Leaflets of Operation Desert Shield
and Desert Storm

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Other PSYOP Products

Back when I had a printing unit one of our most popular items were note pads with a soldierís name and image of his rank emblazoned at the top. I could get anything for those pads - coffee, steaks, maybe a jeep for a day. During Desert Storm the PSYOP units produced all sorts of non-war items for the units it supported. Looking at some of the non-classified print projects I see dozens of items. Here are a just a few of them: Certificates of training and appreciation; pads and badges; a driverís handbook, Special Operations stickers; a change of command brochure; Christmas cards for 9th Battalion and 3rd Armored Cavalry. Some of the items that were military but not classified are: Refugee evacuation route for the 3rd Cavalry; Evacuation directions; Enemy prisoner of war cards; Rules of engagement cards; 5th Special Forces prisoner of war cards, 9th Battalion signs and cards. So, the reader should understand that life goes on even in wartime and there are constant demands for printed items.

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.

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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” Saudi Arabia.” 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:

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.

Some of the troops recall that Thanksgiving was not all that great in the desert. The cooks will move Heaven and Earth to get the troops a turkey dinner, but with the sand and 115 degree heat it does not always work out:

I remember that we were trying to eat in the middle if a dust storm. We had extra crunchy. I still ate it though.

I was in the big dust storm during Thanksgiving 1990!

We got spoiled turkey. It was served in mermite containers and we wound up getting MREs for dinner. Oh yes I remember it well.

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.

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An “Official” Christmas card Produced by the PSYOP Dissemination Battalion

Because Operation Desert Storm was fought against Iraq over the Christmas holiday season of 1990, there were numerous unofficial Christmas cards prepared by entrepreneurs to be sold in the military Post Exchange Stores in the mid-east. For instance, the U. S. Allegiance Company stationery box contained 3 sheets of patriotic letterhead, 6 postcards, and 12 greeting cards. 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. None of these were officially sanctioned. They were all commercially made for profit. The card above was prepared by the U.S. Army’s Psychological Dissemination Battalion based at King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia. The cards, bearing Santa’s sleigh being pulled by camels contained a military parody of The Night before Christmas and was issued to soldiers of the Psychological Operations Task Force. Other official Christmas cards printed by Army units and issued to the troops include the 3rd Armored Cavalry, the 5th Special Forces Group, the 24th Infantry Division and 82nd Airborne Division.

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Operation Desert Shield Christmas Card for the 5th Special Forces Group

The above Christmas cards were designed, printed and distributed to members of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) during their deployment to Saudi Arabia during operation Desert Shield. A member of the 5th Special Forces Group designed these cards. It wasn't until well after the cards were printed by a Saudi printing company and distributed did they realize that the word "shield" was misspelled. Notice that in the absence of snow the snowman is made from official olive-drab sandbags. For those that don’t know military tools, the right arm is an Army entrenching tool, a folding shovel easy to carry in a knapsack that can be used as a defensive weapon in the most dire straits. The snowman wears a desert “boonie hat.” On the second card the Special Forces motto To liberate the oppressed, is depicted on their insignia in Latin.

Staff Sergeant Greaves of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces talks about designing these cards on the U.S. Military Forum:

I deployed with 5th Group to the First Gulf War, Somalia as well as a couple tours to Iraq. While in northern Saudi Arabia, during Desert Shield, I was asked by our battalion Executive Officer to draw a couple designs for Christmas cards for the battalion (I was with 2nd battalion). I came up with four hand-drawn designs and handed them in.Two were chosen and the unit had these locally produced and disseminated for our guys to be able to send a card home. I learned, several months later after the war, that the 5th Group had cards made for the other two battalions as well (a good friend of mine in 1st battalion sent one of them to my mom).

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Operation Desert Shield Christmas Card for the 24th Infantry Division

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Operation Desert Shield Christmas Card for the 82nd Airborne Division
The “Hootch” is all lit up and sand from a sandbag makes the design. Notice the “AA” design – All American<

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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.

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Smiling Iraqi prisoner gives a thumbs up

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EPW Card

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.

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POW Holding Compound Rules and Regulations

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POW Activities Schedule

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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)."

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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:


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Expedite Card

There were some very colorful official cards printed for logistics use. One bright orange one for use in the Turkey says, "PROVEN FORCE IMMEDIATE REPAIR ACTION REQUIRED" with the word "EXPEDITE" at the four corners.

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Scud Busters

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 Riyadh, Dharran, and Al Jubayl were listed below the message.

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A Second Wallet Card

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.

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A Third Wallet Card

In case of an auto accident. English on one side, Arabic on the other.

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A Biblical Wallet Card – Psalm 91

Along with their Desert Storm Bible, some soldiers were given this Biblical card featuring Psalm 91, which curiously is the same year as they were preparing to go to war. The card tells the men to “read every day for protection.” The card was printed by the Reconciliation Outreach, Stuart, Florida. The text is very pertinent for the warrior.

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1st Cavalry Division’s Forward Chaplains Office postcard

In many cases the units printed mail for the use of their own troops. The 1st Cavalry Division’s 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.

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The 101st Airborne Division postcard

The 101st Airborne Division printed an oversized postcard showing the unit’s ‘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.

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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 U. S. troopers at the left and a HUMVEE with loudspeaker at the right. In the distance an Iraqi tank burns.

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Desert Storm Sand

Here is something just a bit different. During WWII, many Marines brought home sand from the beaches of Iwo Jima or Tarawa. Lots of American troops wanted to bring home sand as a souvenir of Desert Shield/Desert Storm so several savvy businessmen produced various packets of sand with images and text that could be placed in a scrapbook.

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Desert Storm $2 Souvenir bill

This genuine U.S. $2 bill was sold by the Merrick Mint. They used "advanced technology to enhance the uncirculated currency, creating a work of art."

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Secret Weapon BICYCLE Ace of Spades.

The U. S. Playing Card Company of Cincinnati produced an ace of spades "Death Card" for troops deployed in Operation Desert Shield just as they had done for U.S. troops in Vietnam. The box is marked "Secret Weapon BICYCLE Ace of Spades."

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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.

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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.” 

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Patriotic Postcards from Allegiance Co.

American entrepreneurs got into the action and almost every military Post Exchange in the Middle East sold 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.

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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.

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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 Kansas or Ohio, others from cities like Cleveland. 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 England and France. 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.

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Anti-War Postcards

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 Kuwait's oil). I found about a dozen such cards during and after the war.

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Anti-War Flyer

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 “trading card” sets for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. There were over a dozen different sets printed in the United States, and others in Italy and Great Britain. A few of the titles of the American sets are:

AMA: Operation Yellow Ribbon
Crown: The Desert Storm Card Collection
Dart: Gulf War Fact Cards
DSI: Desert Storm – Weapons and Specifications
Lime Rock: Heroes of the Persian Gulf War
Manning: Triumphs and Horrors of the Persian Gulf War.
Pacific: Operation Desert Shield
Pot Shot: Damn Saddam the Wacky Iraqi
Pro Set: Desert Storm
Spectra Star: Desert Storm Troops
Topps: Desert Storm – Series I (Coalition for Peace), II (Victory), and III (Homecoming).

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Andre Dawson Baseball Card

There was also a set of actual baseball cards produced by Topps as a 40th anniversary set with a gold, metallic stamp added. The 1991 Topps Desert Shield Baseball cards is one of the most valuable sets of the early 1990s. Originally the cards were intended for those troops deployed in theater but the war ended so quickly that most never made it overseas. I am told that about one quarter of all the cards (The allotment for the Air Force - about 1,500,000 cards) ended up at Myrtle Beach AFB on pallets. Many of the troops stationed on the base were given card packs for free. Some sold their allotment to other base members so many were able to put together complete sets which they were able to sell for a few thousand dollars. Allegedly, Card collectors would stand outside the base with signs wanting to buy the then, ultra-rare, collectibles.

There are 792 Baseball Cards for a complete set. It is rumored that anywhere from 6,500 to 7,000 sets were made. One card, the “Chipper Jones” card was worth $1000 by itself. A PSA Gem Mint 10 Chipper Jones sold for $7,000 in December 2016. The top-ranked 1991 Topps Desert Shield Baseball set in PSA’s registry sold recently at auction for a price of $106,475.78, including the buyer’s premium. These were all highly graded cards and the average collection, brought home in a duffel bag or foot locker would be worth just a fraction of that amount. Warning: Because of their popularity, 1991 Topps Desert Shield Baseball set is notorious for counterfeits.

When I showed this data to a Desert Storm PSYOP veteran he said:

I remember seeing the Desert Storm Topps Baseball Card packs. As I was not a baseball card collector I wasn't interested in them for myself. However, I was exchanging letters with students from a local school who wrote to me during my deployment so I sent several packs of cards back to them thinking they would make a wonderful souvenir and they might like them. Now I wonder if they are aware of their worth and are regretting putting those cards in the spokes of their bikes.

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Free Tickets to Walt Disney World


The Walt Disney Company has always been very patriotic. During WWII many military units wrote to Disney looking for a unit symbol and the Disney artists usually complied with a very colorful drawing that could be used as a patch on jackets or caps. When Operation Desert Storm ended and the servicemen started returning home they would often receive free tickets to Disney World as they left the aircraft at American airports. Notice that the ticket is good until Veteran's Day.



Americans are great souvenir collectors and many troops returning from Kuwait brought back small paper items they had captured from the Iraqis.

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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.

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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.

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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 soldier’s 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.


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Genuine banknote leaflet

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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.

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Genuine banknote leaflet

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Later, another company or individual that was based in Mississippi 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.

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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.

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Genuine B52 Leaflet  

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B52 Forgery Leaflet 

There is also a group of forged leaflets that emanated in Florida. 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.

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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 Mississippi and Pennsylvania. 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 above counterfeit leaflet, notice that the fake is purple instead of blue.

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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.

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Joint Task Force Proven Force Certificate
Roxanne M. Merritt, Director
USAJFKSWCS Heritage Center/JFK Special Warfare Museum
Requested permission to add this image to the Museum Desert Storm case

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." 

Note: 25 years after Desert Storm I saw the same certificate in color. I asked about it from the owner and was told:

At the end of hostilities, these certificates were given to a few senior staff members and commanders of Proven Force. I was commander of the 7440th Combat Wing, responsible for, among many other things, delivering these leaflets. F-16 pilots, 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron--temporarily assigned to the 7440th, dropped them over Northern Iraq. The PSYOP unit from European Command did their work, in coordination with General Schwarzkopf’s staff, producing the leaflets. Packages of the items were put in standard leaflet canisters, looking a bit like M117 (750 pound) bombs.

So, it may be that copies of this certificate in color were reserved for senior staff members, or perhaps they just coincidentally appear in color and without color.

The Medals of Desert Storm

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The Certificate that came with the Kuwait Medal

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State of Kuwait

Certificate of Kuwait Liberation Medal

The Emir of Kuwait, according to the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense grants the Kuwait Liberation Medal of the fourth degree in appreciation of the excellent efforts which contributed to the liberation of Kuwait.

Given on     Hejira date      AD date

I note that all the certificates have that red streaking at the right as if a child had a red pencil. I suspect it was an accident during the printing process.

Desert Storm Rumors

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Saudi Desert Storm Medal

Rumors, or “Sibs” as the British call them occur in every war. I have an article on Vietnam and I mention the rumor that service members with the more virulent form of venereal diseases were sent to a secret island to die. That rumor has persisted since WWII.

There were two rumors in Desert Storm that were very popular. The first had to do with the medal that the Saudi Arabians prepared and awarded to American troops. It was made of solid gold. At least that is what everyone believed. Once they were taken to a pawn shop and found not to be of pure gold the rumor mutated to “Only the high ranking officers got the gold ones.” It is a very shiny medal and the Saudis were very rich with oil money, so one can see where the rumor started.

The second rumor was that Saudi Arabia was going to present every American soldier with $10,000. This rumor had legs and I think everyone heard some version of it. Again, the Saudis had oil and they could afford it. There are still people wondering 30 years later what happened to that money. Various people in different units heard that the bonus was a different amount. Most people heard $10,000 but some of the other amounts mentioned are:$1,000; 2,000; $5,000; $100,000 and even a pound of gold or silver.

Some people heard the amount would be higher had the USA sent the women home. Some heard the Saudis offered pick-up trucks. Another interesting part of the story was that President Bush turned the bonus down saying that American troops were not mercenaries, but other countries accepted the prize. Some troops allegedly received Rolex watches. A third less popular rumor was that the Kuwaitis offered $10,000. Then there was a rumor that the United States accepted the money but kept it. An auxiliary rumor from the politically-minded said that the Democrats in Congress voted no.

This ends our brief look at the paper products of Operation Desert 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, 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 sgmbert@hotmail.com.

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In Memoriam

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.

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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.

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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 Bear’s” coaster, or as the British called it, his “beer mat.”

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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.

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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."

Recruiting Film

On 31 January 2021, the Special Operations Recruiting Battalion released a 2-minute film titled The Significance of Psychological Operations. It depicted scenes of Iraqi troops surrendering during Operation Desert Storm and added:

The PSYOP preparation of the battlefield must begin before the war starts. It takes time. it takes effort, and it must begin as early as possible. It is too late to wait until the first round is fired. Psychological Operations managed to convince the whole conventional Army of Iraq to defect, so that when our forces went in, they were fighting the extremists, the Republican Guard, the hardened troops, but the regular Army said, "I agree with you guys, there is no use fighting the United States." How many lives were saved there? How many people got to go back to their families? It is incalculable but it is there, and it is super important.

Readers who care to comment on this article are encouraged to write to the author at Sgmbert@hotmail.com.

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