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[] PSYOPS der US-Truppen aus Kuwait,

Quelle: Third United States Army, Camp Doha, Kuwait

PSYOPS soldiers aim to win hearts, minds

Story and photos by Spc. Jacob Boyer

CAMP DOHA, KUWAIT (Feb. 03, 2003) - A psychological advantage on the
battlefield can go a long way toward convincing an enemy to surrender
before the fight even begins, preventing needless casualties on both

However, merely telling the opposition to lay down its weapons is not
enough. Various forms of persuasion are needed.

Persuading an opponent to either surrender or defect, is the what the
soldiers of Company C, 9th Psychological Operations Battalion do best,
said Maj. Bill Bryant, company commander.

?I think our role in an operation is very important,? said Bryant, a
Weymouth, Mass., native. ?By convincing the enemy to surrender without a
fight, we can save the lives of soldiers on both sides.?

The company, normally based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., is currently
attached to the 3rd Infantry Division (Mech.), while it is deployed to
Kuwait to deter Iraqi aggression in the region. The 60 soldiers of
Company C compile and distribute products targeted at both opposing
troops and the Iraqi civilians, Bryant said.

?Our job is all about influencing behavior,? said Colorado native Staff
Sgt. Sean Noonan, the unit?s plans and programs team chief. ?With
military units, we want them to surrender. With civilians, we want them
to stay out of the way.?

There are several ways psychological operations specialists go about
getting the message to their intended audiences, Bryant said.
Information leaflet drops, audio messages and face-to-face
communications are all used in an attempt to save as many lives as
possible in the event of war.

Face-to-face contact is the most dangerous, but it?s also the most
effective in a permissive environment,? he said. ?An interpreter can say
things to a person in his language and have a more personal impact.?

Before Psyops products are developed, the message has to be tailored to
reach the target audience, said Spc. Mark Joseph, intelligence analyst.

?A lot of intelligence analysts are looking for the size and strength of
units,? said Joseph, a Barnegat, N.J., native. ?I need to know more
about the human side: beliefs, religion and morale. If the message is
going to work, we have to know the people.?

The product development team uses what intelligence analysts find to
create products to deliver to a target audience, said Sgt. Lizabeth Lee,
psychological operations specialist.

?We get a request that details what psychological message is needed for
this product,? said Lee, a Lakeville, New Brunswick, Canada, native.
?With that, we put together leaflets, handbills, flyers, posters and a
number of other products to deliver to the enemy and civilians.?

Most printed products are delivered through drops from aircraft, Bryant
said. Two different leaflet-bombs can be dropped from fixed-wing
aircraft, and boxes can de dropped from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.

Detachments from the company also have been attached to each brigade in
the division, Bryant said. In battle, three-person tactical
psychological operations teams go with each battalion to broadcast
messages over loudspeakers that can be heard as far as 1,800 meters

The teams can broadcast recorded messages from the battalion commander,
said Staff Sgt. Aaron Leath, team leader. They can also hook the
loudspeakers to a radio and broadcast live messages from the commander.

?We augment whatever unit we?re supporting at the time,? said Leath, a
Glen Burnie, Md., native. ?We go out ahead and try to eliminate the need
for an operation. It?s a good feeling.?

The company does its job without getting immediate feedback on how
effective it was, Noonan said.

?The problem with PSYOP is it?s very difficult to accurately measure its
effects,? he said. ?You won?t find out if things worked until a long
time later. It?s hard to measure, but I personally believe it has an

Even without evidence of a job well done, Joseph and others recognize
the importance of their tasks.

?The more effective we are here, the less fighting they have to do out
there,? he said.

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