SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)
THE 13TH POB CREST
A silver colored metal and enamel device 1 3/16 inches in height overall consisting of a green enameled triangle surmounted by a silver quill between two lightning flashes, overall in base a silver scroll bearing the inscription "POWER OF PERSUASION" in green letters.
Dark green is the color used for Psychological Operations Units. The quill alludes to the written or printed word. The lightning flashes represent audio projections. Together they symbolize the mission of the unit to disseminate propaganda material to enemy troops from forward positions. The distinctive unit insignia was authorized on 11 Jan 1967.
THE COAT OF ARMS
Shield: A gray background, red lightning bolts left and right and a white vertical quill at the center. Dark green and silver gray are the colors used for Psychological Operations units. The quill alludes to the written or printed word. The lightning flashes represent audio projections. Together they symbolize the mission of the unit to disseminate propaganda material to enemy troops from forward positions.
The Actual Minute Man statue
Crest: The crest is that of the U.S. Army Reserve. A gray and black rope with the image of the Lexington Minute Man above. The actual statue of the Minute Man Captain John Parker stands on the common in Lexington, Massachusetts. H.H. Kitson sculpted the statue. The coat of arms was originally authorized on 16 Aug 1996. It was amended to change the blazon on 20 Sep 1996.
Motto: POWER OF PERSUASION
The unit was established on 4 October 1961 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Co, 13th Psychological Warfare Battalion was activated on 15 November 1961 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The 13th was redesignated on 20 December 1965 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Psychological Operations Battalion. Army Radio Station WCSW-FM operated under its command. Most unit members rotated from Smoke Bomb Hill to Vietnam, Korea, Germany, or elsewhere based on special MOS qualifications.
The unit was inactivated on 13 September 1972 at Fort Bragg, withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the United States Army Reserve It was activated at Fort Snelling, Minnesota on 30 October 1975. It was then relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota on 1 January 1978; to Fort Snelling, Minnesota on 1 December 1979 and to Arden Hills, Minnesota on 16 January 1996.
The 13th POB took some part in the following campaigns: Vietnam 1967-1970; Support of Vietnam 1968-1969; Desert Shield/Desert Storm; Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan); and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq).
There is very little information on the 13th PSYOP Battalion in Vietnam. There are several comments from Vietnam documents, but nothing is written in stone. One PSYOP Information Letter dated November 1971 states that:
The PSYOP Tactical Battalion (Strength 68) has the same operational capacity as the Tactical Company and in addition, can provide command and control for two to five Tactical Companies. The PSYOP Prisoner Of War Support Battalion (strength 130) provides assistance to the Military Police Prisoner of War Education Program and pretests PSYOP material prior to dissemination.
It then mentions that the 13th PSYOP Battalion (Strat) is based at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina but nothing in regard to Vietnam.
Some official documents that mention the 13th PSYOP Battalion state that it took part in Vietnam 1967-1970 and the Support of PSYOP/Vietnam in 1968-1969. Hopefully, we will find paperwork that verifies this.
Al Zdon wrote about the 13 th POB during Desert Storm in an article entitled Winning the war by convincing the enemy to go home, The Minnesota American Legion and Auxiliary Legionnaire, 2001:
The Persian Gulf War was as nearly as much a war of words as it was a war of missiles, tanks, jet fighters and M-16s. A unit from Minnesota, the 13th Psychological Operations Battalion, played a crucial role in that war, a role that with a perspective of 10 years looks even larger.
While Saddam Hussein was preparing for the "mother of all battles," the Minnesotans were going quietly about their business of getting Saddam's troops to desert or surrender. By the time the U.S. and its allies took control of Kuwait, there were only about 85,000 troops remaining to fight - instead of the 400,000 Saddam had sent to control his captured nation. What happened to the rest? Some had been captured, some had been killed, but most of them had just gone home.
A card was printed to be handed to Iraqis prisoners to explain their situation. The card is printed in Arabic on one side and English on the other. The text is:
You are a prisoner of war. You will not be hurt or injured unless you try to escape. You must remain quiet and do what you are told. You will be respected and treated fairly. You will be searched. You may be temporarily deprived of your personal property, but it will be returned to you.
Colonel Jim Noll, Commander
"We were the only battalion geared to do POW psychological warfare," Jim Noll said in a recent interview. Noll was the lieutenant colonel in charge of the 13th PSYOP Battalion when it was called to active duty in December of 1990. "By the end of the war, seven out of 10 Iraqi soldiers had deserted. In some units only 10 percent might have been left in the forward positions. In some cases, there were not enough Iraqi soldiers left to drive their vehicles."
After Officer Candidates School, Noll joined the 101st Airborne and took part in the three and one-half month battle for Fire Base Ripcord in Vietnam as a platoon leader. He was wounded twice during that action. He earned a Silver Star and Bronze Star in addition to his Purple Hearts. Noll got out of the Army in 1971, returned to teaching, and also joined the Army Reserve at Ft. Snelling. Along the way, over the next two decades, he was named commander of the 13th PSYOP Battalion.
Directions Prisoners of War
There are other cards printed in more detail that explain how the prisoner is to act in the temporary prison cage, the holding compound rules and regulations, and even the activities scheduled within the camp. The Iraqi prisoners could not say that they didn't know what was happening. They received numerous written instructions.
The Minnesotans were activated in December of 1990 and sent to Ft. Bragg where the unit had two weeks to get organized. It arrived in Saudi Arabia on the 13th of January. The battalion's job was to make the enemy quit without fighting, but how do you go about getting an enemy to go home? For the 13th PSYOP Battalion, it started in the POW camps run by the Allies. A number of Iraqis had been taken prisoner during the early skirmishes of the war. Others trickled in as time went by.
Part of the PSYOP job was to get the prisoners to comply with regulations and keep the problems at a minimum. Another job was to interview the prisoners and find out ways to convince their comrades who were still in arms to desert or surrender.
POW Tag-FC Form 2779
Other cards that were equally important were the various captive tags, point-of-capture cards and enemy prisoner of war tags. In modern warfare the friendly intelligence services need to know who is captured, at what point, what time, and what sort of weapons or documents they were carrying. This allows specific units to be placed on the S-2 intelligence map and alerts the local commander to know who and what he is up against. The upper half of the captive tag (FC Form 2779) was initially filled out and attached by string to the prisoner. It held the time, place, and circumstances of capture and detailed any documents the prisoner was carrying and the capturing unit. The second half contained much of the same information and was placed in the prisoner's files.
Barney the Purple Dinosaur
U.S. military units tried to break down Saddam Hussein's remaining supporters by subjecting them to heavy metal music and children's songs. Playing tunes from Metallica and Barney the purple dinosaur softened the Iraqis' resistance.
Lieutenant Colonel Jim Noll was commanding the 13th PSYOP Battalion when it was called to active duty in December of 1990. He says instead of trying to annoy Iraqi POWs with American music, he showed them movies to motivate them to cooperate with U.S. troops.
"The Military Police carried the weapons, and they were the bad guys. We were the good guys," Noll said. "The MPs greatly respected the PSYOP people because we made their job so much easier." For instance, the PSYOP people would show movies every night just outside the fence. If the prisoners had not behaved that day, they saw no movie. "We had some Iraqi movies that were made according to strict Muslim laws, but they didn't want to see those. They wanted to see 'Superman.'"
EPW Surrender Tag - DA Form 5976
There was also a third enemy prisoner of war surrender tag (DA Form 5976) dated "Jan 91." It was a 3-part tag closer to the first one we mentioned. Part A was attached to the prisoner and asked for his name, rank, service number, unit, and location of capture. Part B asked the same questions and was kept by the capturing unit. Part C was for documents, special equipment and weapons. This tag was attached to the prisoner's belongings.
Cigarettes, extra food and candy were also used to reward good behavior or cooperation. The Iraqis were provided with prayer mats and signs that indicated the direction to Mecca. "We wanted to show them that we were taking good care of them, and so they had no fear in surrendering to Americans." The psychological specialists would interview prisoners from morning to night. Unlike American prisoners of war who are trained to keep silent, the Iraqis generally had no compunction about spilling the beans about troop placements, missile locations or other valuable war information.
Memorandum for the 24th Infantry Division
Enemy prisoner-of-war cards were prepared for many divisions. The 24th Infantry Division issued a bright yellow card on plastic stock dated 25 January 1991. It lists six rules about the treatment of enemy prisoners of war. Two of the rules are, "Remember the five "S's" when handling EPWs: Silence, Search, Segregate, Safeguard and Speed to the rear" and "Do not humiliate or physically harm EPWs in any way. Protect these soldiers against acts of violence, insults, public curiosity and reprisals."
Operation Desert Shield EPW Card
This card was designed for issue to Iraqi EPWs immediately after their capture and move to the rear area camp. Note that this Desert Shield card was first designed for use during the defensive stage of the operation before the ground war began. The card could be folded and placed in a prisoners pocket or a hole could be punched in it allowing the prisoner to wear it around his neck.
They also didn't mind talking about who might be trying to escape. "We tried to identify who the Republican Guards and the secret police were. We wanted to isolate those who we felt had the potential to cause problems"They had no code of conduct. They would simply tell all, about underground munitions dumps, or units that hadn't been in combat yet, whatever."
From these interviews, a strategy was developed to convince the Iraqis to leave their units.
"You've got to remember that many of the Iraqi units were isolated electronically from other units. The U.S. was blocking most of the radio signals, and we were overriding Iraqi radio. In some cases we were replacing their messages with our own messages."
A Second POW Capture Tag
The first capture tag was soon replaced by a second larger one which required more information on the prisoner. Instead of two parts, the new card had four sections and was written in both English and Arabic so that the Arab partners in the Coalition could use it. One part of the serrated tag was for documents, one for equipment and one for weapons. The large fourth part contained all the same information and a place for personal information such as name, rank, service number, nationality, married or single, names and ages of children, and who prepared the form. This tag allowed intelligence to collect more information and was certainly more useful in later interrogation.
The Red Cross EPW Card
There were a number of Geneva Conventions rules and regulations that required the prisoners of war be allowed to communicate with their families. This card could be separated with the top half being forwarded to the International Red Cross Central Tracing Agency while the bottom half was forwarded to the prisoners family.
The massive numbers of Iraqi desertions (over 44 percent of Iraqi units in the Kuwait Theater of Operations) was unexpected and overwhelming.
Although he does not come right out and say it, I got the impression that Colonel Noll found the Red Cross to be slightly bothersome, looking over the shoulders of his men and being judgmental.
Photography of the EPWs was a more sensitive issue. The International Committee of the Red Cross has opined that any photography of EPWs is prohibited. The United States position however, is that the Geneva Convention does not preclude all public display of EPWs. The United States does not view photographs or footage indicating that EPWs have been caught or to show how well they are being treated as a violation of Article 13 of the EPW Convention.
Every prisoner was allowed an interview with a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Germany donated large quantities of military rations from the former East German Republic for use by the prisoners. However, most of the German rations contained pork productsThe ICRC revealed to the Iraqi EPW that we were feeding them German pork rations. We expected fallout from the prisoners and were surprised when we had feedback from them, indicating that they were so hungry they would eat the rations regardless of the pork content.
Thirty-four percent of all enemy prisoners of war reported hearing loudspeaker,
broadcasts, and more than half of those followed the broadcasts' instructions.
The U.S. would air drop little portable radios into an Iraqi unit to help get the word out. At other times, thousands of leaflets would be dropped. One strategy was to warn the Iraqis of an impending bombing attack and then follow through. "We would tell a particular unit that we would bomb them within 24 hours and they must leave. A lot of them would do just that. We would follow through on the bombing so they knew we were telling the truth. "The next day we would inform the next Iraqi unit in line that we would be bombing within 24 hours. We'd tell them to just leave the area and leave their equipment. A lot of them would go home. They'd just start hoofing it."
Noll noted that the Iraqis had been waiting for war for many months, and many had earned a furlough at home. "Those who had any brains never came back." The psychological warfare in the end saved many lives, on both sides. "I know many American lives were saved because so many Iraqis had deserted or chose not to fight when we arrived. Many of them were holding up our leaflets to surrender with."
A B-52 Bomb Warning leaflet
The front of this leaflet depicts a B-52 bomber over the Iraqi troops. The text is:
This is your first and last warning! The 7th Infantry Division will be bombed tomorrow! Flee this location now!>
The back is colored blue and says:
The 7th Infantry Division will be bombed tomorrow. The bombing will be heavy. If you want to save yourself, leave your location and do not allow anyone to stop you. Save yourself and head toward the Saudi border, where you will be welcomed as a brother.
The 7th ID was on the Kuwait-Saudi border. It was destroyed on 24 February 1991 by the 1st "Tiger" Brigade of the 2nd Armored Division, attached to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. 620,000 leaflets were printed and some portion of that number was dropped on 14 February.
Note: Lessons Learned indicated that the B-52 leaflets help establish credibility for the Coalition Leaflets because the Bombers came just as promised.
The leaflets were based on the intelligence the PSYOP battalion had gained from prisoners. Some showed large bombers dropping their payloads.
Iraqi tankers surrender to U.S. armor
Follow these instructions if you want to survive. Raise your barrel to maximum elevation. Face your barrel to the rear. Leave all the tank hatches open. Put your hands over your head and approach slowly. Wave a white cloth as a signal that you want to survive and live in peace, or wave this leaflet. All armies of the Multi-national forces understand that this pass shows your honorable commitment to peace
Others showed tank units how to surrender. Others showed Americans landing from the sea (a military ploy to divert Iraqi defenses. The U.S. never did land from the sea.)
Note: Lessons Learned indicated that illustrations showing surrender procedures were more effective, probably due to low literacy rates. Also, leaflets giving clear surrender instructions were more effective than appeals without instructions.
Coalition Propaganda 25-dinar banknote
The back of this banknote has a cartoon of Iraqi soldier carrying Saddam on his back. The sign reads: Shatt al Arab.
The soldier says:
I have carried you for 11 years. I have no strength to carry you anymore.
The Coalition believed the Iraqi troops would understand that the message was that they had been used by Saddam like pack-animals and fought his hopeless battle for years. Unfortunately, Lessons Learned indicated that none of the Iraqi soldiers recognized any of the many caricatures as Saddam Hussain.
Others messages were printed on fake Iraqi money so the soldiers could conceal them in their wallets.
This leaflet depicts a tidal wave of Marines, aircraft and naval ships attacking the coast of Kuwait. They were delivered in part in water bottles washed up on the shores of Kuwait. The back is all text:
Cease resistance - Be safe
To seek refuge safely, the bearer must strictly adhere to the following procedures:
1. Remove the magazine from your weapon.
2. Sling your weapon over your left shoulder, muzzle down.
3. Have both arms raised above your head.
4. Approach the Multi-national forces slowly, with the soldier holding this document above his head.
5. If you do this, you will not die.
In the end, over 14 million leaflets were dropped to Iraqi troops. Some were even delivered in bottles that washed up on shore. The pictures were important. "Many Iraqis only had enough education to read the Koran, and that was it." Once a leaflet was developed, it was tried with the prisoners to find out how effective it might be. In one case, a leaflet went out with a red border. The Iraqi troops had been instructed that red meant danger, and the leaflets were not used. After switching to a green border, the results improved dramatically.
Noll had Saudi and Kuwaiti soldiers who were bilingual assigned to his unit that helped with the testing of the materials by working with the prisoners of war. The Iraqis also tried some crude psychological warfare of their own. One particular leaflet told American soldiers that Bart Simpson was at home with his wife. Apparently the Iraqis didn't realize that Bart was a cartoon character.
Only once in the POW camps, was there a major problem. A typhoon hit one of the camps one night, and the guards, who were not U.S. soldiers, deserted their posts. PSYOP soldiers with speaker backpacks went into the camp where chaos reigned, and with the help of local officials restored order.
Surrendering Iraqis with passes or white flags
In addition to the PSYOP units working in the camps, each American unit had three PSYOP specialists assigned to it. The job of these tactical units was to make contact with the enemy and encourage them to surrender. The strategy was especially important because when the U.S. did attack, the armored units raced across the desert to confront Iraqi tank units. In the process, many Iraqi army units were simply bypassed. It was important to convince those bypassed units to surrender rather than fight.
When Kuwait had been retaken by the Allies, Noll entered the city the next day. He urged the command to release his tactical units, spread out throughout the American forces, so they could be used to help control the huge influx of enemy prisoners. The Americans also trained the Saudis in the aspects of psychological warfare and dealing with prisoners because the prisoners were soon turned over to the Saudi army for safekeeping.
The 13th PSYOP Battalion left in May 1991, and turned over all the POW camps to the Saudis. "My unit may have saved thousands of lives during the war, on both sides."
Noll retired in June 1999 as a colonel.
DID YOU KNOW During Desert Storm some Iraqi Commanders complained that the Coalition forces did not fight fair because our forces engaged them at such distances and with such overwhelming force that they did not have an opportunity to surrender. Additionally, some complained that they were merely moving into position to surrender. However, the burden (and risk) is upon the surrendering party make his intentions clear, unambiguous, and unequivocal to the capturing unit: Geneva Convention III: Prisoners of War.
We mention Colonel Noll above and he also wrote a 164-page Personal Experience Monograph entitled The 13th Psychological Operations Battalion (EPW) During Mobilization, Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Demobilization in 1993. We shall quote some of his more interesting comments and I will edit for brevity:
From 23 January 1988 to 23 August 1991, I commanded the 13th Psychological Operations Battalion (Enemy Prisoner of War - EPW) headquartered at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. My unit was the only Reserve psychological operations battalion (POB) activated for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. An important wartime mission was acting as a force multiplier for the 800th Military Police (MP) Brigade (EPW). Numerous disturbances within the EPW camps were defused by direct intervention of 13th Battalion PSYOP camp teams with back-pack loudspeakers.
I should mention here that coming from New York I was very familiar with many members of the 800th MP Brigade since they were headquartered on Long Island, not far from my home. They were a good bunch and I heard many war stories upon their return after the end of the short war.
The Modular Printing System
As the only PSYOP battalion with a prisoner of war mission, this unique asset was highly valued by the PSYOP community. Through contacts established with 4th POG at Fort Bragg, the Battalion S-4 (Supply) discovered that new backpack Light Speaker System (LSS-40) and Audio-visual/Mobile System Quadriphonic 85B (AN/MSQ85B) vans were in production and could be expected to fill equipment needs in selected Reserve PSYOP units, starting with the new fiscal year. As an additional upgrade, in November we received a factory new modular printing system. The modular printing system consists of four large semitrailers with accompanying prime movers, four 5K trailer-mounted generators and four 5-ton trucks with bed-mounted pods. The four printing presses and all accompanying support equipment came as a complete mobile package that was air transportable.
The Battalion was activated on 27 December 1990. Our mobilization site reporting date at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was 1 January 1991. Upon arrival at Ft. Bragg I found members of five reserve PSYOP companies had been attached to the battalion from the 18th, 19th, 244th, 245th and 362nd POCs. I was informed that all activated PSYOP units would begin deployment to Saudi Arabia, to arrive in theater no later than the 14th of the month. C-141 flights for the main body would begin at 0400 hours, 12 January.
A red-bordered leaflet Untouchable for the Iraqis
This bad luck red-bordered leaflet depicts a caricature of the massive BLU-52 bomb. The text on the front it:
Flee and live or stay and die
The back is all text:
You have suffered horrendous losses as a result of us using the most powerful conventional bomb in this war. It has more explosive power than 20 Scud
missiles. Beware! You will soon be bombed again. Kuwait will be free of aggression. Join your brothers in the south. We will treat you with love and
respect. Leave this position. It will not protect you.
Note: Lessons Learned indicated that most Iraqis could not identify or recognize the bomb.
On the 20th of January we deployed Camp Team #1 in support of the 401st MP Camp. At 1050 hours, we received our first enemy prisoners of war at the theater EPW camp. The Iraqi EPW, with rare exception, would tell us anything we asked. In fact, the Iraqi would volunteer information we never thought to ask for. In one such case of volunteered information, we were able to reverse a negative effect that our PSYOP was having. Some of our leaflets were bordered with red color in order to contrast with the desert background and be more visible to the enemy. An EPW volunteered information that the Iraqi enlisted soldiers, our primary target audience, would not touch our leaflets because they were instructed not to handle anything red in color, as it meant danger.
POW Holding Compound Rules and Regulations
In the following weeks, the 800th MP Brigade constructed more EPW camps. Two Eastern EPW camps were called "Bronx" and the two Western EPW camps were called "Brooklyn." The 13th Battalion had now placed four of its five PSYOP camp teams in direct support of these camps. Basic Arabic language lessons were conducted and cards with simple Arabic commands and camp rules printed in Arabic were distributed to the M.P. guards. Tape recordings in Arabic were developed that explained the processing procedures. These tapes were played over loudspeakers, to the Iraqi awaiting processing in the holding areas. Over our loudspeaker systems, the teams played music and rebroadcasted recordings from the "Voice of the Gulf," the U.S. PSYOP radio station. But during prayer time, we would stop and play a recorded Muslim "Call to Prayer."
DID YOU KNOW Under the Geneva Convention Tobacco is one of the items that must be provided to prisoners. During Desert Storm, the 301st Military Police POW camp required 3500 packages of cigarettes per day. Police and medical personnel know that tobacco is a very soothing drug that works to keep fights and arguments down. I recall visiting Bellevue Hospital in New York City in the 1950s and the halls of the wing where the insane or those under observation was so thick with cigarette smoke that you could barely see your hand in front of your face. It keeps the residents quiet, I was told by an orderly.
The AN/MSQ-85B Audio Visual vehicle
The AN/MSQ-85B Mobile Audiovisual Information Collection and Dissemination System was the primary system in the U.S. inventory designated for tactical point dissemination of video products in other-than-broadcast mode. For audio missions, the system normally contained a 350-watt backpacked loudspeaker, a multiband receiver, and a mobile editor/dubbing unit. For visual production and presentation, the system contains a wide-screen video projection unit, video camera, 35-mm still camera, and a Polaroid camera. The system also contains a Canon 660 paper copier for limited, immediate leaflet production. It was rapidly deployable and could be airlifted by a C-130 or larger aircraft. Few of the AN/MSQ-85B still exist in their original configuration, and these are more museum pieces of 1970s technology than usable equipment.
The AN/MSQ-85B Audio Visual vehicle has the capability to show videotape movies on a large two-sided screen. Initially, purchased and approved Saudi Arabian videos were shown, but were not well received by the Iraqis. We came to realize that our enemy was more attuned to the outside world than we thought. As we were to discover, the prisoners favorite movies were "Superman" and "Top Gun."
An inside view of the AN/MSQ-85B
Field Manual 33-1-1 adds:
An EPW PSYOP pacification program is executed using a variety of media. Music and news from approved radio stations, EPW camp rules, and in-processing station instructions are broadcast using loudspeaker systems. Without exception, all of the information presented to the EPWs must be in their language. Light print sections produce signs, posters, information sheets, and camp newspapers in this program. The MSQ-85B (mobile audiovisual shelter) is used for behavior modification by projecting big-screen videos and gaining leverage on the EPWs by providing them with entertainment they do not want to lose through misconduct.
Leaflet showing bearded guard and bananas
This leaflet depicts an Iraqi surrendering to a bearded Saudi soldier and then fed fruit and bananas with two other prisoners of war.
The text on the other side is:
From HQ Joint Forces and Theater of Operations.
You are invited to join the Joint Forces and enjoy full Arab hospitality, security, safety, and medical care. You will return to your homes as soon as the situation Saddam has placed us in has ended. My brother Iraqi soldier...this invitation is open to you and your comrade soldiers. We hope you will accept this invitation as soon as you have an opportunity.
Commander, Joint Forces in the Theater of Operations
One of the Lessons Learned from EPW interviews was that Invitations were more effective that threats.
I inserted camp team 5 into the Marine's Central Command Corps EPW cage. With all five PSYOP camp teams committed, the battalion soon became fully functional in pre- and post-testing of PSYOP products and in gathering PSYOP relevant information. Each separate camp team would pre-test simultaneously on the EPW newly developed PSYOP leaflets to ascertain the potential effectiveness on the Iraqi soldiers. The 4th POG would make necessary adjustments, print the leaflets in quantity, then distribute the leaflets on the Iraqi forces. As new prisoners were interrogated, they would be asked if they had read the Leaflets and if so, what affect the PSYOP leaflets had on them and their col leagues. By pre- and post-testing in this manner, the effectiveness of the PSYOP campaign was increased dramatically in theater. One particular leaflet was adjusted for increased effectiveness by adding a beard to the guard, and bananas to the fruit tray. The beard\, was interpreted by the Iraqi to mean that their Muslim religion would be respected, and the bananas in the picture indicated that they would be fed their favorite food as a prisoner of war.
Loudspeaker equipped helicopter with taperecorder
As the bombing and PSYOP campaign continued into February, an ever-increasing number of Iraqi soldiers defected. Many of these defectors were willing to make tape-recorded surrender appeals for us to broadcast to their units.The surrender appeal tapes were broadcast by three means: Radio ("Voice of the Gulf"), speaker-equipped helicopters, and tactical loudspeaker teams. The 48th Iraqi Infantry Division was targeted with concentrated leaflet drops and the broadcast of surrender appeals. This culminated in the mass surrender of an entire battalion, to include the commander.
With the war ended and the downsizing of my battalion, 4th Psychological Operations Croup requested a study on the effectiveness of the PSYOP campaign for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. The results of our testing conducted on EPWs showed without a doubt that PSYOP was an extremely effective tool in destroying the enemies will to resist. PSYOP had contributed significantly in the one-sided victory over the Iraqi Army. In general, 98% of the Iraqi EPWs interviewed stated they believed the messages on our PSYOP leaflets and were influenced by them. Nearly all EPW surrendered with leaflets in their possession, despite death threats from their officers. 58% of all EPWs had listened to PSYOP radio broadcasts and stated that they were influenced in their decision to defect or surrender by the messages. Because of the range limitations of the loudspeaker broadcasts, only 34% of the Iraqis interviewed claimed they had heard surrender appeals.
On 14 April the 4th POG commander and staff along with all its operationally assigned units departed Saudi Arabia for Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The 6th PSYOP Battalion, however, was deployed to northern Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort. This left the 13th Battalion as the only PSYOP command in theater. I technically did not have a higher headquarters. I was now in command of a]] PSYOP forces in theater. On 29 April, the 800th MP Brigade and the 13th PSYOP Battalion had effectively terminated the EPW mission with the transfer of the last remaining EPW to tie Saudi National Guard. The 13th PSYOP Battalion, with its mission completed, would depart Saudi Arabia 30 April for Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and demobilization processing.
The Least effective Leaflet of the Gulf War
This leaflet depicts Iraqi jets with the insignia of Iran. The text is:
Is the Iranian Air Force growing?
The back is all text:
Saddam has given back the Shatt al Arab to Iran, and now he gives them your Air Force. There is something better you can do. Go to Saudi Arabia. Call us on your radio and announce that you wish to join your Arab brothers. Approach us alone in your aircraft, or in single file. Lower your landing wheels, turn on your landing lights, disarm your weapons, turn off your fire control systems and continue flying at a speed no greater than 250 to 300 nautical miles. You will receive humane treatment, and after the crisis is over, you will be permitted to return to your homeland and rebuild it.
This leaflet shows Iraqi fighter aircraft with their own national symbol crossed out and the insignia of Iran, their hated enemy, in its place. Once the Coalition had air superiority, Iraqi aircraft fled to Iran in an attempt to preserve their air force. This was worrisome for the Coalition because it was unknown what kind of arrangement Saddam had made with the Mullahs. It was possible that with the aid of the Ayatollahs, one day all of the impounded aircraft could take off in a concentrated counterattack against the Coalition forces. In fact, those aircraft never reappeared during the length of the war. I do not know if Iran ever returned them to Iraq after the war or kept them as booty. 1,000,000 leaflets were initially requested. There is no data on dissemination.
Note: This leaflet confused the Iraqi prisoners. They did not recognize the Iranian insignia on the aircraft, they had no idea what the X over the Iraqi flag indicated, and even the text left them bewildered since they use kilometers per hour instead of nautical miles.
800th MP Insignia and Patch
We learn more about the connection between the 800th MPs and the 13th PSYOP Battalion in the 1992 report United States Army Reserve in Operation Desert Storm: Enemy Prisoner of War Operations: The 800th Military Police Brigade. The PSYOP troops are mentioned in just a few comments:
Much of the credit for the smooth operations of the camps rests with the personnel of the 13th Psychological Operations Battalion, a USAR unit from St Paul, Minnesota, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James P. Noll. The 13th PSYOP Battalion was part of the CAPSTONE trace of the 800th MP Brigade and had specialized in working on EPW operations. Although the unit had the mission of providing psychological operations support for four camps with almost 70,000 EPW, only 32 members of the unit were activated (out of 102 available), and this left the PSYOP part of the EPW mission severely undermanned. Very little of the unit's organic equipment arrived in the theater, and the lack of secure communications gear, computers, printing presses, and loudspeakers also hampered the ability of the unit to perform its mission properly. The 800th MP Brigade alleviated the manpower somewhat by augmenting the 13th PSYOP Battalion with 15 personnel of the 338th Military Intelligence Detachment, USAR, from Waterbury, Connecticut, commanded by Sergeant First Class Raul Jiminez-Cintron. In addition, 15 Arabic interpreters were assigned to the PSYOP teams. Failure to activate the entire 13th PSYOP Battalion is another indication of the lack of appreciation on the part of some planners for the magnitude and importance of EPW operations and their willingness to accept more risk in this area than is practical.
Ninety-eight percent of all EPWs reported that they had seen or possessed PSYOP leaflets and taken the action the leaflets encouraged - e.g., deserting, defecting, abandoning equipment, or surrendering.
Despite the lack of resources, the 13th PSYOP Battalion provided excellent support to the camps. The PSYOP teams at each camp were valuable in judging the mind-set and state of morale of the EPW population and helped to maintain order by accompanying the MP Reaction Forces responding to occasional disturbances. They helped the camp commanders explain to the EPW almost immediately upon arrival at the camp the rules and procedures of the camp and the rationale for them. Audio tapes in Arabic were developed to tell the prisoners what would happen during processing and how they were to respond. Signs in Arabic were produced for each processing station and for displaying the camp rules and locations. One sign, for example, warned the prisoners not to drink from an unsafe water source. The PSYOP teams established at each camp a mobile shelter which provided Arabic magazines and newspapers and played Arabic movies and music. PSYOP personnel prepared special news programs in Arabic for the prisoners. Access to these shelters was prized by the prisoners, and the threat of losing this privilege through misconduct was an effective way to control the prisoners. The PSYOP teams were essential to the operation of the camps.
Lieutenant Colonel Jon F. Bilbo also mentioned the 13th PSYOP Battalion in his report:
Enemy Prisoners of war EPW Operation Desert Storm. He says in part:
During its planning for Desert Storm, the 800th also coordinated for the activation of the brigade's CAPSTONE aligned, direct support PSYOP Battalion, the 13th PSYOP Battalion from St. Paul, Minnesota. When the 800th was alerted and activated, the 13th POB should have been alerted at the same; however, this did not happen so the 800th had to play catch up ball in the PSYOP arena. On 27 December, the 13th POB was alerted, activated, and ordered to Southwest Asia. On 31 December, 32 of the unit's 142 personnel left St. Paul for Ft. Bragg. Subsequently, the unit arrived at Pope Air Force Base and Ft. Bragg, completed its SOF validation, and deployed 30 out of the original 32 people to Saudi Arabia. Two personnel were unable to meet the validation and remained behind. Shortly thereafter, two volunteers were found, and they too deployed with the battalion to Saudi. On 15 January, the 13th arrived in Dhahran and immediately deployed to its wartime location which was a block away from the 800th's headquarters in Al Khobar and five hours away from its higher headquarters, the 4th PSYOP Group in Riyadh.
800th MP Brassard
Upon arriving in the theater, the 13th began preparing to send a five man EPW PSYOPSupport Team to each of the 800th's four camps as they were being built. In each team, either the team leader or NCOIC had worked with the 800th MP Brigade on training exercises in the past and was knowledgeable of EPW camp operations. Additionally, one or more of the five soldiers from the 13th POB were qualified interrogators. However, because of the unit's European orientation, only one soldier spoke Arabic. During this period, each five man team was augmented by a five man loudspeaker team from the 338th Military Intelligence Detachment and three to five Arabic speaking Saudi and Kuwaiti interpreters from the host nation government and some of the 15 interrogators that the 800th gave the battalion. The missions of these fully augmented teams were to: conduct an EPW Pacification Program, keep the prisoners responsive to MP authority, act as a force multiplier for the MPs, and advise the MP Camp Commanders on the psychological impacts of their actions. Additionally, the battalion started purchasing the requisite equipment (generators, loudspeakers, and video cameras) to support the PW camps from the local civilian economy. About a week later after the teams were adequately manned and equipped, the four teams in DS of the 800th's camps relocated to their respective locations and began to settle into their new homes.
During the war, more than 17,000 Iraqi troops defected into Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and 44 percent of the Iraqi military deserted. The International Red Cross reported that nearly 87,000 Iraqi soldiers turned themselves over to coalition forces, most of them clutching the leaflets or hiding them in their clothing.
The PSYOP EPW Education Campaign was particularly helpful in reducing the concerns and frustrations of the prisoners and also in providing them some small source of recreation, while at the same time accomplishing the PSYOP objective. According to Captain Sanderson C. Prescott, a member of one of the PSYOP teams from the 13th POB that conducted this campaign, team members used a man-packed loudspeaker system and locally procured mosque speaker systems to broadcast audio recordings throughout the camp. Music and news from a PSYOP radio station, EPW camp rules, and in-processing station procedures were also disseminated over these systems. Another very vital part of this campaign was the printed media. Myriad signs, posters, informational sheets, and camp newspapers were all printed in Arabic and distributed in all of the camps. A real big winner with the prisoners and a very good source of leverage for the PSYOP teams was the MSQ-85B multimedia complex that was used to show big-screen entertainment videos to the prisoners. Throughout the entire duration of the war and in the conflict termination phase afterwards, the PSYOP teams in direct support of MP units in the combat zone as well as in support of the 800th did a super job! They were particularly helpful in reducing confrontations stemming from the differences and misunderstandings over culture, customs, religious practices, and dietary habits. Between 20 January when the 800th received its first prisoner and 20 April, the units of the Brigade, and for that matter all of the MP units in theater involved in EPW operations, processed in excess of 69,000 EPWs without one serious incident.
Captain Scott Meehan was assigned to the 8th POB during Operation Desert Storm. He published a book about his experiences entitled All I Could Be. He mentions his surprise when he sees how many EPWs are being brought in to the prisoner-of-war camps.
One afternoon the Iraqi prisoners came in a caravan of flatbed cattle trucks with attached flatbed trailers. They were packed together like sheep going to slaughter. The fourth largest army in the world, prior to Desert Storm, looked shattered. I was leaving the EPW camp for the night and heading back to the Marine base camp.
Stop here a minute I instructed my driver, I want to count them. Staff Sergeant Schmidt pulled up to the first truck in line trying to get into Kibrit. Both of us started to count the bewildered, demoralized men. I count sixty I said. Yes sir that is about right. Drive down the road, lets see how many trucks there are. We drove slowly past the trucks leading into the EPW camp and down Tap Line Road leading northwest. I began counting again this time the number of trucks pulling trailers. My God, there are 60 trucks, all with trailers. That means there are at least thirty-six hundred prisoners.
I have two comments on that observation. Some readers might think it cruel and unusual to pack in troops in such a way. When I was asked to join the American Legion honor Society years ago, the 40&8, they went into great detail to tell all candidates about the American troops in WWI sent to the front in French unheated boxcars that were meant to carry ether 40 men or eight mules. Those men were cold and sitting on Mule feces, but they went because they had to get to the front. There are no luxuries in wartime.
As for the numbers of prisoners, in Conduct of the Persian Gulf War Final Report to Congress, April 1992 the Iraqi generals met to discuss the repatriation of prisoners, the Americans were asked how many were currently in confinement. When told over 58,000, the Iraqi vice chief of staff was stunned and asked his own military commanders if that could be true. They said, It is possible. Three days after the war the Iraqi leadership had no idea how many men they had lost or where the front lines were.
General Schwarzkopf mentions the meeting in It Doesnt take a Hero. His comments differ slightly. The Iraqi Lieutenant General brings up the prisoners of war and says that they have 41 Coalition troops. He asks about Iraqi POWs.
As of last night, sixty thousand; Or sixty thousand plus, because it is difficult to count them completely. The Iraqi's face went completely pale: he had no concept of the magnitude of their defeat.
800th Military Police Brigade Operation Desert Storm Certificate of Achievement
The reader might wonder why so much care is taken to see that the prisoners are treated fairly and humanely. Field Manual 33-1-1 explains:
EPW PSYOP not only provides a force multiplier but is critical in developing PSYOP-related intelligence and in pretesting and/or posttesting products. In addition, the attitudes and behavior of former EPWs towards the United States can have along-range impact on relations with that nation in the future. A positive or at least neutral attitude may preclude future armed conflict. Careful adherence to all provisions of the Geneva Conventions in regard to EPW operations must be kept in mind. Legal consultation may preclude incidents that could be used against the United States in opponent propaganda.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
President George W. Bush announced the opening of the second war Gulf War at 2215 on 19 March 2003 just 90 minutes after the deadline for Saddam to exile himself and his sons from Iraq. The initial strikes on Baghdad were a target of opportunity. Intelligence reports placed senior Iraqi military leaders with Saddam at a secret meeting place. The initial salvos against Baghdad consisted of 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from six Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, as well as precision-guided 2,000-pound bombs dropped from two F-117A Nighthawk stealth jets. Three hours after the raids began, a defiant Saddam, wearing military fatigues, appeared on state television calling on Iraqis to defend their country. Iraq retaliated by firing missiles at U.S. troop positions in Kuwait.
Daniel A. Castro adds in his 2007 Naval Postgraduate School thesis: Do Psychological Operations Benefit from the use of Host Nation Media:
The start of the PSYOP campaign in Iraq started months prior to the March invasion and it consisted of a campaign of leaflet drops, cell phone text messages, emails and radio broadcasts that targeted the Iraqi leadership. Over 80 million leaflets were dropped in March of 2003. Some leaflets threatened to destroy any military formation that stood and fought, while others encouraged the Iraqi populace and military to ignore the directives of the Baath Party leadership.
Iraqis Surrender en masse
The Commander of the Iraqi 51st Infantry Division, with 8,000 men and as many as 200 tanks, surrendered with his unit. A 20-mile long convoy of Coalition Tanks and vehicles was 100 miles inside Iraq and about 2-3 days from Baghdad. Fifteen hundred Turkish Special Forces entered Northern Iraq to set up a buffer zone. The Associated Press reported leaflets dropped over Iraq and radio broadcasts urging civilians to stay in their homes and away from military forces.
We find the 13th PSYOP Battalion mentioned once again in the Michael E. Cannon book Abu Ghraib, Xulon Press, 2005. The 13th is mentioned only in passing as a mobilized Chaplain from the MP Brigade serves in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and once again we find both the 800th MPs and the 13th PSYOP Battalion there. The commander of the Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Doyle invites the Chaplain to go with him to visit troops scattered from Camp Bucca (named after a New York City Firefighter killed on 9/11) in Southern Iraq and Baghdad. He visits the PSYOP Detachment at Camp Bucca on Palm Sunday and provides services for them. He says that Camp Bucca was starting to look like an establish EPW camp. The tents were in better condition than the ones the American troops lived in.
U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Sam MacKenzie from Alpha Company, 13th Psychological Operations Battalion puts up wanted posters near the Ministry of Interior building in Rusafa, Iraq, on 27 February 2008.
Leaflets using EPWs as a Theme
Leaflet IZD-069 depicts a group of Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles with a white flag tied to their antennae at the right, and a group of unarmed Iraqi soldiers at the left. Between them is an arrow overprinted "1 Kilometer." Text above the vignette reads:
To avoid destruction, follow Coalition guidelines.
The back of the leaflet is all in text. It tells the Iraqi military:
For your safety follow these Coalition Guidelines. Park vehicles in squares, no larger than battalion size. Stow artillery and Air Defense Systems in travel configuration. Display white flags on vehicles. No visible man portable air defense systems. Personnel must gather in groups, a minimum of one kilometer away from their vehicles. Officers may retain their side-arms; others must disarm. Do not approach Coalition forces. Wait for further instructions.
This leaflet also asks the Iraqi soldier to return home to protect his family. The front depicts Iraqi soldiers with a dead Iraqi at the center. The text is:
Do not risk your lives and the lives of your comrades!
The back depicts the soldier in civilian garb surrounded by his family and the text:
Leave now and go home
Watch your children learn, grow and prosper.
This leaflet instructs Iraqi soldiers how to act when they have been taken prisoner. The front depicts a surrendering soldier, and Iraqi civilians. The back is all text:
You have been captured by Coalition forces. Our dispute is with Saddam and his regime, not the Iraqi soldier. We will not detain you. Cease resistance, return to your home and live in peace. If you again bear arms against Coalition forces you will face the consequences.
I am yet to find any data on the Battalion in Afghanistan but I did read a report of their return to the United States which said:
On 12 April 2011, the 13th PSYOP Battalion returned home after a years deployment in Afghanistan.
A U.S. Army Soldier from Alpha Company, 13th Psychological Operations Battalion pulls security from a Humvee at a vehicle control point in the village of Kapisa, Afghanistan, May 15, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michael L. Casteel)
Staff Sergeant Nick McLaughin, center, and Sergeant Clayton Herman of the 319th PSYOP Company, 13th PSYOP Battalion, meet with village elders from Mangow village in Afghanistan's Laghman Province, January 21, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Specialist Kristina L. Gupton)
We know very little about the duties of the 13th PSYOP Battalion in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. We do know they were there.
Training and War Games
All PSYOP units train on a regular basis. I have written an entire article just on training and war game leaflets. Here we see that the 13th PSYOP Battalion is no exception. They spend much of their time preparing for war.
Sergeant Coady Shiltz of the 13th PSYOP Battalion fires an M-4 rifle April 8 at a qualification range during Beach Warrior 2013 at Camp Pendleton, Virginia. Beach Warrior 2013 is a collaboration between the 352nd Civil Affairs Command and the 2nd Psychological Operations Group to choose each units best junior enlisted Soldier and non-commissioned officer. (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant 1st Class Matthew Siemion)
Sergeant Coady Shiltz of the 13th PSYOP Battalion, plots his points on a map during a land navigation course at Beach Warrior 2013 at Fort Story, Virginia. Beach Warrior 2013 is collaboration between the 352nd Civil Affairs Command and the 2nd Psychological Operations Group to choose each units best junior enlisted soldier and non-commissioned officer. Those readers who want to learn more about the pitfalls of land navigation are invited to read my article on Maps . (U.S. Army Photo by Sergeant Emilie J. Lenglain)
Soldiers from the 319th PSYOP Company of the 13th PSYOP Battalion participated in military information support operations during a training event 8 June 2014. Soldiers were tasked to conduct face-to-face communications with a small village to get as much information out of the villagers as possible. They also collected propaganda hanging up around the village to take back to their commanders and figure out a way to counter it. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Sharilyn Wells).
U.S. Soldiers of 339th PSYOP Company, 13th PSYOP Battalion, 2nd PSYOP Group conduct a mission brief during exercise Combined Resolve III at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, 4 November 2014. Combined Resolve III is a multinational exercise, which includes more than 4,000 participants from NATO and partner nations, and is designed to provide a complex training scenario that focuses on multinational unified land operations and reinforces the U.S. commitment to NATO and Europe. (U.S. Army photo by Specialist John Cress Jr.)
13th PSYOP Battalion Awards and Decorations
Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait
Detachment, 339th Psychological Operations Company
Meritorious Unit Commendation - - 19 April 2012 to 21 October 2012
This ends our very short look at the history of the United States Armys 13th PSYOP Battalion. Readers who wish to comment or send further information are encouraged to write the author at Sgmbert@hotmail.com.