The 14th Radio Broadcasting & Leaflet Bn and the formation of the 14th Special Forces Detachment and 1st Special Forces Group

Origin of the 14th RB&L

The 14th Psychological Operations Battalion was originally constituted on 24 December 1943 in the Army of the United States as the 4th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company. It activated 29 December 1943 at Camp Ritchie, MD. Following the end of World War II, the unit inactivated on 25 November 1945 in Luxembourg.

Redesignated on 19 November 1954 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 14th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion, the unit was allotted to the Regular Army. It activated on 20 January 1955 at Fort Shafter, HI.

It was reorganized and redesignated on 25 March 1961 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 14th Psychological Warfare Battalion (U.S. Army Broadcasting & Visual Activity Pacific).

It was again reorganized and redesignated on 20 October 1965 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 14th Psychological Operations Battalion and 7th PysOps Group before inactivating on 30 June 1974 at Fort Bragg, NC.Redesignated on 30 October 1975 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 14th Psychological Operations Battalion, it was concurrently withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and activated at Mountain View, CA. Source: 14th Radio Broacasting & Leaflet Bn

Origin of Special Forces

The Army's premier proponent of unconventional warfare, SF traces its historical roots from the elite Army formations of World War II and the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS. The OSS was formed in World War II to gather strategic intelligence and conduct operations behind enemy lines in support of resistance groups in Europe and the Far East. After the war, individuals such as Colonel Aaron Bank, a former OSS operative, and Colonel Wendell Fertig and Lieutenant Colonel Russell Volckmann, both of whom fought as guerrillas in the Philippines, used their wartime experience to formulate the doctrine of unconventional warfare that became the cornerstone of SF. In the Army's official lineage and honors, the SF groups are linked to the regiments of the First Special Service Force, an elite combined Canadian-American unit that fought in the Aleutians, Italy and southern France. Source: Special Forces Association

It has been recorded that Special Forces grew out of the establishment of the Special Operations Division of the Psychological Warfare Center, activated at Ft. Bragg in May 1952. The close association of SF and PsyOps has been noted from this early beginning. Source: The History of PsyWar After WWII

Early Special Forces

The 14th Special Forces Operational Detachment (Area Airborne), commanded by Lt. Col. Albert "Scott" Madding, was secretely activated on 2 April 1956 under a cover designation as the 8251st Army Unit at Ft Shaftner Hawaii. Several other units were also secretely activated closer to Asia on 1 April 1956. They included the 16th SF Detachement and its subordinated 12th and 13th SF Detachements.

On 24 June 1957 the Headquarters and headquarters company of the 1st SF were activated at Camp Drake, Japan, near Tokyo. A week later, the U.S. Army Pacific assumed operation control over all SF units in Hawaii and the Orient and ordered them concentrated on Okinawa. The 14th SF Detachement flew out of Hawaii on 2 July and arrived on Okinawa on 5 July. On 14 July the 1st SF Group arrived and took control over the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 16th Detachments stationed there. Source: Green Berets At War by Shelby L. Stanton (ISBN 0-8041-1884-1)

Role of the 14th RB&L in Formation of the 14th SF Detachement and 1st SF Group

Early in compiling the history of the 14th PsyWar Bn, Jack Giza was the first to contact me about his tour in the 14th RB&L at Ft Shaftner from 1957 to 1958. We have communicated on numberous ocassions about his experiences and the transition from the 14th RB&L to the 14th PsyWar Bn. Jack provided both an account of his experiences and a biographical sketch of himself: Source: 14th RB&L Bn

In January 2011, Jack contacted me and asked if I had read the Book Green Berets At War by Shelby L. Stanton. He indicated there were some interesting connections between the 14th SF Detachement and the 14th RB&L Bn. I said I had not read the book, but was aware of the work and immediately purchased a used copy from

After I contacted Jack and told him I had a copy, he referenced some parts of the book with his own experiences in his unit.

1. In the book "Forward", there is a paragraph that states the "1st Special Forces Group was activated on Okinawa in 1957."

2. In Chapter 1: " The 14th Special Forces Operational Detachment A B commanded by Lt. Col. Albert Madding was secretly activated on 2 April 1956 under cover designation 8251st Army Unit at Ft Shafter Hawaii." Jack indicated his military address at that time was 8250 Special Troops at Ft Shafter Hawaii.

3. Further in Chapter 1 is a paragraph regarding A Team Detachment skills of basic underwater training. Jack indicated he was required to take underwater training and was qualified in scuba. He was also required to learn Chinese and French.

4. In Chapter 1: The 1st Special Forces Group assumes control over all SF units including the 14th Detachment in Hawaii. The 14th Detachement flew out of Hawaii on 2 July 1957.

5. In Chapter 1: The 1st SF team arrived on Taiwan in Feb 1957. That team was joined by SFC Everette C. White from the 14th SF Detachement in Hawaii. SFC Everette C. White was a member of the 14th RB&L and is listed in that roster.

6. The end of chapter 1 indicates the size of the 1St S F group at that time was small and they lacked experience and training. They were trying hard to scrape up personnel. Jack indicated some of the personnel came from the 14th RB&L

7. To support the above, Chapter 4 "The CIDG Program Gets Underway" says this about Sfc Francis Quinn, Sgt. George Groom SP 5 James Gabriel  and S.Sgt. Wayne Marchand. The SF trained blue uniformed Republican Youth from the strategic hamlet program in Vietnam in 1962. Four Special Forces advisors were captured by the 3rd Company, 7th Viet Cong Liberation Batallion 12 miles from Da Nang. Gabriel and Marchand were shot and killed. Quinn and Groom were later released. Those four are the above named individuals and were members of the 14th RB&L in 1957.

Jack said he personally knew Quinn, Groom, Gabriel and Marchand as they were in his barracks. Marchland picked the lock on Jack's footlocker when he lost the key. He said Gabriel used to bring mail to the 14th HQ. He spent some time in the gym with Quinn and Groom.

8. In Chapter 2, mention was made of SF teams being sent to Laos wearning civilian clothes and carrying civilian ID's. Jack remembers a team from the 14th RB&L going to Laos in civiian clothes.

Jack summarized the above and the final disposition of the 14th RB&L Bn as follows.

The 14th RB&L Bn was redesignated as the 14th PsyWar Bn in 1961. The unit "moved" to Okinawa in or about Jan or Feb 1958, but this was more of a move of the HQ on paper. They had to figure out where personnel were needed at this time since they were looking for personnel to build up the 1st SF. I presume that is why they wanted me to take scuba, parachute training and study Chinese and French and also to get a Top Secret Clearance. They were looking for "possibles" for the buildup. Myself and maybe a few others were too short to go so I went to 25th ID HQ. Some of the unit did indeed become members of the Special Forces. The best qualified went to Taiwan and from there to Laos and then Vietnam. Others with the needed MOS went as Radio personnel to Okinawa, Thailand, Korea or Taiwan. Only a few of my unit actually went to Okinawa and then maybe only to help set up the new HQ. This may explain why no one I sent you on the 1958 roster appears on your 1960-61 PsyWar Bn Roster. Others may have left the service or were assigned to other outfits.

Jack Giza

Editor's Note: Is it a coincidence that the 1st Special Forces Barracks was next to the 14th PsyWar Bn HQ on Okinawa near Machinato in the early 1960's?