The 361st Psychological Operations
Company in Iraq

SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)

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The 361st Patch is the same as the US Army's Civil Affairs
and Psychological Operations Command (CAPOC) Patch.
The translation for the 12th POB Crest is "Change the Heart”.

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The 1290th Tactical PSYOP Detachment (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), made up of members of the 361st PSYOP Company in Bothell, Washington, is currently serving in Iraq. The Detachment consists of 15 members (one since wounded and evacuated), and during April 2005 had three two-man and one three-man teams in support of five Maneuver Battalions. The Detachment teams are numbered TPT 1291 through 1294 and operate in Mosul. There is also a production cell, TPDD, operating in Mosul.

The members trained with the 1st Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division Strykers from September 2003 to June 2004.  This included joint readiness training, battle command training, weapons familiarization with the M16 and other armaments, hand grenade qualification, and convoy protection with live fire.  For the National Training Center and the Joint Readiness Training Center they rail-loaded their equipment, deployed with, and trained with the brigade. The Stryker, the combat vehicle of choice for the Army’s Interim Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs), is a highly deployable wheeled armored vehicle that combines firepower, battlefield mobility, survivability and versatility, with reduced logistics requirements. The Pentagon hopes to replace some of the heavier, less deployable armored tracked vehicles with the light and faster wheeled Stryker.

I should take a moment to discuss the U.S. Army PSYOP Organization. The reader should understand that the organization changes over time as new doctrine and equipment is authorized and fielded. At the time this article was written the system was the following:

The 4th PSYOP Group consists of six active Duty PSYOP battalions:

1st PSYOP Battalion – Southern Command
3rd PSYOP Battalion – Dissemination
5th PSYOP Battalion – Pacific Command
6th PSYOP Battalion – European Command
8th PSYOP Battalion – Central Command
9th PSYOP Battalion – Tactical

There are two Army Reserve PSYOP Groups. The 2nd PSYOP Group consists of four PSYOP battalions and 15 PSYOP companies. The 7th PSYOP Group consists of four PSYOP battalions and 13 PSYOP companies.

Each PSYOP Battalion can support a corps. Within the PSYOP battalions are Tactical PSYOP Companies (TPC), each of which can support a division. The Companies are made up of Tactical PSYOP Detachments (TPD), each of which can support a brigade. The team is idyllically made up of a Detachment Commander (CPT), Detachment NCOIC (SSG) and two PSYOP specialists (SPC) equipped with two M1025 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) and both an AEM450/900 (1000-1800 meters range) vehicle loudspeaker and LSB-40B (700-1000 meters range) dismounted loudspeaker. The detachments can be broken up into Tactical PSYOP Teams (TPT), each of which can support a battalion. The team is idyllically made up of a team leader (SSG), Assistant team leader (SGT) and a PSYOP specialist (SPC) equipped with two HMMWVs and both a vehicle and dismounted loudspeaker.

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Risograph

The Detachment has two Risographs and two paper cutters. The Risograph is a high speed, multifunctional digital printing system. It combines three basic technologies: scanning, precision imaging, and high speed printing. There is no clerical headquarters so all of the work is done by the unit members. The detachment Commander, Captain England, reports directly to the Corps PSYOP Support Element. The Detachment developed and produced much of the material that they disseminated. Most of the psychological warfare leaflets and posters developed by the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force are targeted at Baghdad and some of the message is lost when distributed in Mosul. Therefore, the Detachment has printed leaflets, handbills, stickers, posters, billboards, newspapers, T-shirts, TV and radio spots. 

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2 ton hydraulic paper cutter

The supported 1st brigade has helped the PSYOP troops by purchasing both a Risograph and a 2 ton hydraulic paper cutter to speed the production and dissemination of the printed products. The Detachment is a firm believer in the use of the propaganda leaflet and airdrops them as often as possible. SFC Shawn W. McElravy, the non-commissioned officer in charge told me, “If you need to get a lot of product out quickly, then do a leaflet drop.”

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Map of Mosul leaflet drop targets

SFC McElravy sent me a report on a leaflet drop scheduled for 5 April 2005. The major themes of the leaflet mix were reward offers for information on insurgents who make and use improvised explosive devices (IEDs), to counter enemy recruitment themes in Mosul University, and to support the Legitimacy of the new Iraqi government. The 480,000 leaflets were dropped over nine designated locations in Mosul. As stated earlier, all of the leaflets were designed and produced by the 1290th TPD.

The aircraft crews do not care for the standard leaflet boxes so the Detachment uses standard Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE) boxes modified for leafleting. They cut four holes in the bottom of the MRE Box, feed through standard 550 parachute cord, tie and tap it off with “100 MPH” duct tape to make a handle.  The tape is GI Issue, waterproof, all temperature, with a woven cloth backing. It comes in military colors between olive drab and dark green. The MRE boxes are also reinforced with 100 MPH tape along the bottom outside of the box.  In the aircraft they hold the box by the handle at the edge of the door and dump it with a jerking motion on command.  Each box holds 20,000 2 x 4-inch leaflets. They call their prototype leaflet box “the gutter clogger 3000.”

The leaflet team then does a complete rehearsal of the operation. They plan the placement of boxes for loading on the aircraft, marking the pickup zone, loading the aircraft, what to do in the event of contact, and what to do in the event of catastrophic aircraft failure.

They then rehearse actions in the aircraft to include how will the boxes in the aircraft be configured, the order of targets to assure that the proper leaflets are dropped on the correct target, who will be where in the aircraft, which side will drop first, what do in the event of contact, and what to do in the event of catastrophic aircraft failure. The Detachment believes that rehearsing and having its tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP’s) rehearsed to perfection are the keys to success. This efficiency will also demonstrate to the flight crew that they are competent, professional, and not a danger to the aircraft or the crew. 

Once the helicopters arrive and upon boarding, the Drop Controller dons a headset to remain in contact with the aircraft crew throughout the mission.   Although the drop controller gives the commands to the droppers, the controller is guided by the aircraft commander. The total time to load the 24 leaflet boxes and board the crew is less than five minutes. The drop crew is then secured to the aircraft with a harness. Each dropper must see the Drop Controller snap their link onto the floor of the helicopter.  All Drop Crew personnel must have a Riggers Belt. The product boxes are lined up in the middle of the aircraft for easy access from either side.

The military has always believed that the after-action report is one of the most important elements of any operation. Upon successful completion they discuss the mission. They ask such questions as, “What went right?” They then critique the mission. “Were any boxes lost during the drop?” “What could have gone better?” Finally, they refine the TTP’s if necessary.

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SGT Joel Springer stacks the leaflets prior to a mission.

Tactical PSYOP Detachment 1290 had conducted 7 leaflet missions as of April 2005. They have dropped 2,116,000 leaflets over Mosul and Tall‘Afar.  The biggest operation was over the Iraqi polling sites on 28 January. On that Friday evening they dropped over 649,000 leaflets in less than one hour on 9 market locations throughout Mosul. Friday night was selected for the drop since Saturday is Market Day in Mosul

Perhaps the most interesting comment was the final line in the report, “Always be sure to bring extra leaflets for the flight crews.”

We ask that you always put aside a few extra leaflets for the Psywarrior site too, so we can depict them in these PSYOP studies we do in support of U. S. Army psychological operations.

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SSG Jack Lewis posts an al Zarqawi wanted poster on a wall in Sinjar,
western Nineweh Province, Iraq. He is watched by a Kurdish boy.

SGT Kevin C. Alberg, Team Leader of TPT 1294 told me what he had learned during his deployment:

Leaflets and handbills are still effective.   However, dissemination requires constant vigilance and repetition of effort.   I'm told by several local nationals that Saddam's propaganda machine was most robust.  Unlike U.S. PSYOP efforts, which are based on truthful information, Saddam's was propaganda of the ugliest form. Because people have been exposed to that for so long, an occasional indifference to print products is sometimes encountered. So, we have to find a way to drive our point home.

Face-to-face PSYOP still works best and tactical loudspeaker employment is effective too. I've seen marked improvements with Multi-National Forces and everyday Iraqis due to two main things:  the newer lighter military units are exceedingly Information Operations (IO) focused due to astute command elements.  Line infantry soldiers now freely disseminate print products and ask the right questions. 

In addition, PSYOP troops are seeing that being courteous to the local nationals is essential.  We always knew that, but what we see daily is that taking it a step further and being kind to the Iraqi children tends to get them to warm to you.  It takes a while and tons of candy and small tokens. However, besides it being the right thing to do, we also have a practical reason.  On my team we say, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”  When we are out handing out candy and getting mobbed by the youth, we can distribute hundreds of products that invariably are taken straight back to the parents by sugar-fueled, smiling children.   

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Stencil Propaganda

The use of a stencil to place crude propaganda on a wall quickly has a long history among Third World nations and Guerilla movements. They often do not have the time or expertise to produce professional-quality illustrated leaflets or posters, or the money to buy paper or pay for a means of dissemination. The stencil is an easy answer to the problem of mass communication at almost no expense. The stencil can be cut anywhere in the form of a text or illustration. It takes just seconds for a single person to hold it against the wall, spray it quickly with a small easily hidden can of spray paint, and move on. This has not been an American tradition in the past, but according to the Year in Special Operations 2006 Edition, Faircount LLC, Tampa FL, 2006, American PSYOP teams are using the method in Iraq. The photograph above depicts Sergeant Bill Whitaker of the 361st PSYOP Company stenciling “anti-terrorist propaganda” on the wall of a building in Mosul with a stencil and spray paint. Stenciled propaganda, like graffiti, cannot be easily removed from a wall and it would require someone to actually paint over the stencil.

Staff Sergeant Jack Lewis mentions covering graffiti in Nothing in Reserve: true stories, not war stories:

Patrolling one of the better neighborhoods among decently built homes and new construction, I felt my way from gate to gate barehanded so my good kangaroo and Nomex gloves wouldn’t get gummed up with spray glue. Spray glue was our primary weapon system for bullseyeing hearts and minds. By the end of the evening, my hands would be black as usual, and I would spend the trip back rubbing hand sanitizer on them and picking the rubbery residue off my palms. If a wall said “POST NO BILLS” in Arabic, we would have posted over it. All graffiti was assumed to be hostile, unless it bore a product number from MNCI. The three of us would tear down enemy propaganda and replace it with friendly product (remember, kids, we don’t do propaganda).

PSYOP Leaflets

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Leaflet IZB1eP3-3006

Leaflet 3006 is interesting because it was observed that the Special Forces and Iraqi National Guard used bright red-orange packing slips to mark the doors on houses, businesses and hotel rooms they had searched. The PSYOP Detachment thought that the gummed 9 5/8 x 3 3/8 inches slip could be modified to carry a message and the tip line address. They printed a larger slip for facilities that are known to be used by the insurgents that says the property is subject to destruction if the activity does not cease. Text on the modified packing slip is:

Terrorists have been operating from this neighborhood. Searches in this area will continue until terrorist activity ceases.

If you have information about terrorist activities and want to inform the authorities, please call, or email today.

You do not have to identify yourself and you can still collect a reward. Help the ISF build a better, safer Iraq.

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Leaflet IZB3jG3-3008

The image of the AC130 Spectre Gunship was used on a number of leaflets. Leaflet 3008 is the version designed by the 2019th Detachment. At the upper left and lower right Spectre patches are depicted. At the Upper right the crew mans a gunship weapon, and at the lower left the ship is pictured firing at night. The center of the leaflet depicts a Spectre firing a daylight mission. The text is:

ATTENTION!

Enemies of the Iraqi People.

This is the AC-130H Spectre Gunship. This airplane is a heavily armed C130 cargo aircraft and it has the “green eyes.”

This aircraft can find you, see what you are doing, and destroy you anytime, anywhere, in any weather. This equipment has been brought to the people of Mosul by the Provincial Governor to provide security for the elections on January 30th, 2005.

The “green eyes” in the text refer to night vision devices.

One leaflet that depicts the new Iraqi Army members as super heroes is coded 3010. The insignia of the new army is at the upper left and on the chest of the soldier. He is pictured fighting terrorists with the text as bottom:

Real Iraqi Heroes

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Leaflet 3017 – The Calling Card

Leaflet 3017 is almost humorous. It depicts 13 photographs of American troops interacting with Iraqis, on patrol, doing searches and traffic stops. The text is:

Sorry you were out when we popped by for a visit. But don’t worry. We’ll catch up with you and your friends real soon!

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Leaflet IZA2eG3-3020 – Traffic Stop

Leaflet 3020 is smaller than usual at just 4 1/8 x 2 3/8-inches. On the front it depicts a soldier checking the driving area of a motor vehicle. The text is:

ATTENTION

CITIZENS OF NINEWAH PROVINCE

In support of the Iraqi Governments State of Emergency, Iraqi Security Forces and Multi-National Forces have set up random checkpoints and are performing vehicle searches along all routes into the area. Remain in your vehicle unless ordered otherwise.

The back of the leaflet is all text:

ATTENTION

FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY

Follow all instructions given by Security Force personnel.

Make no show of hostility at any time.

Do no attempt to transport weapons of any kind.

Refrain from travel unless absolutely necessary.

Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to checkpoint personnel. 

!! ANY AND ALL SUSPICIOUS PERSONS WILL BE IMMEDIATELY DETAINED AND QUESTIONED !!

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Leaflet IZB1jG3-3026 – Counter-battery fire

Leaflet 3026 was printed in November 2004 to warn the insurgents that the Americans now had direct counter-battery fire ability. The oversized 8 1/2 x 5 1/2-inch leaflet depicts Americans firing artillery. The illustration is identical on both sides except that one side is in a dark ultramarine blue and the other side is printed in red. The text is:

Attention AIF

Where ever you fire your mortars from you are in range of our guns. Now you are subject to counter fire at our discretion.

M198 Howitzer – up to 30 kilometer range – 46.8 kilogram shell.

Your days of firing without retaliation are over.

If you have information about terrorist activities in your area call the number on the back. You do not have to give your name to receive a reward. Please, for your family's sake, call today.

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IZB1eD33031 - Cash

This 6 1/8 x 2 1/2-inch leaflet depicts a U.S. $100 bill on one side with the text:

Rewards are being offered for useful information on terrorist activities. You don’t have to give your name to receive a reward. Call today or notify Iraqi security forces in your area.

The back of the leaflet depicts an Iraqi 25,000-dinar note and the text:

Help make Mosul safe and get the money your loving family so desperately needs. You don’t have to give your name to receive a reward. Call today or notify Iraqi security forces in your area.

The quality of this leaflet is very good because the Detachment had it privately printed in Dahuk. As a result, it is sharper and clearer than one printed by the Risograph. 

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Leaflet 3045

Radio leaflet 3045 pictures a portable radio and the text:

YOUR VOICE

The new radio show that gives you the chance to give your opinion!
Monday – Wednesday – Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
A radio show where you can call and debate the major issues of the day.
Call in and have your voice heard.
Tune in to FM 88.7 for call in numbers. Show starts Thursday,
November 29th!
Al Iraqia Radio FM 88.7

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Leaflet IZA3eG3-3062

Leaflet 3062 depicts destroyed buildings in the city of Mosul. The text is:

The terrorists did this to the citizens of Mosul.
They will continue to destroy unless you say “Enough is enough.”

Stand up to the terror to insure the survival of Iraq January 20, 2005.

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Leaflet 3088 – Iraqi Security Forces

Leaflet 3088 depicts and American and an Iraqi Soldier on the front. The text is:

On January 30th the people of Iraq raised their voices against terror. Today, tomorrow, and always, the men and women of the Iraqi Security Forces raise their fists as well.

The back of the leaflet depicts four photographs of U.S. and Iraqi forces dealing with the public and terrorists. The text is:

Breaking up black-market fuel operations to keep your fuel prices down.

Seeking out and ridding your neighborhoods of deadly terrorist devices.

Using you called in tips to locate and capture terrorist leaders and minions.

Iraqi men and women placing their lives at risk to insure your family’s safety.

The leaflet ends with phone numbers and E-mail addresses in Mosul and Tall’Afar, which are blocked out here to protect against spam.

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Leaflet IZA5eG3-3097

Leaflet 3097 is a large poster-leaflet that depicts Iraq police and Army at the top and happy Iraqi children at the bottom. The text is:

The Iraqi Security Forces and the people of Ninewah.
Partners in a new and better Iraq.
You stood against terror by voting, but it does not end there.
Help your Security Forces stand against criminals by continuing to provide tips and information.

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Leaflet IZA5eG3-3098

Leaflet 3098 depicts Iraqi Security forces with a cache of terrorist explosives and weapons. The text is:

Your Iraqi Security Forces are working hard to protect you.
This cache was found with your assistance.
Now these weapons will never be used to harm innocent Iraqis like you and your children.
People like you called the Hotline to report illegal activities to their local security forces.
The Iraqi Security Forces are here to serve and protect.
They are willing to sacrifice their lives for you.

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Leaflet IZB3eD3-3112

Leaflet 3112 depicts a destroyed automobile, an improvised explosive device, and a bombed building. The text is:

Improvised explosive devices kill innocent Iraqis!
Terrorists bring only death and destruction.
Don’t let evil men destroy this great country.
Don’t let them rob you of your future.
Report them!

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Leaflet 3114 – Mosul Students

Leaflet 3114 depicts a group of happy Iraqi students at Mosul University and attempts to convince them to ignore the call of the insurgents who recruits for volunteers. The text is:

Don’t let terrorists rob you of your future. Call the hotline on the back with any information about terrorist activities.

Two photographs depict students at the university on the back. The text is:

The Youth of Iraq are its greatest treasure. Every day, more of Iraq’s youth become educated and learn the skills today to become great leaders tomorrow. Don’t let a group of murderous terrorists destroy their bright future.

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Leaflet 3121 – Tip Line

Leaflet 3121 depicts a road block through night vision glasses. The text is:

Thanks to you Mosul, six terrorists were captured in this raid.

The tip line works.

Two of the captured are Abu Shealan and Hussien Ali Ahmid.

With a call to the tip line and verified by a jailed Muslim extremist, two active terrorists were captured on this street in the Eslah Zarai neighborhood of Mosul.

Abu Shealan was a Jeish Ansar al-Sunna weapons dealer.

Hussien Ali Ahmid confessed to beheading Iraqis who worked for the Coalition.

Enough is enough. You don’t have to live in fear any longer

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Leaflet IZB1eDe-3143 – Poor Gunnery

Leaflet 3143 depicts and Iraqi mother and child. The text is:

MORTARS kill innocent Iraqis, including many women and children

Terrorists shoot mortars at ISF and Multi-National Forces, but have little success. Those that are hurt by these cowardly attacks are innocent Iraqis. Report them before they can hurt even more innocent Iraqis.

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Leaflet IZB1eD3-3146

A very imaginative scene is depicted on leaflet 3146. A horde of locusts is seen eating holes in a map of Iraq. The text is:

Foreign fighters are like locusts, eating away the prosperity of Iraq. Good Iraqis will not allow foreign terrorism to destroy Iraq’s bright future.

Do not let foreign killers threaten your community’s safety! Provide information about these criminals to your heroic Iraqi Security Forces.

 

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Leaflet 4000 - Convicted

Leaflet 4000 depicts a convicted criminal. Curiously, this leaflet was not as popular as might be expected because many Iraqis felt that the sentence was too light. Most law-abiding Iraqis want terrorists punished harshly, and although 10 years in an Iraqi prison seems strong from an American viewpoint, some Iraqis demand the immediate execution of captured terrorists. Old customs die hard. The text is:

Meet Abdullah

Guilty

I would like to introduce to you, Abdullah Adiya Abdullah al Jabouri, and he is from Hamman al Alil.On the 6th of April 2005 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison by an Iraqi court for Terrorism activities.

PSYOP Loudspeaker Operations

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SGT Joe Diraddo uses the unmounted manpack loudspeaker in the
al Sarai neighborhood in Tall'Afar, Nineveh Province, Iraq.
The message is in regard to cooperation with the new national
govenment and a warning to stay off the streets during a
large-area cordon and search by Iraqi Intervention Forces,

The 2090th does limited loudspeaker operations. The Battalion prefers that they do mostly face-to-face contact, the method that every study has shown to be the most effective way to communicate. They do occasionally broadcast messages, but generally use the "manpack." The detachment has done several very successful loudspeaker operations with members of the 82nd Airborne Division at traffic control points and during cordon searches and raids. 

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SSG Jack Lewis broadcasts using the Long Range Acoustical
Device from Tall'Afar Castle out over the al Sarai neighborhood.
One of the unit members was shot in the hand at this site.

The Long Range Acoustical Device (LRAD) was originally built for the U.S. Navy, intended to warn boaters out of the 500-meter exclusion zone around their warships. There was a rumor that it could kill a person standing directly in front of it. Not true. It might make you sick, and you will definitely wish you hadn’t, but according to the manufacturer, this is a non-lethal acoustical effects system. It’s a big, black disc, maybe three feet across and about six inches thick, and it will reach out and touch someone at over 1,000 meters. It is ideal for PSYOP applications. The LRAD becomes increasingly directional as distances to targets increase. It forms a “tight beam” of sound that is exceptionally clear – if somewhat unpleasant – to an individual or group that is acquired, literally, in its sights.The LRAD has a sighting system.It’s an “iron sight,” and people sit up and take notice a full kilometer away.

Tests proved that a broadcast could be heard clearly by a dismounted unit in a cemetery over 1,400 meters distant from the LRAD’s position. The LRAD runs on A.C. power but is adaptable. During distance tests at 100 meters, the sound was painful to listeners, even with hands held over the ears and ear plugs in. At 300 meters, they could understand every word, still with his hands over plugged ears. At 800 meters, they could hear every syllable through ear plugs. The LRAD was deployed atop Tall’Afar Castle, overlooking the al Sarai neighborhood. The first time it was used Iraqis walking the streets stopped and stared. Impact indicators went through the roof and Iraqis were seen writing down the counter-terrorism tip-line number at over 600 meters range. The LRAD has proven useful for clearing streets and rooftops during cordon and search, for disseminating command information, and for drawing out enemy snipers who are subsequently destroyed by our own snipers.

On 5 November 2005 the LRAD made headlines when a group of armed pirates attempted to board the 10,000-ton cruise ship Seabourn Spirit 100 miles off the coast of Somalia. The ship retaliated with the earsplitting noise of a directed sound beam and escaped. The devices have been deployed on commercial and naval vessels worldwide since summer 2003.

Vehicle-mounted sonic weapons have been used by the Israeli military in the Gaza and Lebanon. The sound is described “as being hit by a wall of air that is painful on the ears, sometimes causing nosebleeds and 'leaving you shaking inside.”

The U.S. Navy has about 60 of the devices in Iraq and other regions. Several U.S. law enforcement agencies also use the device.

The belief among some of the Detachment members is that the LRAD isn’t perfect for all tactical environments, but is a valuable PSYOP tool.  One should be issued to each deploying tactical PSYOP detachment, to be utilized by the team that can make the best case for requiring it. Reproduction quality on the LRAD amplifies hisses and pops to an uncomfortable degree.The key to minimizing this phenomenon is careful attention to making good connections, not moving cables during broadcast, and keeping connectors clean and dry. One man can carry the LRAD, but not much else.It weighs about 45 lbs., and you need an extension cord, your input device, and other equipment. The LRAD is a bullet magnet. It is not easily concealed. Area security considerations are therefore very important. The drawbacks are weight and the fact that it does not  authentically reproduce sound. Instead, it reproduces sound in a manner intended to carry great distances to point targets and convey messages with authority. The LRAD is most suitable for fixed site broadcast but leaves the user open to enemy fire. It is also fragile. Its large, open-faced speaker membrane is subject to damage from elbows, rifle muzzles or enemy fire.

Notice the statement that the LRAD will draw fire. This can be attested to by SP4 Joshua Yuse who came under sniper fire while broadcasting on the roof of Tall’Afar Castle just prior to the Iraqi elections. He immediately picked up his rifle and took up a security position along the battlements. The sniper hit him in his forward hand; the slug bounced off his rifle and dug into his armored vest. A fragment of the bullet jacket flew up and cut his chin to the bone. His sergeant told me proudly:

While waiting to be evacuated Yuse trained up a communications sergeant on how to run the LRAD and kept the mission on track. He secured, or caused to be secured, all of his sensitive items and PSYOP equipment. He told everybody not to worry about him, and reminded them to keep their heads down. He was treated by fellow soldiers on the spot and then evacuated to the 67th Combat Support Hospital by a UH60 Blackhawk helicopter. He had surgery at the 67th, and then was loaded unto a C130 for transport to Landstuhl. As they loaded him onto the C130, he was fretting about letting down the detachment by flying out to Germany. Corporal Yuse is currently undergoing occupational therapy in the United States.

Guest columnist Sergeant Jack Lewis wrote about Specialist Yuse in an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of March 6, 2005. At the same time Yuse was broadcasting, Lewis was scheduled to be in one of the military’s Stryker armored vehicles, broadcasting pro-election messages, pre-recorded in Arabic, from a man-pack loudspeaker system. Yuse was shot before Lewis began his portion of the mission. He tells about hearing of the fire-fight:

But I never went out on my mission today. After I put together a briefing memo for the squadron commander, I ran straight into the battle captain.

He said, "It's good you're here. Yuse's your guy, right? We got a report he was shot in the neck..."

"WHAT?"

"…but apparently he was wounded in the hand. A fragment hit him in the chin, and it bled all over, and they thought he had a neck wound."

As the medics worked on him, Yuse said:

I'll tell you one thing. These elections better work. They better get democracy, and freedom, and their rights, and hot chicks in tight jeans. I hope I didn't take this bullet for nothing.

SGT Lewis made sure that Yuse kept his interceptor body armor with the souvenir slug in one pocket. His weapon, which caught the bullet as it exited through the meat of Yuse's left thumb was "non-mission capable" and irreparable.

SGT Yuse has since been was awarded the Army Commendation medal with “V” for valor device for his actions on the day he was wounded. By September of 2005 his hand had healed enough for him to attend and graduate the United States Army Air Assault Course.

Since returning home, Jack Lewis, a University of Southern California writing major participated in the 2008 Oscar-nominated documentary Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. One of the chapters in the documentary was Lewis’ story Road Work, about an elderly Iraqi who loses his will to live after his son is killed. Lewis appears and is interviewed in the film and is currently working on a memoir of his nine-year experience with the military entitled The Soldier Next Door.

In 2011, Lewis wrote his book entitled: Nothing in Reserve, True Stories, not War Stories, Kindle Edition. This time he identified the wounded soldier as Specialist Will Mandeville. He said about the wounded soldier (and this is a compliment if you think about it):

Mandeville was a near-total dingbat with no sense of planning who still managed to get things done; a lazy sloth who worked like a sled dog. He was a good kid with bad manners; a high school tennis champion constantly tripping over his own size twelves. This was the overgrown boy I had to kick out of the rack every morning, remind him to check the oil, bring his gloves on mission, and shower periodically.

Defense Update, the International Online Defense Magazine added that the LRAD can issue a verbal challenge with instructions in excess of 500 meters and has the capability of following up with a warning tone to influence behavior or determine intent.

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Medium Range Acoustic Device (MRAD)

I had a discussion with Robert "Ryk" Williams, the Land-Based LRAD Project Manager from American Technology Corporation about the perceived problems with the weight and the delicacy of the system. He pointed out that they were currently in service with the 3rd Infantry Division, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 44th Engineer Battalion, and others in Iraq. He said that the PSYOP community had been slow to embrace this latest acoustic spiral development technology although he believed that the LRAD was a quantum leap forward in sound technology. He was aware that there had been comments about the weight of the system. He added:

As a side note, we recently fielded a Medium Range Acoustic Device (MRAD) that is lighter and more portable than the LRAD while delivering the same level of clarity and intelligibility at extended ranges. In other words, we heard the requirement for smaller and lighter and we have delivered.

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The Detachment Radio Station at dusk

PSYOP Radio

Tactical PSYOP Team (TPT) 1291 was tasked with constructing and commissioning a fully functioning FM radio station at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Sykes, in the vicinity of Tall’Afar, Nineveh Province, Iraq.  None of the team members had operated a radio station before or attempted building one, but the mission was accepted and accomplished. The team consisted of Team Leader Staff Sergeant Jack Lewis, Assistant Team Leader Sergeant Christopher Shone, Corporal Yuse, (a PSYOP specialist who was wounded and evacuated before the radio station operation began), and Sergeant Joe DiRaddo (not actually part of the team but an NCO who was always ready to help out when and where he was needed).

Working with Iraqi nationals employed by Iraqi Media Network, and with capable assistance from Brigade Information Operations officer Major Mark Smith and several key employees of Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) at Forward Operating Base Sykes near Tall’Afar, the radio station was commissioned in April, 2005.It broadcasts at 1,000 watts through an antenna atop a 90-foot tower; sufficient power to reach every resident of Tall’Afar to the north and several surrounding villages and farmsteads.The tower and two semi-trailers are grounded via 12-foot copper rods, courtesy of KBR who also fabricated a light for the top of the tower to avert clearance issues with the frequent helicopter traffic at FOB Sykes.  Its satellite dish accepts a coded Iraqi Media Network (IMN) feed from the Arab Satellite Communications Network (ARABSAT) 24 hours a day. ARABSAT was established 14 April 1976 by the member states of the Arab League with the goal of serving the needs of Telecommunication, Information, Culture and Education sectors in accordance with International Standards.

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The Detachment Radio Production office with mixing board, CD and audio tape inputs

The station itself is contained within one semi-articulated trailer, and includes a 1 kilowatt transmitter, FM exciter, power entry, production office with mixer and various inputs, and sound-insulated studio with dual microphones.It has the capability of accepting live telephone calls for live talk radio programming. A second trailer contains a 400-kilowatt Cummins generator and sufficient diesel storage capacity to power the station for several days between re-fueling.

The station is a powerful PSYOP tool, functioning as a platform for a variety of information operations content including re-broadcasting the state-run al Iraqia (IMN) programming.This provides an opportunity for area citizens to receive political reporting, social commentary and news stories from all over the nation of Iraq.  IMN programming is periodically interrupted to provide locally produced talk shows with Iraqi Army generals, PSYOP team-produced public service announcements, counter-terror messages, and command information from the U.S. forces commander.

TPT 1291 also devised a useful tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) of re-broadcasting the radio station over loudspeakers in town by performing battlefield circulation while playing the output of its MP3/DVR/FM receiver through its vehicle-mounted loudspeakers system.

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PSYOP Sergeant Christopher Shone on duty at the mixing board

Who listens to “al Iraqia,” the name that the staff calls their radio station? SSG Jack Lewis told me:

To be sure that local people of influence could hear the message the local Corps PSYOP Support Element sent the Detachment 600 radios for distribution to Iraqi nationals. These radios, manufactured in China by Grundig, are AM/FM and will run on either batteries or by a hand-cranked dynamo. They can be dropped by air.

We passed them out to target audiences of influential muktars, school teachers, etc.  Each radio was marked with the frequency and network name of our broadcast (FM 89.5 al Iraqia!), and prepacked in its little case with several PSYOP products including counter-terror tip line telephone numbers and "reward for info" offers printed on cash-like backgrounds.

Every show opened with an Islamic invocation in Arabic. As far as original programming, we did an extensive interview with the local Iraqi Army commanding general. The general came prepared with a speech that was approved by the 2nd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Commander. We wrote some scripts and question and answer sheets with local squadron commander approval. All the messages were read by Iraqi interpreters.

Another regular feature we put on was a morning show that gave the weather, major local and regional happenings, and a quick interpretation of national events in regional terms. For instance, we might tell the listeners, “The successes of the Kurdish National Party in January's elections may affect Sinjar by...” or “Regrettably, terrorists have destroyed another...” The messages were read by a female interpreter. We also broadcast appeals to turn over terrorists (with tip line given), plus command information on the way operations may affect commerce, proper pricing for gasoline, how to respond to traffic control points, cordon & search operations, etc.  When we weren't producing local content, the station played the IMN feed day and night. 

No one was ever assigned to the radio station. It was just assumed that we were the closest thing they had to experts, so we did our best. Tactical PSYOP Team 1291 -- all both of us -- served as general contractors, producers, directors, technicians, constructors, electricians, refuelers and janitors.

Author’s note: I mention the Grundig radio in my article “Strange Gifts from Above.” In regard to Afghanistan, there was a recommendation to use the Grundig FR220 radio. It worked well in the mountainous terrain and was battery and dynamo powered. The 10th Mountain Division psychological operations officer headed the purchase of 100,000 FR200 Grundig Emergency Radios for Coalition Joint Task Force (CJTF) 180 to be delivered to Bagram, Afghanistan. Over 30,000 Grundig radios had been distributed by the time he left Afghanistan in April 2004.

The FOB Sykes radio station was Formerly known as “Rattlesnake Radio” in honor of the 2-14 Cavalry “Rattlesnake” Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron, it is now informally referred to as “Sabre Radio.” Although presently run by PSYOP personnel, the station is a wholly-owned asset of the Iraq elected government.

The operation of the radio station at FOB Sykes has now passed into the hands of Tactical PSYOP Detachment (TPD) 1680, and will soon pass on to TPD 1720, who will operate it under the auspices of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Due to the substantial size of the area of responsibility (nearly 17,000 square kilometers stretching from the city of Mosul to the Syrian border), TPT 1291 – a two-man team at the end of its tour – was replaced by a full detachment consisting of three teams and a production cell.

Captain Corbin England, the Commander of Tactical PSYOP Detachment 2090 summed it up for me:

I have been blessed to have the caliber of soldiers in my command.  The successes of the detachment, and there are many, rest squarely upon their shoulders.  Their professionalism made my job all that much easier.

Second I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the successes were due inlarge part to the 1st BDE (SBCT) of the 25th Infantry Division Brigade Commander Colonel Robert Brown. From day one he made utilizing non-lethal assets such as PSYOP a priority.  This priority in turn was instilled into his Battalion Commanders.  That made doing our job that much easier.  TPD 1290 was very fortunate to integrate with the Brigade so early.  We had opportunities to demonstrate what PSYOP can contribute to the mission during training exercises at the National Training Center and Joint Readiness Training Center. This was crucial in introducing those staff officers that have never before worked with PSYOP to its implementation in an operational environment.  This long training period was absolutely key to our success.   Additionally the Brigade has seen the potential positive impacts so much that they were willing to spend operational money to secure a Risograph and an industrial paper cutter in order to assist us in our mission.

The third basis for our success was our resourcing.  Tactical PSYOP Detachment 1290 is in a unique position in the fact that we have printing capabilities that are not normally given at the detachment level.  Because of greater than normal capability we have been much more responsive to the maneuver commander’s expectations than most TPDs in the past. Clearly TPD 1290 exemplifies that if soldiers are properly resourced; we will rise up and meet any and all challenges.

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“All For Iraq” PSYOP T-shirt

10,000 of the T-shirts shown above which bear the text on the Iraqi Flag, “All for Iraq,” were printed as a PSYOP product in Dohuk and transported by truck to frontline military units in Iraq.

This must have been a very popular vignette because later in the war other PSYOP units used the same image on various-sized gummed stickers that could be placed on walls or windows. They appear both with the rose and without the rose inside the heart.

Television Spots

The PSYOP Detachment also prepared a number of television spots. One of the first is coded 3060 and called “An Iraqi child.” It starts with images of Iraqi children. The segment is serious in tone and avoids images of smiling children. The narration is:

We are the beloved children of Iraq. We are Iraq’s future. In the fullness of time responsibility will pass from your shoulders to ours. Where once we were cared for, in turn we shall care for you. We are the hope for this great land. Our voices are not yet ready to sing. So we rely, as good children should, on our parents to speak on our behalf.   You must be our voice on January 30, 2005 for we are not ready to be heard.

The next images are of destruction caused by terrorists in Mosul and Nineweh province with the narration:

The terrorists in this country claim to be fighting for us. But where is it seen as so? Wherever they go, they only spread destruction and death. They kill our families. They kill our parents. They kill our brothers and sisters. Why do they kill such innocence? When they offer no hope of a brighter tomorrow. No promises of a better life. They offer no real alternative for our society. They will quickly claim righteousness with one breath and pollute their false righteousness with unjustified assassinations of people who bravely risked all to try to bring a better promise to Iraq. The terrorists are not building a brighter future. They only know how to try to destroy our present. Together we must tell the terrorists enough is enough. Enough to the killing. Enough to the destruction. Enough to terrorists attempt to stop any and all efforts to bring Iraq to a brighter glory than Iraq has ever known.

The third segment features images of Iraqi children. Unlike the first segment, the children are smiling and waving. The Narration is:

In January 30, 2005 we implore you to let your voices be heard. For your sake and for ours let your voices be heard. Choose a brighter path for your children. Choose a brighter path for Iraq. Do not let our voices be silent on such an important day.  Speak for us. Choose for us.   Help bring a brighter future into our lives. Let your voices be heard on January 30, 2005.

Another TV spot was run after the successful Iraqi election. It is coded 3139 and the narration is:

You came out in mass numbers. Your courage and will to vote was a detrimental blow to the criminals' plans in Iraq. You took the world by storm and became a model for overcoming adversity. This was an act that all future generations can look to with pride. It is proof that nothing is impossible. Hopes and dreams can and will knock down any barrier to a better life. Your children thank you. They will have the opportunity to enjoy their lives without political tyranny. They will now have no limitations on how great they can become. Their lives will be a victory over oppression, and you the voter have taken a great step in securing that victory. Take pride in the events of January 30, 2005. Your children will forever be proud. Tomorrow just became much brighter

Enemy Propaganda

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An Anti-American Poster found by the 10th Mountain Division

The insurgents and terrorists also use posters and leaflets in their fight against the new Iraqi government and its American allies. When seen, these posters are torn off the walls or light posts and destroyed. The following two posters were found by members of the U. S. 10th Mountain Division while on patrol. I add them here so that the reader can see the quality of the enemy’s work.

The first poster is quite colorful and emotional and depicts an American soldier with a menacing scow holding his weapon against the neck of a kneeling Iraqi. Below them are barbed wire, a screaming Skelton, and skulls on the ground not unlike the scene from The Terminator. The English-language text is: 

Today is the same as yesterday.

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The second insurgent propaganda piece is in the form of a large leaflet-handout and depicts a rather solemn and angry looking Muqtada al-Sadr and a great deal of text. The 30-year old Shia Mullah is the son of a grand ayatollah but his support is relatively small. His young followers and "Mehdi Army" have battled coalition troops in Baghdad and at one point took control of the city of Najaf. He has called for a national rebellion against foreign troops and sent out his militiamen to confront the "invaders" and Iraqi police. His detractors see him as an inexperienced and impatient radical who wants to dominate Iraq's most revered Shia institutions by force.

The back of the leaflet depicts five photographs; An American soldier with Muslim prisoners, a tank behind praying Muslims, a soldier near an Arab woman and her children, Arab youths throwing rocks at a tank, and a burning military vehicle. It seems clear that the handout calls for continued resistance.

The Tactical PSYOP Teams in the field are less likely to produce leaflets in the future. When I asked a member of another TPT about producing leaflets in 2005 he told me:

We don't do leaflets much anymore.   It is too time consuming for one TPT.  Much of what we do is face-to-face with the local nationals.  Although the maneuver units get hit all the time, our TPT has been able to avoid the improvised explosive devices. We actually get out and talk with the people and that makes all the difference in the world. 

It appears that in the future leaflets are more likely to be designed at Ft. Bragg and forwarded electronically to the local Psychological Operations Task Force from where they will be available to tactical units in the field.

An expert on current PSYOP added:

Although this is a big issue currently, it is possible that in the future most leaflets will be developed and approved in the Continental United States. The Media Production Center at FT Bragg could produce approved PSYOP products and electronically transfer them to forward areas for print or AV production.   Increasingly, the Psychological Operations Task Force was using in-country nationals and trying to preserve aging PSYOP equipment if possible. As the current PSYOP equipment wears out, I foresee increased digitization of print capability. But, depending on the size of the in-country Psychological Operations Task Force, leaflets could still be developed in an overseas location.

The PSYOP Dissemination Battalion will be the primary source of the designs and layout and electronic dissemination to subordinate PSYOP units could be the norm. Electronic transmission does have its drawbacks, mostly the size of the transmission pipelines (satellite bandwidth which costs money and has lots of claimants), T1 availability for internet connectivity and hence quality, and let’s not forget electronic jamming.

In most PSYOP Operation Orders there are usually pre-approved symbols and themes, I really think tactical units should have a digital library of pre-approved products that can be produced locally without all the time consuming coordination.  One problem is the approval authority.  For instance, in Afghanistan rumor has it that the Deputy Undersecretary for Defense Policy retained tactical leaflet approval authority.

Sometimes we wonder if American incursions into foreign lands serve any real purpose in regard to the welfare of the people. This article is about the 361st PSYOP Company stationed in and around Tall’Afar. The unit met with the people on a regular basis and attempted to reach them through various means. It appears that they were successful. Some of the following comments were made by the Mayor of the city, Najim Abdullah Abid Al-Jubouri, in February of 2006 in regard to the American action. He says in part:

In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful

To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.

To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.

To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.

Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.

I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.

God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.

Training and Background

In this article I have discussed the current capability and accomplishments of the 361st PSYOP Company. How did the company become so ready to go to war? Some of the training techniques are mentioned by Specialist Carlo Narduzzi who was assigned to the company at Ft. Lawton, located just outside of Seattle, Washington, from 1985 to 1987. He had just graduated the Department of Defense Information School as a Journalist (Military Occupational Specialty 71Q). He says:

I was assigned to the print team, where I wrote in styles I hadn't used since high school. I considered writing for my country a privilege. Although we were never deployed, we trained regularly; keeping the presses maintained in the container express (CONEX), practicing write-ups and layouts all by hand, setting up print runs, etc. Meanwhile, we had a squad of officers that made first formation and then spent the rest of the weekend with senior Noncommissioned officers upstairs in a restricted area.

I came to realize how an outsider to the PSYOP community might perceive us to
be inactive at times. However, the collective mind of the PSYOP community is always at work having an effect somewhere in the world. I had no idea what those officers were doing upstairs, but rumor had it that our unit was directly supporting active
operations of the 1st Group Special Forces.

We were constantly getting ready to deploy, fine-tuning and practicing on our equipment, qualifying, and keeping up to date. Although there was no declared conflict while I was with the 361st, we all knew there were many operations in process all around the world. We appeared to be a harmless group of technicians, press operators, linguists, and journalists just going about our business, but we all knew that we were playing our role in a much larger clandestine mission.

Conclusion

As a writer on the subject of military psychological operations I get many letters from Foreign, Naval, Marine, and Army units, both active and reserve, asking why their organization has never appeared on the Psywarrior website. I give them all the standard answer. We don’t know where you are or what you are doing. Send us data and we will be happy to talk about your accomplishments. Our mission is to honestly tell the world what American psychological operations is all about. We will discuss what went well, and what did not. We want this site to be a “lessons learned” for psywarriors. The 361st PSYOP Company is a unit that understands. I did not expect to hear from them again, but they surprised me by sending a great deal of information on where they were and what they are doing. That resulted in this article. I give SFC Shawn McElravy full credit for this story. Shawn is an AGR soldier proud of the Reserve unit that he supports. He wanted the best for them and has gone to great lengths to see that their story is told. There are plenty of other units out there worth mentioning. Let’s hear from you.

As always, I encourage readers with comments to write to the author at sgmbert@hotmail.com.

18 May 2005