Thursday, October 6, 2016

PSYOP History – Hanoi Hannah Passes Away

Tokyo Rose (see: was a footnote in history to we veterans of the Viet Nam Conflict. It’s probably fair to say that Hanoi Hannah is the same to Post 9/11 veterans. The NY Times featured an obituary of Trin Thi Ngo, better known as Hanoi Hannah in its 5 October edition (see:, which is also the photo source.)

John McCain was one of her regular listeners although not by choice because loudspeakers were prominent in the prison where he was a POW.

Personification is a great influence tool that I have written about on a number of occasions including last week’s posting on what local TV producers are looking for.

Female voices were generally used because it was felt that since service members were predominately male, they would be more favorably inclined to listen to a female voice.

Popular music was played but the goal of the content was to wear down their listeners. Hanoi Hannah used to read the names of recent American KIA as a part of her broadcasts in an effort to demoralize her listeners.

More recently there was Baghdad Betty. She was not very competent according to then LTC Jeff Jones, CDR of the 8th PSYOP Bn who said: “Her broadcasts proved the Iraqis didn’t understand us at all," Jones said. "Her ignorance was pervasive. She was never sure of her sources, and broadcast old information based on dated news." (See: Jones went on to be CDR of the 4th PSYOP Group and ultimately Defense Attaché to the French Embassy. It was my pleasure to nominate Jeff for the Gold McClure Award, which he received shortly before his death.

While the PSYOP Regiment is a relatively new entity in the US Army we owe it ourselves to be mindful of our history and to learn from it – both good and bad. While we don’t want to fall into the trap of being prepared to fight the last war, we don’t want to repeat the same mistakes either.

No comments: