey party linked up with the 362nd Tactical PSYOP Company (TPC) of the 10th PSYOP Battalion. After receiving a brief overview from the 362nd TPC Commander the survey party broke off in groups to conduct observations and surveys of the 362nd TPC.

On 22 November 2005, the Battalion Commander was ordered to Kabul to meet with the Joint PSYOP Task Force (JPOTF) and to survey their work environment. It was also decided that the main body was to return to CONUS as soon as possible since air movement is not reliable in-country.

A 2006 Billboard for Afghanistan

The Psychological Operations Task Force
Six Month Statistics from 14 April 2006 to 18 October 2006:

31 leaflets drop missions.
8,240,000 total leaflets dropped. *
* Based on .24 cents per leaflet on order of 100,000, $14,000 per 500,000 leaflets.

15 Medical Civic Action (MEDCAP) and Veterinarian Civic Action (Vetcap) total missions.
7223 Total patients.

Products created from 14 April 2006 to 18 October 2006:

12 Billboards.
1 Decal.
51 Handbills.
6 Leaflets.
23 Posters
537 Radio scripts.
77 Print articles.

Products Ordered and Disseminated

25 billboards.
577,500 stickers.
2,945,500 handbills.
8,444,050 leaflets.
575,150 posters.
26,000 pamphlets.
10,000 business cards.
31,400 information cards.
45,000 Ramadan cards.
287,000 Peace newspapers.
116,000 International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) papers.

Novelty Products Disseminated

3,000 soccer balls.
10,400 school bags.
10,400 colored pencils, packs of ten.
10,400 pens, packs of ten.
10,400 notebooks.
5,000 erasers, packs of ten.
1,000 Qurans.
10,000 prayer rugs.
2,425 Afghanistan flags.

320th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Portland, Oregon

Deployed to Afghanistan in 2004.

Deployed to Iraq in 2008.

Deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.

Deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Horn of Africa in 2020

SSG Elliot Arnes, Team Leader , 320th Psychological Operations Support Element, U.S. Army Africa (USARAF), briefs Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOF) foreign liaison officers from France, Italy, Japan and South Korea on PSYOP's Print Shop capabilities at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, on July 28, 2020. The tour is part of a large effort to inform U.S. coalition partners of the capabilities CJTF-HOA has available in sipport of security efforts throughout the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Murakami)

324th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Aurora, Colorado

Deployed to Iraq in 2004 during the second year of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF3). Awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Operation Iraqi Freedom(OIF 2005-06). Awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Deployed to Iraq in 2007 during the fifth year of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF 2007-08).

Deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 during the eighth year of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF 2007-08). In 2010, deployed to Afghanistan (in support of Marine Expeditionary Forces), Bahrain and the Horn of Africa under Operation Enduring Freedom.

Currently deployed to Afghanistan under OEF XII with 1st Cavalry Division and the 172nd Infantry Brigade.

Moved to 12th PSYOP BN from 14th PSYOP BN in 2009.

349th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Aurora, Colorado 

Deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.

U.S. Army Cpl. Melissa Williams, right, with the 349th Psychological Operations Company speaks through an interpreter to an Afghan woman discussing future women's shuras at the Garm Ser District Civic Center in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 24, 2012. Members of the 349th were at the center for a regular meeting with district government officials. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Martin)

U.S. Army Sgt. Aaron Schrader, left, with the 349th Psychological Operations Company meets with District Communications Adviser Matiulah at the Garm Ser District Civic Center, Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 24, 2012. Members of the 349th provide guidance to members of the district government to help increase the efficiency of government operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Martin)  

361st Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Bothell, Washington

Deployed to Bosnia in 2000, part of the Stabilization Force 7 (SFOR 7) peace-keeping mission in support of 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment.

Deployed TPD 1270 (15 personnel) to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1 in support of 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment Al Anbar Province. They received Valorous Unit Award.

Deployed TPD 1280 (15 personnel) to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1 in support of 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment Baghdad, Iraq. They received Presidential Unit Citation.

Cross-leveled 11 personnel to 320th PSYOP Company to support their 2004 Afghanistan deployment.

Deployed TPD 1290 to Iraq in September 2004 in support of 1-25 Infantry Stryker Brigade operations in Mosul, Iraq during OIF 3. One member of the detachment was wounded and evacuated from Iraq during fighting in Tal Afar in early 2005. They received Valorous Unit Award.

Deployed to Iraq in 2008.

Deployed to Afghanistan part of OEF 2012-13.

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14th Psychological Operations Battalion (POB) – Mountain View, California

301st Tactical Psychological Operations Company (Airborne) (TPU) San Diego, California

Deployed to Iraq 2003-2004 (1st Reserve Psyop Company on the ground in OIF 1).

304th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Sacramento, California

Deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 to 2004.

Deployed to Iraq in 2005 to 2006.

Deployed to Iraq in 2008 to 2009.

Deployed to Iraq in 2011.

315th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Upland, California

Deployed to Kosovo in 2000, part of Task Force Falcon. Supported 1st Armored Division.

Deployed to Iraq in 2003, part of OIF 1. Supported 3d ID and 1st Armored Division.

In 2006, the 315th Tactical PSYOP Company was attached to the 12th PSYOP Battalion and deployed to Afghanistan. It had 11 Tactical PSYOP Teams and 3 Tactical PSYOP Detachments in support of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division and Special Forces units. They had the following capabilities:

Printed products – Handbills, leaflets, posters, pamphlets, stickers, banners, billboards, coming books, etc.
Audio/Visual – Loudspeakers, radio scripts, aerial broadcast scripts, DVD/VCD.
Dissemination – Leaflet drops, aerial broadcasting, radio.
Tactical PSYOP Teams – Face-to-face, product dissemination, vehicle and dismounted loudspeakers.

A 2006 Loudspeaker Mission

Some additional more-detailed information on the 2006 deployment was in a document called Psychological Task Force – Afghanistan. Some of the data included the following:

Deployed to Iraq in 2008.

353rd Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) Las Vegas, Nevada

Activated 2010.

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17th Psychological Operations Battalion (POB) Austin, Texas

Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010 to 2011.

TPD 1720 was deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006. It took part in the Battle of Tal Afar receiving a Meritorious Unit Commendation and Valorous Unit Award for their action.

TPD 1640 was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007-2008 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. One soldier from the detachment during the tour. Sergeant Charles B. Kitowski was killed in action.

341st Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPU) San Antonio, Texas

344th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (Airborne) (TPU) Austin, Texas

345th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (Airborne) (TPU) Lewisville, Texas

Deployed to Afghanistan part of OEF in 2001.

399th Tactical Psychological Operations Company ( TPU) San Marcos, Texas


7th PSYOP Group Awards and Decorations

Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for PACIFIC AREA 1965-1967

Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for PACIFIC AREA 1967-1968

Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for PACIFIC AREA 1968-1970

Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for PACIFIC AREA 1972-1973

In Memorial

Colonel David Underhil

On 15 January 2022, I was informed by Kazuko Underhill that her husband, former Colonel David Underhill had passed away at 0430 that morning. He was the father of Leafleting, author of the Low, Medium, and High-Altitude Leaflet Dissemination Guide, and a major reference source to Robert W. Chandler’s War of ideas: The US propaganda campaign in Vietnam. He was a brilliant propagandist, a PSYOP giant who helped train the National Chinese Army in balloon tactics, and later was a major part of the propaganda war against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, and the secret Jilli or Focus Truth leaflet operations against the North Koreans during the Cold War.

Dave was awarded a Bronze Star, Air Medal, and two Legion of Merit awards for his service while serving as Psychological Warfare Officer. He took part in the design of the first official safe conduct pass of Vietnam and through his research and testing made the 6 x 3-inch leaflet the standard size used in Vietnam because of its predictability and accuracy. He once told me, “I could stand off the coast of North Vietnam 25,000 feet high in a C-130 and drop leaflets on Kim Il Sung’s doorstep.” He always kept a low profile, but many of his psychological operations tactics and his leafleting algorisms are still being used by the United States military today. Upon his death he was voted an honorary member of the Psychological Operations Veteran’s Association.

Ray Ambrozak, retired S-3 (Operations) of the 6th PSYOP Battalion during the Vietnam war said about Underhill:

LTC David Underhill’s extensive study of leafleting operations was invaluable to the success of the 6th PSYOP Battalion in their mission of support to the entire theatre in Vietnam. I was witness to the application of the principles his detailed research had produced. Tens of millions of leaflets found their targets because of his singular effort in this atypical science. Campaigns in North Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh trail and Cambodia all benefitted from the delivery system to which he had devoted his considerable talents. It would be difficult to be excessive in describing his contribution to PSYOP and the impact it had which continues to this today. 

Former Lieutenant Colonel David Underhill was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on 22 March 2022.

His wife received a memorial card from the President of the United States honoring his military service.

This article is a brief history of the 7th Psychological Operations Group. Any reader with comments, additions, or suggestions is encouraged to send them to the author at sgmbert@hotmail.com.