During the course of this article I have mentioned various products produced by friendly and enemy forces during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. The various Coalition morale building cards and certificates printed before the start of the shooting war got a single line, as did the later official leaflets and documents printed for the prisoner of war camps and explaining the rules of engagement. We mention the fact that some companies reproduced the leaflets for sale to the American public but don't show any of them. In this section we will try to tie up all the loose ends and give the reader an idea of all the peripheral paper that was produced along with the actual psychological operations leaflets. This is just a fraction of all the paper product produced by the 4th PSYOP Group and other units and organizations both in the Persian Gulf and at home in the United States.
Thanksgiving 1990 Christmas 1990
The holidays are important for American soldiers. No matter where he is, in the jungle or in the desert, every effort is made by the military to make that day special. On Thanksgiving Day, every headquarters will move Heaven and earth to get turkey, stuffing and even peanuts and candy to the soldiers in the field. If you were eating C-rations all year, you knew that on Thanksgiving Day the Army would find a way to get turkey to you. As would be expected, the 101st Airborne Division in the Gulf celebrated both Thanksgiving and Christmas day with special meals and commemorative menus. Both of the menus illustrated are full color and prepared on heavy cardboard. Because they were printed before the start of the war, they both say Desert Shield
. At the time, the code name Operation Desert Storm was still classified. Inside, besides telling the soldier what he will be fed on that day, both cards contain a personal letter from Major General J. H. Binford Peay III, their division commander. In the Thanksgiving Day menu he says in part: Saudi Arabia
I could not be more proud of this soldier team and the work you have done preparing for the tough days ahead. My prayers and best wishes are with each of you on this special day.
A month later in his Christmas message Peay says in part:
This great division is ready and willing to go to any length to carry out our assigned mission. We have taken our stand in opposition to aggression with full faith and confidence that our service is needed and appreciated. With courage and commitment, we follow our convictions in quest of "Peace on Earth" as wise men have always done.
Desert Storm Camouflaged Bible
I am not implying that the Bible is Coalition propaganda, though one might make a case for this, but I have run across many people who believe that Christianity was banned by the Coalition leaders during the Gulf War. Some have told me that they absolutely know that Christian Bibles were not allowed into Saudi Arabia. It is true that the troops were asked not to flaunt their religion; no big gold crosses outside their uniforms and no preaching to the Muslims, but the fact is that Bibles were prepared with a camouflaged cover and many soldiers carried them all through the conflict.
A similar Bible was issued to American troops deployed to Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope. It had none of the military emblems found on the Desert Storm Bible and simply said on the cover Holy Bible Operation Restore Hope.
As the Coalition approached and entered the shooting phase of Desert Storm, more official cards and documents were needed.
Smiling Iraqi prisoner gives a thumbs up
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.
POW Holding Compound Rules and Regulations
POW Activities Schedule
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.
First 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 S2 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.
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.
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.
Memorandum for the 24th Infantry Division
EPW 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."
DO'S AND DON'TS - 24th Infantry Division
The 24th Infantry Division also distributed a "DO'S AND DON'TS THE MIDDLE EAST AND ARAB WORLD." This card could be folded and had a pointee-talkie section on the back where it had phrases in English, phonetic and Arabic. For instance, "I am an American" is spoken as "ana am-ree-key," and "I need help" is "ana bee haja e-la moosa'da." The inside of the folded card had a list of "DO's" and "DON'Ts." Examples are, "Do shake hands whenever meeting or departing from and Arab," and "Don't move away if an Arab is standing too close to you while speaking (1 foot is normal)."
Islamic Customs and Courtesies
In every war that the United States takes part in PSYOP units are tasked with the responsibility of preparing small wallet cards for the troops telling them how to interact with the local population, understand local customs, treat prisoners-of-war and understand the rules of engagement. In 2012, I received a request from an officer instructing military advisor teams deploying to Afghanistan. He wanted to inculcate an attitude of respect between the advisors and advisees in his classes and show that respect for host nation people and personnel is not a new thing. I forwarded him this Islamic Customs and Courtesies card which was distributed to troops in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm in an attempt to win hearts and minds.
Rules of Engagement Card
We illustrate a Rules of Engagement Card that was produced for the 101st Airborne. It depicts the "Screaming Eagle" insignia on one side.
The back has twelve rules explaining the right to use deadly force in self defense. Two such rules are, "Use only necessary force to accomplish the mission; minimize damage to civilians and property," and "Taking of war trophies and looting is prohibited. Civilian property may only be used if clear military necessity exists. Enemy military property may be destroyed or used if enemy markings are removed."
PW Tap Code card
Another interesting 101st Airborne Division item is the PW Tap Code card. When an American is taken prisoner he is typically segregated and held in a place where he cannot talk with his comrades. This is part of the breaking down of his will by leaving him alone and vulnerable with the belief that he is totally at his captor's mercy. The card taught a prisoner how to communicate with a comrade in another room by tapping on the cell wall, or how to do so visually by hand signals.
In the early days of Desert Shield before the start of the actual shooting war, this form was apparently used to expedite materials being sent to the front. Printing on the back says:
THIS MINI-HEADSUP PINK SLIP IS ATTACHED TO ALL ACTIONS DEALING WITH --
There were some very colorful official cards printed for logistics use. One bright orange one for use in the
says, "PROVEN FORCE IMMEDIATE REPAIR ACTION REQUIRED" with the word "EXPEDITE" at the four corners. Turkey
Another tag (AE Label 65-1DS (Temp), Oct 91" said simply 'SCUD BUSTERS" on both sides which implies it was attached to items for the 11th ADA Division, the unit firing the Patriot missiles.
"I am an American"
Numerous other small wallet cards were produced for use by both civilians and troops. One depicts an American flag at the top and the message in English and Arabic:
I am an American citizen and do not speak your language. Can you please help me contact a government official or direct me to a telephone? My government will greatly value your assistance to me.
Phone numbers in
, Dharran, and Al Jubayl were listed below the message. Riyadh
Another wallet card said in English and Arabic:
If you are stopped by local police or other Saudi national call LIAISONOFFICE: 696-3791 / 696-3639 / 696-3654. REMAIN CALM. If you cannot call,
present this card. It asks the reader to call the listed numbers. For
vehicle assistance, breakdowns etc. CALL vehicle dispatch: 696-4023/696-4019.
1st Cavalry Divisions Forward Chaplains Office postcard
In many cases the units printed mail for the use of their own troops. The 1st Cavalry Divisions Forward Chaplains Office prepared a postcard showing a cavalryman in the desert by a palm tree with the unit insignia and the text FREE MAIL. The back was left blank so that any service member could write home.
The 101st Airborne Division postcard
The 101st Airborne Division printed an oversized postcard showing the units Screaming Eagle on the front. The back had a series of pre-printed comments that the service member could check if he was too tired to write. Notice that morale WILL be good. Comment number three is, The food is (excellent), (excellent), (excellent). No room for argument there.
PSYOP Dissemination Battalion Poster
SGT Frank Allen of the 4th PSYOP Group's Dissemination Battalion designed a large 13 x 10-inch morale poster on cardboard with a plastic coating. The poster depicts the Special Forces emblem, a helicopter dropping leaflets on four surrendering Iraqi soldiers with two
troopers at the left and a HUMVEE with loudspeaker at the right. In the distance an Iraqi tank burns. U. S.
Secret Weapon BICYCLE Ace of Spades.
The U. S. Playing Card Company of
Cincinnatiproduced an ace of spades "Death Card" for troops deployed in Operation Desert Shield just as they had done for U.S.troops in . The box is marked "Secret Weapon BICYCLE Ace of Spades." Vietnam
Patriotic "To any Service Member" Postcards
It was not only the military that produced propaganda products for the use of American servicemen. There was also a vast array of civilian postcards, letters, pins, yellow ribbons, bumper stickers and other forms of patriotic expression produced during the Persian Gulf War. It was certainly the greatest outpouring or raw American patriotism since World War II. Military post offices were flooded with millions of letters and cards addressed to "Any service member." A friend who was a master sergeant in the 101st Airborne Division told me how he would walk into the mail tent and select a few of the most attractive postcards each day to answer. Another friend who was sergeant first class in charge of a mail tent complained that he had no space to put the incoming letters. It was nothing less than a blizzard of patriotism.
The British were also buried in mail. Nigel Pearce says,
By the first week of December 1990, roughly 2.3 million pounds of mail arrived every week. Ten percent of all the letters and packages were addressed to "any service member." One public affairs officer remarked, "sometimes John Smith waiting for cookies from his wife can't get them because of 80 billion 'any service member letters'."
The British Legion sent a box to every British soldier containing a card and message, with various necessities such as flashlights, batteries, and toothpaste.
French Souvenier Postcard
The French printed a postcard for their soldiers. Notice that the back actually shows the Daquet crest where the stamp would normally go. The front is interesting because it shows a girl in a bathing suit, something that would was not considered politically correct as it was considered offensive to the Saudis. The text of course is something like A souvenir of the desert a mirage.
Patriotic Postcards from Allegiance Co.
American entrepreneurs got into the action and almost every military Post Exchange in the
Middle Eastsold the U. S. Allegiance Company stationery box which contained 3 sheets of patriotic letterhead, 6 postcards, 12 greeting cards, and other oddities such as a paper weight, poster and key chain.
Patriotic Postcards from the Kuwaiti Military Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The card on the left depicts a Kuwaiti soldier and civilian and in the background an imaginary fighter from the days wars were fought on horseback. The card at the right depicts four Kuwaiti soldiers raising the Kuwaiti national flag on their homeland.
The American Greeting Card Company
The American Greeting Card Company prepared a set of 12 Operation Desert Shield greeting cards. The Freedom Greetings Company printed a set of four greeting cards. A company called Two Vets Distributors Inc. offered two large patriotic greeting cards.
It is impossible to list all the producers of patriotic postcards. I probably picked up about 150 different ones during the years 1990-1991. Many of them featured President Bush or General Schwarzkopf. Some were from entire states like
Kansasor Ohio, others from cities like . Many attacked Saddam Hussein and showed him being attacked by an American eagle or on a condom wrapper. The patriotic postcards were also produced and mailed from Cleveland Englandand . Five were made by the French for their Daquet Division. The Kuwaitis produced about a half-dozen patriotic cards for the use of their citizens and troops. France
Of course, the usual dissenters and peace activists were also busy. There were numerous postcards that ridiculed Bush, depicted scenes of death, and said that the war was being fought for oil (conveniently ignoring the fact that Saddam just stole all of
's oil). I found about a dozen such cards during and after the war. Kuwait
These flyers on white or yellow paper were found scattered on the streets of Erlangen, Germany, outside of an American military post in December 1990. It is believed that they were distributed by a German left-wing peace group. The back is blank. Notice that it says informations rather than Information. The text does not seem to be written by someone with English as a first language.
American companies printed a vast array of patriotic baseball card sets for
Shield and Desert Storm. There were over a dozen different sets printed in the Operation Desert United States, and others in Italyand . A few of the titles of the American sets are: Great Britain
The Desert Storm Card Collection
Desert Storm - Coalition for peace
Damn Saddam the Wacky Iraqi
Operation Yellow Ribbon
Heroes of the Persian Gulf War
Triumphs and Horrors of the Persian Gulf War.
Americans are great souvenir collectors and many troops returning from Kuwait brought back small paper items they had captured from the Iraqis.
Iraqi Unit-issued Non-commissioned Officer Military Identification Card
Many Americans brought back these ID cards taken from dead enemy soldiers or live prisoners-of-war. In this case the specimen is mint, taken from a headquarters unit. One side has a space for a photograph and 6 notations; the other side has the Iraq symbol and a place for four notations. Spaces on the picture side are:
Number, Rank, Name, Date of birth, Blood type, and Unit number.
Other data found on the card identifies the Brigade Commander and the Division.
Military Pass - 1990
This Iraqi pass would be filled in at headquarters and allow a soldier to go on leave for a specific time. It is a leave approval form for enlisted personnel for the months of April, May and June 1990.
Military Pass - 1991
Like the earlier document above, this later Iraqi pass would be filled in at headquarters and allow an enlisted soldier to go on leave during the months of January, February, and March 1991. In the center is a place for the soldiers name, rank and unit to be entered. I hope the soldier was able to use this pass and avoid the Coalition hell that was coming his way.
REPRODUCTIONS OF GULF WAR LEAFLETS
Genuine banknote leaflet
We mentioned that many of the Gulf War leaflets have been reproduced. The company that first did so was quite honest about what they were selling. Kaufman's West Army and Navy Goods of Albuquerque, N.M. said in their 1991 full-color special Operation Desert Storm catalogue:
Desert Storm PSYOPS Propaganda Leaflets - Words that compelled thousands to surrender! Kaufman's has meticulously reproduced the original 12 PSYOPS Propaganda leaflets. We have printed them in exact detail and send them complete with English translations. $9.95 a set.
The problem, of course, is that 10 or 12 years down the line these reproductions can be sold to the unwary as genuine leaflets. Reproduced leaflets that originally cost less than $1 can now be sold on EBay or some other auction site for $10 or more. The leaflets are fairly good reproductions but not exact matches. I show a genuine banknote leaflet and a reproduction so that the reader may see the differences. Notice that the Kaufmann reproduction is just a bit larger and the color is slightly off, more brownish than green. The genuine banknote leaflet measures 164 x 73mm while the Kaufman's reproduction is 173 x 77mm.
Genuine banknote leaflet
Later, another company or individual that was based in
produced some forgeries of the Gulf War leaflets. Unlike Kaufman's, these fakes were not sold as reproductions. Instead, they were sold as genuine leaflets to unsuspecting buyers. Notice that these fake are a bit smaller than the genuine leaflets, but otherwise quite a good copy. The forgery measures 162 x 72mm, just a few millimeters smaller than the genuine banknote leaflet's 164 x 73mm. Mississippi
Set of 12 fake propaganda leaflets
Another set of 12 fake propaganda leaflets was printed by Prinik Industries of Harrisburg, PA. In the case of Operation Desert Storm I have already found three different sets of fake leaflets and there could be more.
The moral of all this is that the buyer must beware. Understand that leaflets are easy to reproduce and there are a lot of unscrupulous people that are more than happy to sell you a counterfeit. You must train yourself to spot the fakes, and should only buy from people that you trust and can tell you exactly how they obtained the piece. Just as in antiques, provenance is important.
Genuine B52 Leaflet
B52 Forgery Leaflet
There is also a group of forged leaflets that emanated in
. We don't know much about them and most are fairly decent copies. Some however, seem almost to have been reproduced on a color copier. Notice the extremely poor quality of this fake B52 leaflet. It is especially clear in the tail section where you can see the shading has broken up. Florida
Genuine Iraqi Leaflet Fake Iraqi leaflet
Since the Iraqi leaflets were far rarer than the Coalition leaflets and sometimes sold for as much as $25, it was sure that they would be forged. We soon discovered that they were being forged in both
Mississippiand . They are usually easy to identify because the wrong paper is usually used. The Iraqis often printed on a very shiny glossy paper. The forgers did not want to go to the trouble of purchasing such expensive paper so printed their fakes on plain bond paper. That is a dead giveaway. In the cases where the Iraqis printed on bond paper, the forgeries usually did not match the color well. In the Pennsylvania
above counterfeit leaflet, notice that the fake is purple instead of blue.
4th PSYOP Group Certificate of Appreciation
The above certificate of appreciation was awarded to my pal Major Ed Rouse at the end of the Desert Storm Operation.
Joint Task Force Proven Force Certificate
As we mention elsewhere,Proven Force was the name of Operations on the Northern Front from Turkey. The Air Force dropped propaganda leaflets over Northern Iraq, urging military forces to surrender rather than be destroyed, and civilians to stay under cover during air attacks. This certificate is a memento given by the men and women of Psychological Operations after the ceasefire 28 February 1991.
I will end this story with a cartoon certificate printed on cardboard prepared for the members of Combined PSYOP Task Force of Joint Task Force Proven Force in appreciation of their service. It pictures a jet fighter burying an angry fist-waving Saddam Hussein in PSYOP leaflets. The leaflet is signed "Garman 1991."
This ends our brief look at the paper products of
Shield and Desert Storm. The reader should understand that I have eight file folders of material and this was just a selected glimpse at some of the product that was distributed during the war. I have not depicted dozens of other peripheral items such as Kuwaiti patriotic phone cards, Operation Desert
fuel chits, bomb warning posters, windshield stickers, death cards, wallet-sized prayer cards, ham-radio cards, and even patriotic Walt Disney theme park complimentary tickets. Like all of my PSYOP articles, this one will be updated as new items that are important enough to be added are brought to my attention. There are some things I would like to know and perhaps some knowledgeable veterans of the war will be willing to enlighten me. I would love to know more about the German PSYOP activity and exactly what leaflets were ballooned. It would be nice to know exactly what leaflets the CIA used in their covert operations. I would like to see one of the French leaflets. I have only seen them in French magazines. It would be nice to have a real photograph of the one that was finally disseminated. I would like to see some of the British product that was quietly made and used within their command for morale purposes. I have written over 30,000 words on this subject, and there are still as many questions as answers. Kindly write to the author with comments or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retired General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, one of the great American military leaders of modern times and the Commander of Coalition Forces during Operation Desert Storm died on 27 December 2012 in Tampa, Florida, where he had served his last military assignment as head of the U.S. Central Command and where an elementary school bears his name.
In 1966, he volunteered for Vietnam and served two tours, first as a U.S. adviser to South Vietnamese paratroopers and later as a battalion commander in the U.S. Army's Americal Division. He earned three Silver Stars for valor, including one for saving troops from a minefield - plus a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals.
After Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Schwarzkopf played a key diplomatic role in helping persuade Saudi Arabia's King Fahd to allow U.S. and other foreign troops to deploy on Saudi territory as a staging area for the war to come. In that conflict, Schwarzkopf commanded more than 540,000 U.S. troops and 200,000 allied forces from about 30 countries.
Schwarzkopf Toby Jug
The British loved General Schwarzkopf and at least two Toby jugs were made in his likeness. This 8-inch Toby was offered by Kevin Francis in a run of 750 pieces. The handle of the jug on the back depicts the three Kuwaiti water towers.
After retiring from the Army in 1992, Schwarzkopf wrote a best-selling autobiography: It Doesn't Take A Hero. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and honored with decorations from France, Britain, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 1994 but beat it after a radical surgery. In later life he supported various national causes and children's charities while eschewing the spotlight and resisting efforts to draft him to run for political office. He died at age 78 of complications from pneumonia.
I never thought the Bear got the credit he deserved. Schwarzkopf took a green American Army with untested weapons like the Abrams tank and the Apache helicopter, fought against the fourth largest Army in the world, battle tested from a decade fighting Iran, and beat them in 100 hours. Nobody does that.
A British Commemorative Beer Mat
American A-10 aircraft from RAF Alconbury Air Base in the United Kingdom flew more than 1,170 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm. They lost no aircraft or personnel. A local entrepreneur produced some coasters with various patriotic sayings and even a caricature of General Schwarzkopf and sold them to the men on the airbase for $5 a set. Above we show the Bears coaster, or as the British called it, his beer mat.
A prospective Desert Storm Memorial
In late 2014, the United States Congress Passed legislation authorizing a Desert Storm Memorial. The Memorial is raising funds at present since the construction must be paid for entirely by the American People. If any reader cares to be part of this project a donation can be made to the address on the card above.
Desert Storm Memorial Site Picked
By a vote of 4-2 in June, 2018, the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts agreed that the new National Desert Storm Memorial will be located at the intersection of Constitution Avenue and 23rd Street, NW, Washington, D.C. Veterans of Foreign Wars Public Affairs Director Joe Davis said after the vote:
No one could have envisioned an American-led international coalition defeating the then-fourth largest standing army in the world in six weeks from the air and 100 hours on the ground. But we did, and we did so magnificently, all because of our equipment, our training and our leaders, of whom honed their teeth in Vietnam, where they learned how not to fight the next war.
Kuwait sends a 25th Anniversary Thank You
Usually when the United States helps another nation regain its freedom the gratitude is temporary and then life goes on as usual. The Kuwaitis seem to be different. 25 years after the liberation of their country the above book suddenly appeared in my mailbox. The book was sponsored by the Kuwaiti Government and is dedicated to: the veterans of Desert Storm. We honor and pay tribute to your service.
Readers who care to comment on this article are encouraged to write to the author at Sgmbert@hotmail.com.