Vietnam Field Support Detachments From 14th PsyWar Bn

Unit history shows that individuals and small teams from the 14th PSYWAR Battalion served TDY in Vietnam prior to 1965. New evidence shows the 14th Battalion was the first unit to send a "Field Support Detachment" to Vietnam in May of 1965 and not the 24th PsyOp Detachment as reported by The PsyWarrior:

The 24th PSYOP Detachment (Field Support) activated on 18 July 1965 from personnel of the 1st and 13th PSWAR Battalions assigned to the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, and the 3rd and 6th Special Forces Groups at Fort Bragg , NC was among the very first PSYOP detachments sent to Vietnam.

The "PsyWarrior" did note that the 1st PsyOp Detachment (Provisional) arrived in early 1965 from the 7th Group. This unit was actually from the 14th PsyWar Battalion before the unit was reorganized to the 7th Group later in 1965. The 1st Provisional was the second Field Support Unit send to Vietnam from the 14th Bn and may have arrived earlier or concurrently with the 24th PsyOp Detachement.

There is some reason to believe that the 1st PSYOP Detachment (Provisional) arrived in in early 1965, perhaps as early as March, but I have seen no documents or orders that show the exact date. Later in 1965 a small unit of the Okinawa-based 7th PSYOP Group arrived in Saigon , but it was more in the form of an advisory team. ("The PsyWarrior")

In summary, the 14th PsyWar Battalion sent two Field Support Detachments to Vietnam in 1965. the 1st Provisional sent in July 1965 was reported earlier on this page to have been the first unit from the 14th to be sent to Vietnam. New information indicates another unit was sent two months earlier in May of 1965. This unit was clearly the first Field Detachment sent to Vietnam. Both Detachments are discussed below.

Vietnam Field Support Detachment May 1965

E-mail from Ray Selbo on 4/4/2008 reveals the 1st PsyOp was not actually the first major team from the 14th Bn. A slightly larger 24 man team preceeded the 1st Provisional by two months arriving in Vietnam in May of 1965:

Read with interest your material on PsyOps site on Okinawa. I served with Hq&Hq Co. 14th PsyWar Bn from 07-1964 to 10-1965. I also served, within that time (05-1965 through 19-1965) on a 24 man detachment in Vietnam attached to the 173rd Airborne.

Our 24 man team of 7 officers and 17 enlisted were stationed at Train Compound just outside of Bien Hoa Air Base.

The team had the following assigned members:

Our team of 24 was attached to the 173rd Airborne.  We were transported from Okinawa to Viet Nam aboard a military troop ship (USS Mann I believe).  Upon arrival in Saigon we split from the 173rd and proceeded to Train Compound near Bien Hoa.  This compound was a former French plantation with some buildings added by US military for housing.  Our team erected two large tents in the compound.  One housed the officers and one for enlisted.

The team had several jeeps, 2 or 3 audio-visual vans and a couple of deuce and a halfs.  The AV Vans were equipped with power converters to convert the 12 volt systems to 110 to operate movie projectors, slide projectors and sound systems.  The intent was to present movies and other entertainment as well as any needed loudspeaker events with the local population.

We also had a full printing facility to publish a small news letter in local language, or leaflets that could be dropped as needed.  We could also develop sound tapes to be played by helicopter loudspeaker ships in battle settings.

Our ground operations consisted mainly of bringing food, clothing, and medical teams to small villages.  The idea was that we could gain the confidence of the local population, which would lower risk to US forces. 

We also were assigned to assist with ground operations conducted by the 173rd and other units as needed.  Our prime value here, I believe, was that we had several locals assigned to us who were reliable interpreters.

Unfortuately I do not have any pictures.  I did have a number of 35mm slides but am not able to locate them at this time.

My MOS, if I remember the number correctly, was 701.  That is a Broadcast Specialist.  While on Okinawa I worked at VUNC radio as live recording "engineer" and also early evenings as an "engineer" relaying recorded material to the Seoul Korea (and I believe the Tiawan) broadcast locations.  I also did week-end volunteering at AFRTS on Okinawa, first as a radio DJ and then, for many months, an on air TV newscaster. 

After leaving the service I rejoined a national liability and property insurance company, where I became their Corporate Sales Education Manager.  Went on to several other companies in the training field.

I currently reside in Plymouth, MN.

Source: Ray Selbo (E-Mail)


1st PsyOps Field Support Detachment Vietnam (Provisional) July 1965

Carl Yasuda (Maj. Retired) provided information about the 1st PsyOps Detachment in 2007. . Carl was made aware of the new data about an earlier detachment and responded in an e-mail dated 4/15/08:

Tim, I believe there was an earlier detachment that went to Vietnam.  I don't have any details on them but if they went with the 173rd, they may have gone in about May-Jun 65.  The 1st Det left Okinawa in July 65 to Da Nang, Vietnam and those members had the option of remaining in Vietnam to serve a complete tour or return to Okinawa in December 65.  I returned since my family was on their way to Okinawa.  The list of names Ray has provided indicate to me that many went on to serve a complete tour.  I don't recognize any of the names listed.  I think Ray has provided you with the missing link of names that went on to Vietnam.  In reading some of the PSYOPS sites, there are some references made to that detachment but only Capt Ross's name is mentioned.  I noticed that Ray left Okinawa while I was still in Vietnam.  It's interesting in knowing that your list continuely growing, Tim. 

Major Yasuda was a 2nd LT at the time of the organization. Carl indicated the following to me in an e-mail dated 12/14/05:

I completed Signal Officer Basic, Airborne School, and the PSYOPS course before reporting to B&VA, Okinawa in August 65 as a 2nd Lt. I was already on orders to go TDY to Vietnam before my arrival. The 1st PSYOPS Det. was formed by members of B&VA and deployed on TDY status to Da Nang, Vietnam in July 65 under the operational control of MACV, Advisory Team #1. I joined the Det. in August 65 after processing in/out of Okinawa and receiving in-country briefing in Saigon. While in Vietnam, I was not aware of the reorganization of B&VA to the 7th PsyOp Group until I was taken off Jump status. I was working as a PSYWAR Propaganda Officer until Dec 65 and was given an option of continuing with the Det to complete a full Vietnam tour or return to Okinawa. Since my family was scheduled to arrive in Okinawa, I elected to return to Okinawa with only a few other men to the newly reorganized 7th PsyOp Group.

All 22 members of this provisional unit originated from the 14th PSYWAR Bn also known as US Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity Pacific. Soon after the provisional unit was formed the 14th PsyWar Bn (B&VA) was redesignated (10/20/65) as the 7th PsyOp Group.

Source: Carl Yasuda (Maj. Ret)