The Chieu Hoi Program


Psychological Operations

At 90th Replacement in Long Binh I saw my first Viet Cong or perhaps I should say former Viet Cong. I was a FNG (F**king New Guy in Country) and I saw him when I walked into a latrine. There he was squatting (not sitting) over a latrine seat sort of what they were accustomed to in the jungle. He still had on black pajamas, so I knew he was relatively new in the Chieu Hoi program.
I must admit I felt a bit uncomfortable…

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The men pictured here are former Viet Cong. Under the Chieu Hoi program, they abandoned the Communist side and were outfitted to fight for the government in Saigon. (1970)

Front:

Back:

Jesus Angel Martinez from Spain emailed the two above pictures of a leaflet he has in his possession.
Many thanks for your contribution Jesus!

The Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) program was the biggest and most expensive psychological operation (PSYOP) campaign of the 10-year Vietnam War.

Leaflet # SP-2141 depicts a mother crying over the image of her dead son, killed while fighting. The leaflet is designed to encourage enemy soldiers to rally to the government side before being killed in battle. PSYOP records indicate that 15 million copies of this leaflet were prepared in December 1967 and forwarded to Da Nang, Nha Trang, Pleiku, Bien Hoa, and Can Tho. The text on the front of the leaflet is:

We cry for the dead
We are bitter because of the Communists
have destroyed our families.
When will mothers and children be reunited?

The text on the back explains all the advantage of rallying:

EACH RETURNEE WILL RECEIVE FROM THE GOVERNMENT:

1. Good treatment.

2. Citizenship papers.

3. Health care at the “Open Arms Center.”

4. A Reunion with his family.

5. 30 Piasters for food each day.

6. 200 Piasters pocket money each month while living at the “Open Arms Center.”

7. Reward for returned weapons – 500 to 7,800 Piasters.

8. Two suits of clothing valued at 1,000 Piasters.

9. 1,000 Piasters for transportation to go home.

10. Help in finding a job.

11. Returnees living in the “Open Arms” village will receive: cement, metal roofing material, 10,000 Piasters for building costs, 2,000 Piasters for furniture, and a six-month supply of rice.

U-10 aircraft disbursing leaflets

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14 Comments

Filed under Vietnam War

14 responses to “The Chieu Hoi Program

  1. During my time in the nam, I had the opertunity to be on operations with former viet cong members. Reasons why they came to our side , I have no ideal, but they saved our ass a number of times, because they knew the country very well. we had some of our chieu hoi killed while on operations with us and it hurt because they had become members of our company. They may have been thought as turn coats by some, but to us they we comrades in arms.

  2. jesuspdlr

    If I remember correctly some of them were known as Kit Carson Scouts.

    Regards.

  3. Ron Brown

    Yes, I remember the Chieu Hoy program too. One such person was supposed to be helping us, but all the while was mapping the firebase for nightly rocket/mortar attacks. We later captured him and maps with Charlie.

  4. Mike Erickson

    The Government and Allied forces were not the only ones to use surrender notes. The North Vietnameese did also. There were surrender notices written in english also dropped along trails in the Northern areas that i personally saw . I have 2 that i kept ( Around Hue, LZ Sally T-Bone)

    • usastruck

      Very interesting Mike, and Welcome Home…

      • Mike Erickson

        I am trying to find the surrender notes that I kept. so far no luck.
        That’s a few divorces ago and a lot of things have been moved to a lot of places.
        FYI The 2 that i am missing:
        one had a cartoon of a platoon of all black men with a white officer standing in fromt of them. the caption said “back home we put you in the back , but here in Viet Nam we put you right up front”
        The second shows an open door with “Congressman” on it and a man standing in the doorway. The caption says: “What i need Senator is a draft deferment for my son and a juicy war contract for me”
        Both had directions on how to surrender to the cong.
        I’ll keep looking, but if i never find them, at least somebody will know.
        God bless you too usastruck and Welcome Home to you my friend

  5. Paul Limandri

    I flew occasional psywar missions with “Big Daddy” Otters Nov.67-Jan.68 out of Vung Tau.I think it was the 58th Aviation.I was one of the guys hanging out of the door and shaking the box.We dropped chieu hois and counterfit money.It was a great gig .

  6. LEN LAVIGNE

    I was in Chau Doc Province, IV Corps, near the Cambodian border in the Mekong Delta. I was the S2 POW Interrogator. I was drafted, against the war but still went because i thought it was the right thing to do. My first couple of months in Nam i went out with a LT. Gregory and a Kit Carson squad. I was told just before our first operation that these guys were all former VC. I remember thinking (WTF). I never trusted any of them. When i returned home, my mother knew i was hurting. She said, “Try and put it behind you, forget it, your home now.” I did my best to avoid having to talk about it when someone would ask. That worked most of the time. I’m 68 years old now and in all these years, i can honestly say, there hasn’t been a day that i haven’t thought about Vietnam. But i consider myself one of the lucky ones. I married a wonderful girl and we raised two great kids.

  7. Phil galvano

    In 1970 I met my first chieu hoi, vien was what we called him. He was OK from my prospective and helped us in our daily patrols ect.the one thing that stands out is when we took rockets (122mm) we’d get a direction then count to see if we could pin point where they came from.What he told us was they were long gone from where the rockets were fired,they left only a few to fire them while the others were far away laughing at our attempt to silence them. He also was good at finding land mines for us and would detonate them for us. He found one right in front of me one time while walking on the road between C-2 and A-4 ( Con Thien ) just below the DMZ.

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