SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)
Staff Sergeant Bob Rudick stands by the sign of the
301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group at Fort Riley, Kansas, in the summer of 1951.
Most of the stories that we write are about PSYOP units in the heat of battle. We illustrate the leaflets and posters they printed, translate their loudspeaker messages, and discuss the general philosophy of their war. This story is a bit different. We used to say, Many are called but few are chosen. The same is true in the military. Many units are put together in a great rush, hurriedly trained and deployed overseas. However, they are not always sent into battle. Often, they are deployed to replace another unit that has gone to the front. That was true to a great extent recently in Operation Desert Storm where most Reserve medical units replaced hospitals overseas so that active duty troops could deploy to the war zone. In the case of the 301st RB&L Group they were the first to bring a PSYOP unit to
during the Korean War. With the North Koreans on the attack, troops were training frantically at Germany . About half of the new Psywarriors in training were sent to Ft. Riley Koreaor Japan, the rest to . Germany
It 1950, the
Army had little interest in psychological operations. Their field manual sums it up thusly: United States
The outbreak of the Korean conflict, in June 1950, was to be the first major postwar test of countering the emerging threat of communism. In 1950, there was only one psychological warfare unit; the Army had no PSYOP plans, no PSYOP doctrine, and virtually no trained PSYOP personnel despite the success during WWII.
When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, the Tactical Information Detachment at
, was the only operational psychological warfare troop unit in the Army. After its deployment to Fort Riley, Kansas , the detachment became the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company and it served as the 8th Armys tactical propaganda unit throughout the conflict. By April 1951, Major General Robert McClure requested the activation of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group to assist the Far East Command (FECOM), in conducting strategic propaganda; the 2nd Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company at Fort Riley, Kansas, a prototype unit; the 5th Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company at Fort Riley, scheduled to be sent to FECOM but actually deployed to Boeblingen Military Sub-Post, Germany; and the 301st (Reserve) Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, to be trained at Fort Riley, and then shipped to Europe. No sooner had the two groups been deployed than a third, the 6th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group was formed at Ft. Riley. They were not deployed and eventually ended up at Ft. Bragg, N.C. General McClure moved quickly to assist FECOM in its organization and conduct of both psychological warfare and unconventional warfare, while he concurrently helped the European Command prepare for the employment of both capabilities in the event of war with the Korea Soviet Union.
Some of this story is told by retired Colonel Alfred H. Paddock in U.S. Army Special Warfare, University Press of
, 2002: Kansas
Spurred by the war in
and persistent pressure of Secretary of the Army Frank Pace, the Army created the Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare (OCPW) in early 1951 under the leadership of Brigadier General Robert. A. McClure Korea
McClure was embarrassed at the lack of trained officers ready for psychological operations positions. He had warned after WWII the
needed to keep a cadre of trained PSYOP officers. He had the 301st RB&L Group called up and shipped to United States . However, as some members later learned to their dismay, they came very close to being deployed to Germany . Paddock adds: Korea
The decision to ship the 301st RB&L Group to Europe was itself fraught with controversy General Willoughby, G-2 (Intelligence)
Far EastCommand, felt that the assignment of the 301st to his command would be the most practical solution to its urgent needs, and McClure initially agreed. A decision, however, by the Army Staff G-3 (Operations) to honor the corresponding and prior need expressed by the European theater forced McClure to backtrack. Instead, he shipped to the Far East Command the 1st RB&L Group, a prototype unit stationed at . Ft. Riley
National Broadcasting Corporation Building
In the late 1940s, the 301st (Reserve) Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group met one weekend a month in the studios on the National Broadcasting Corporation in
. The unit was made up of about 35 reservists. Bob Rudick worked for NBC as a studio engineer and had been invited to join the unit on numerous occasions. He had previously served as a corporal in the 258th Field Artillery Battalion of the New York City National Guard on 155 mm howitzers. The Reserve unit wanted him because of his radio experience and contacted the Adjutant General the State National Guard to arrange for the transfer. New York State
With the onset of the Korean War, Bob decided it was time to look again at the Reserve unit. They offered him a staff sergeant position and he accepted. In a very short time he was surprised to receive orders stating that the entire unit was being called up and sent to
for training. In those days, all of the PSYOP units were trained at , Ft.Riley Kansas . On 1 May 1951, SSG Rudick found himself in Ft. Riley as a member of the 301st RB&L Group. He was probably spared going to Kansas with the 1st Group because he spoke German. At this time it was certainly just the luck of the draw where you were assigned. Korea
301st Commander Colonel Elsworth Gruber (sixth from left)
Mike Paschkes story is similar with just a few minor differences. He joined the 301st in the fall of 1950. He says that the reservists were primarily advertising people, and he was brought in by a co-worker at an advertising agency. He then brought in some high school and college friends. The commanding officer was Colonel Gruber, a linotype setter by day for the NY Daily News.
Mike had already taken his draft physical, so the Army drafted him right out of the 301st and sent him to the 540th Field Artillery Battalion at
. He says: Ft. Bragg
I kept in touch with Colonel Gruber, and after a few weeks was transferred to
Ft.Riley into the 5th Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company. One day, the Company Commander called me in and told me the 301st was being activated and was coming to . He offered to let me re-join them. When I asked what they would be doing, I was told 16 weeks of infantry basic. I said thanks but no thanks. Ft. Riley
In August 1951 the 5th Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company was shipped to a beautiful panzerkaserne in
. I stayed with them for about six months as a writer and was then transferred to 7th Army Headquarters as an editor of the 7th Army Sentinel. I was sent to Non-Commissioned Officers school in Boeblingen, Germany and was the honor graduate, but promotions were frozen so I came home in January 1953 still a Private First Class. Munich
The 301st Mobile Radio Company
The best part was that most of the people were NBC employees and as a result already knew their business. Often new units are put together with people of various backgrounds and it takes a long time for them to bond and be trained to an acceptable level. In this case, the majority of members were radio people already so they were able to hit the ground running. The unit soon started to receive draftees, but most were either college graduates, instructors, professionals or writers. Since it was the height of the Cold War, all the unit members were required to get a clearance. Allegedly, some of the
members had their entire apartment building interrogated, in one case 65 families. New York City
SSG Bob Rudick plays tanker as his riggers lift the antenna.
PFC Art Martin believes he is the soldier on the antenna in the background
The unit was made up of three companies; Headquarters, Mobile Radio Company, and the Leaflet Company. Some of the staff were sent on temporary duty assignment to
to be trained by the Gates Radio Company. They were assigned professional riggers and taught how to install a 180-foot radio tower in a chicken farm outside of town. Quincy, Illinois
Speaking of the tower, Art Martin was also a member of the 301st Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company. He worked on erecting the 180-Foot tower and its maintenance, as well as the PE-95 generators, the emergency Hydrogen barrage balloon and a long-wire antenna. The model PE-95 generator was made by D.W. Onan & Sons for the
Army Signal Corps starting in 1944. The unit weighs approximately 1550 pounds and is powered by a 4-cylinder Willys Jeep engine. US
He remembers driving the two and one-half ton truck full of hydrogen cylinders used to fill the barrage balloon from Sullivan Barracks cross country to maneuvers in a forest.
He spent much of his workday in a portable equipment shelter in the bed of another REO 2-1/2 ton truck. The M35 truck is in the 2 1/2 ton weight class and was one of many vehicles in US military service to have been referred to as the deuce and a half. The basic M35 cargo truck carried 5000 pounds across country or 10,000 pounds over roads. The M35 series formed the basis for a wide range of specialized vehicles. The M35 started out in 1949 as a design by the REO Motor Car Company.
His task was radio intercept: voice-to-tape and teletype hard copy. He had a BC-610 multi-band short-wave transmitter inside the shelter. The BC-610 radio transmitter is a medium power r-f transmitter which will transmit AM or CW signals over a range of more than 100 miles. The BC-610 radio transmitter assembly is made up of three chassis. The top chassis includes all of the r-f components. The center section contains most of the audio and modulator equipment. The bottom chassis includes the h-v power supply and overload relay. The three chassis are assembled in a sheet steel cabinet with a front panel upon which the external controls and metering instruments are mounted. The cabinet is bolted to a shock-mounted base. The weight is approximately 400 pounds.
The Troop Ship S.S. American Scout
Private First Class Martin told me about his trip to Germany and his duties there in more detail in November, 2010:
I didn't sail with the main units of the 301st nor did Edward Mangold or 1st Lt. Mosher. From Fort Riley we were off to the Brooklyn Army Base to await arrival and loading of the electronic equipment from Gates Radio Corporation onto the S.S. American Scout. She left Brooklyn between February and April, 1952. I don't have any paperwork to verify the dates. We were housed at the Brooklyn Army Base while there.
We were the only three unit members aboard the American Scout. Ed and I had the daily tasks of inspecting the hold-downs on the two trailers and mobile shelters on deck during the gray, rainy days and rolling seas that followed. Much of the equipment was still in their original shipping containers. After a couple of days, Ed and I were able to visit the bridge at night when things were less busy for the crew. Going up the English Channel one night we were able to take some readings using the radio direction finding equipment on the bridge. We actually spotted some minor errors in the ships navigation.
We arrived in Bremerhaven and were soon on a passenger train to Mannheim. Once there, a jeep driver drove Ed and me up to Sullivan Barracks. Soon afterwards our equipment arrived. The boxes of antenna parts were up in the second floor of one of the motor pool garages. There they sat until the decision was made to put it together and erect it out in the field where the transmitter trailer was located.
We painted every other mast section with red lead paint to provide enhanced visibility when it was erected. I don't know if the concrete base was pre-cast or poured by the engineers. The bottom insulator was bolted to the concrete base. The three ground anchors were positioned and screwed into the semi-sandy soil to use as temporary anchor points to assist in the assembly using the heavy duty insulator to support the first (and later all the antenna sections) until about 1/3 of the sections were in place. The first section was balanced on the insulator and temporarily guyed. Then the remaining pre-assembled sections, alternating silver (galvanized) and red, were bolted together, using temporary guy wires to keep all the sections as near vertical as possible.
Once the lower third was in place, more sections were assembled until the next guy wire location was reached. The guys were attached and adjusted to maintain the section's vertically alignment. This process was repeated up to the next guy attachment point and then repeated until the top section was bolted on. The aircraft warning lamps were attached and wired. Final adjustments to guy wire tensions and final adjustment to assure a vertical alignment just about finished the erection.
Colonel Gruber could be justifiably proud. No one got injured on the job. Finally, the aircraft warning lights wiring to the tower was connected to an electrical supply and the transmitter trailer was tied in to the lowest antenna section. That was the hard job. The tower erection took about a week after the concrete base was in place, since the sections were pre-assembled and painted while still at the motor pool. The top-most aircraft warning lamps were wired-up one late afternoon just as a good-sized thunderstorm was advancing from the direction of Mannheim. I finished that job as quickly as possible before the storm reached us.
After the tower was complete, I spent most of my duty hours monitoring various radio frequencies to be tape recorded and teletype print outs for interpretation by the intelligence section utilizing the equipment in the radio intercept shelter: a BC-610 multi-band tube-type transmitter, an antenna multiplexer (used to minimize signal fade were tuned to the same frequency using two widely-separated antennas) which was connected to a multi-band shortwave receiver. We could also record voice broadcasts on magnetic tape as well as teletype messages printed directly by the teletype printer. It was a very versatile setup for its time. I miss that equipment and would have had great fun with it after I received my amateur radio license! It was a great time and I don't regret one second of it.
Corporal Herb Herman was a member of the Headquarters Company of the 301st from 1951 to 1953. He talked about the many members of the unit that were college students, especially those like himself from
and 1st Lieutenant (professor) Albert Somit. He recalls that the unit met in the NBC studios next to the Tonight Show that starred Jerry Lester, Morey New York University and the voluptuous Dagmar. I may be showing my age now, but I remember all of them. Amsterdam
He recalls that after 90 days in
every member of the unit was awarded the Army of Occupation medal. He adds that a good number of the unit personnel had language skills and were used to translate radio transmission and printed material. The analysts within the unit compiled and catalogued intelligence. Germany
Several of the men were then put through an infiltration course three times because they were expected to be sent into
on a secret training mission to set up a radio. After each round of training the mission was cancelled. Germany
Not all of the men in the 301st RB&L Group deployed to Germany. Former Sergeant Adrian Ettlinger told me that he was drafted into the U.S. Army in January, 1949. His term of enlistment was initially 21 months, but late that year, army policy changed and draftees were released to the reserve after 12 months of service, so he was discharged in January, 1950. He could choose between five years in the inactive reserve or three years in an active reserve unit. He said:
In civilian life I had been a facilities design engineer at the Columbia Broadcasting System, with an electrical engineering degree specializing in electronics. I was first assigned to the 317th Signal Heavy Construction Battalion, an active unit sponsored by New York Telephone Company, which met in a building in lower Manhattan on the waterfront which was a major Telephone Company base. When I reported to my first meeting, I found various troops in a large hall practicing climbing telephone poles and training in pole line construction.
I told the First Sergeant that my I knew nothing of pole climbing. He sent me to a Master Sergeant in charge of reserve assignments for the New York City area who told me that he had received a letter from a Captain who commanded the Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company of the 301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group sponsored by the National Broadcasting Company. I met the captain, Bob Barnaby, an NBC engineer, in the RCA building, close to where I worked at CBS. He encouraged me to join the unit. They met once a month in an NBC studio, which very convenient for me, and I decided that a quick three years in an active unit would be preferable to a long five years in an inactive unit, so I joined.
<>I found the monthly meetings quite interesting. We had a Major who had been active in the French Underground and really understood Psychological Warfare. Then, we got the bombshell news that the unit had been activated. I was a Private First Class at the time, but, I was immediately promoted to Corporal, and after spending two weeks in that rank, became a Sergeant immediately after going on active duty. I believe just about every enlisted man in the unit went up two grades in the process of going to active duty.
At Ft. Riley, I found a friend in the Groups Sergeant Major, Roland Rose. I spent much of my time working for him. The unit, which was, in size, really the equivalent of only a company, was classified as a Group and commanded by a full Colonel who I believe was a Press Foreman at the N.Y. Daily News. It was required to maintain files of Army Regulations down to the level which was required of a Regiment. To compile such a set of regulations was a substantial clerical task, a responsibility that I took on. This involved much paper work, preparing many pages of requisitions listing just about every regulation in existence. The office which distributed the regulations was unable to send all the required documents, and they came in by dribs and drabs for months afterwards.
I believe I was the only enlisted man in the unit with an engineering degree. In fact, the only officer I knew who had a degree was Lieutenant Bob Barnaby who was promoted to Caption on active duty. Consequently, I was the most qualified electronic expert in the unit.
During our Ft. Riley training, a small group of us were sent to the Gates factory at Quincy, IL, for orientation on the radio transmitting equipment with which we were going to be supplied. I believe it was a 5KW AM transmitter. I think we spent about the week there.
The original 301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group consisted of a collection of personalities thrown together in such a way that rank and position in civilian life had no particular correlation. For instance, in theory there could be officers who had been pageboys at NBC and enlisted men who had been executives. One standing gag was that the official name of the Leaflet Company was the Reproduction Company. That was always good for a laugh. [Authors note: In this article I have used the terms interchangeably].
Spread through the ranks at all levels was a substantial mixture of people with show business experience or aspirations. Hence there was a fair amount of performing, or entertainment production skills. Consequently, a major side activity was the putting on of shows. We put on one show at Ft. Riley where I assisted with the lighting. I talked to some unit members after they returned from Germany. They told me that they had put on a number of entertainment shows for the troops stationed over there. They implied that this was a major activity and sometimes it felt like they were a traveling USO company.
So, why did Adrian not deploy to Germany with his unit? He explains:
One day, a new regulation appeared which established a series of new MOSs (Military Occupational Specialties). These MOSs were specifically for the purpose of classifying graduate engineers, and of course there was one for electrical engineers. I asked that my MOS be changed. My MOS at the time was Radio Repairman. Soon afterwards we received a telegram from the Secretary of the Army, that said, Transfer Sergeant Adrian B. Ettlinger, to the Development Detachment, Ft. Monmouth. N.J. The Development Detachment was a small laboratory charged with developing military uses of television. I had been told earlier that it was virtually impossible to get transferred out of any outfit that was on alert for shipment overseas, but my electrical engineering degree apparently worked magic at the Pentagon.
Meanwhile the unit continued to train. In July 1951 the MRB detachment operated a radio station at
and published a daily bulletin. By 14 August they were producing propaganda as part of their advanced training. Fort Riley
The USS General Maurice Rose
The unit eventually ended up on the USS General Maurice Rose. They departed in November of 1951 and immediately ran into a storm. For 3 days and nights everyone was confined to below decks as the ship rocked and the screws lifted up out of the stormy waters. The entire unit could be found circling barrels placed in the open areas for vomiting. The trip took nine long miserable days.
Staff Sergeant Larry Berman inspects a photograph negative with his loupe
Staff Sergeant Lawrence Berman of the Reproduction Company recalls the trip to
. He said: Germany
We went over on the General Maurice Rose and I vomited for 8 days.
The Groups Men Train on the Radio Equipment
The broadcast crew train on the radio equipment. This mock program was programmed at an Army base in
to demonstrate what a propaganda broadcast would sound like. Standing at the left is Corporal John O'Keefe. Germany
Corporal Len Geriputto and Private First Class Michael Stoppleman sit at their microphones and Staff Sergeant Bob Rudick at the control panel.
The Group's Barracks in Germany
Staff Sergeant Bob Rudick stands by the sign of the
301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group near
By Thanksgiving Day, 1951, the unit was deployed to
Germany, stationed in Sullivan Barracks, . SSG Rudick was the chief rigger and he finally got permission to put up his 180-foot radio antenna. But, Mannheim decided that any broadcasting from the new radio might be seen as an overt act of aggression by the Russians so the unit, although ready to broadcast was kept silent. They broadcast some very low power music and news to their own people, but otherwise it was a case of train and wait for the call. Washington DC
At the end of November 1951, the unit exhibited PSYWAR products in
Frankfurt. By January the reproduction personnel were training in the Seventh Army Printing Plant in Leiman.
European Command Patch
Nobody knew quite what to do with them in
. They were issued the European Command patch to wear on their left sleeve (General Eisenhowers old SHAEF insignia) and their collar brass was first Signal Corps, then Military Intelligence, and finally a plain American Eagle since they were unassigned to any major military organization. Germany
PFC Michael Stoppleman, CPL John OKeefe, CPL Len Geriputto and
SSG Bob Rudick of the 301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group study
the Bible of PSYOP, Paul Linebargers Psychological Warfare
To keep the men busy, several were sent around
to visit the American GIs and explain the value of psychological warfare and what it could do to benefit American forces. Bob Rudick said: Germany
We were looking for something to do and travel and lecture was the answer. We would go from one base to another all over
. It was a great tour if you wanted to sightsee, but the training kept on and on. The leaflet company got some beautiful 6-color presses and they did a great job of turning out beautiful menus for the mess hall but they were never used to win the hearts and minds of an enemy. They constantly trained at psychological warfare but I never a part of it. I spent my year and half training and traveling and then it was home. Germany
Staff Sergeant Berman of the Reproduction Company remembers being ordered to try and keep the peacetime unit busy:
We did not print any propaganda leaflets. In fact, we did not do a whole lot of any constructive work. What did we do? We ate well, frequented the Harmony Club, played ball, trained constantly and polished the multi-million dollar printing equipment. Our Company Commander Captain Peck ordered me to get the men busy on some kind of a printing project. As a training exercise I had the men print one side of a dollar greenback and they circulated them all over the Post Exchange as gag. Needless to say, the Inspector General in
found out about it and had no sense of humor. I was reamed by our company commander till I was raw, but he didn't take away my stripes. Hell, he ordered the printing exercise! Washington
The unit must have been doing some PSYOP work. In a unit publications entitled Whos Who and where they hang their hats the Reproduction company apologizes for the delay by saying:
The incessant cried for publication of a long-awaited unit directory made the task of placing it at the bottom of the pile difficult; but the reproduction of PSYWAR material, deemed more important, necessitated it.
Reproduction Company, already working two shifts and lacking sufficient personnel to initiate a lobster shift, was floundering amid the ever-increasing material to be printed.
For instance, on 1 May 1952, the units first anniversary on active duty, they staged a leaflet drop in front of group headquarters. On 20 May the 7878 Augmentation Detachment (Balloon) was attached to the 301st. On 23 May, they broadcast their first radio program from Sullivan Barracks.
By this time the unit had grown to about 125 enlisted men and 37 officers. The unit commander was Colonel Gruber. In his civilian life he was a printer for the New York Daily News. The newspaper was owned by the
family, and by some coincidence his son Robert Patterson was assigned to the Headquarters Company as were Colonel Grubers two sons. Patterson
The Announcer's Booth
The Control Room in the Studio Trailer
Just about all of the equipment in the radio station was supplied by Gates Radio. The studio had one control room and one announcer booth. It also had Gates turntables and tape recorders. The transmitter could push out 50,000 watts.
The Portable Mixer
A portable mixer is a panel for multiple Microphones. The photograph above depicts a three-position mixer that can accept three microphones and balance the output of each microphone and a master overall output control. If more than three microphones are in use you can wire more of the mixers together.
The Groups 33-foot Studio Trailer
In addition, there were two 33-foot trailers, one for the studio and the other for the transmitter. Both were run by diesel generators.
SSG Rudick left the 301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group in December 1952 after serving his two-year tour of duty.
Sergeant Robert W. Beller wrote a poem about the unit. I quote a small part of it here:
Our Army has something it has not had before,
Its tactics have turned pedagological;
This new kind of fighting is labeled PSWAR,
But its somewhat more psycho than logical.
In the past our men knew the meaning of strife,
Each man was well-armed and a killer
But he fought with a Mauser a Luger or knife
Not a page out of Goethe or Shiller.
Pecks Bad Boys
I have been unable to find any of the leaflets or posters created by the 301st during their deployment to
. I did find a small souvenir booklet created by the unit to commemorate their tour, and with the title honoring the Reproduction Company Commander Captain Roy Peck. Germany
Captain Roy Peck
The booklet says in regard to Captain Peck:
He was a newspaperman - a publisher from
Riverton, Wyoming when he was recalled to active duty [He was in the 84th Infantry Division during WWII] and assigned to the 301st RB&L Group at Ft.Riley Kansas. He knew the printing business first-hand from leads and slugs to four-color pictorials He was a captain who knew his army from buck private to combat-experienced commanding officer, decorated several times, an old hand at leading men.
His men were a mix of specialties:
Then we started arriving Pecks Bad Boys some from the infantry, some from the engineers, from ordnance, the artillery, the signal corps, quartermaster and armor too Most of us were fresh out of basic training. We had been sent to join Captain Peck in forming one of the first reproduction companies of its type in Army history.
Cynical, thankless, apathetic when we walked in new men with a company spirit de corps and sincere gratitude when we walked out.
This ends our brief look at one of the early PSYOP Groups that was not sent into battle. At present we have little information on the 301st but we hope that our readers will remedy that situation. They must have been doing something important in
because the Army Field Manual on Psychological Warfare says: Germany
Both the 1st [in
Korea] and 301st [in ] RB&L Groups concurrently engaged in psychological warfare and support to unconventional warfare (UW). Germany
The author would like to hear from other members of the group and members of other units that are seldom mentioned in psychological warfare articles. Kindly contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.