I CTZ CHIEU HOI RETURNEES - 1068
From Operations of US Marine Forces Vietnam 1968.
ate the critical situation." In radio broadcasts and propaganda flyers, the command countered a prevailing VC rumor campaign that the U.S. would support a coalition government."
Through the year, the III MAF psychological warfare experts mounted a three-pronged campaign to exploit VC/NVA atrocities during Tet, to publicize to enemy soldiers and possible civilian sympathizers the Chieu Hoi or South Vietnamese amnesty program, and to "encourage nationalism" among the civilians throughout the Corps area. They accomplished this through aerial loudspeaker broadcasts and distribution of leaflets by both ground and air means. During March, the first month of the effort, they distributed over 268 million propaganda leaflets and made more than a 1,000 aerial and ground broadcasts. By the end of December, the number of leaflets distributed per month reached over 280 million and nearly 3,000 aerial loudspeaker broadcasts were made. At that time, the 3d Marine Division experimented with firing artillery "leaflet-loaded rounds" at known enemy positions which, after solving some initial fusing and packing problems, proved feasible."'
While impossible to measure directly the success of the psychological warfare campaign, the increasing numbers of Chieu Hoi and Kit Carson volunteers indicated that enemy troops were well aware that there were steps they could take to return or come over to the government side. Despite a dip from 250 defectors in January 1968 to only 66 in February, the number of Hoi Chanhs in I Corps at the end of the year reached 3,118, exceeding the total for 1967 by 759. The Kit Carson Scouts showed an even more impressive expansion, increasing from 132 in 1967 to 476 in 1968. In December 1968, 102 served with the 1st Marine Division, 106 with the 3d Marine Division, 153 with the 101st Airborne Division, and 115 with the Americal Division. Another 22 former VC or NVA were undergoing training in the various division Kit Carson schools."'
In February, after two of the scouts were identified as "suspected penetration agents for the VC," III MAF improved and augmented its initial screening and also provided "for continuous evaluation and observation of individual KCS." Still, by the end of the year, the Marines credited their Kit Carson Scouts with apprehending 851 suspects and killing 312 of the enemy. They also helped the American units uncover some 720 enemy caves, tunnels, and caches. More importantly, the scouts discovered more than l ,300 explosive devices, many set as boobytraps (surprise firing devices) to catch the unwary. As Major General Donn J. Robertson later seated about the entire program: "Every time you got a few Chieu Hois and could convert them into Kit Carson Scours where they could give you some assistance that was a plus that could save the lives ot Marines."4"
For 1968, III MAF civic action had much the same gradations as the overall pacification effort.