Operation Wandering Soul (Vietnam War)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Operation Wandering Soul was a propaganda campaign exercised by U.S. Forces during the Vietnam War.

The operation played off the belief of many Vietnamese in the "wandering soul":

It is the Vietnamese belief that the dead must be buried in their homeland, or their soul will wander aimlessly in pain and suffering. Vietnamese feel that if a person is improperly buried, then their soul wanders constantly. They can sometimes be contacted on the anniversary of their death and near where they died. Vietnamese honor these dead souls on a holiday when they return to the site where they died. The US used this to their advantage and tried to trick the Viet-Congs into leaving by playing the audio recording of their dead friends wondering around.[1]

U.S. engineers spent weeks recording eerie sounds and altered voices – which pretended to be killed Viet Cong – for use in the operation, with the intended purpose of instilling a sense of turmoil within the enemy, the desired result being for the soldier to flee his position. The tape, dubbed Ghost Tape Number Ten, was played on loudspeakers outside U.S bases.[2] Helicopters were also sometimes employed to broadcast recordings,[3] in which the voices called on their "descendants" in the Viet Cong to defect and cease fighting.

The extent of the operation's success is unknown. The Viet Cong usually encountered return fire if they reacted to the recordings, thus nullifying the intended outcome of the operation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.) (December 31, 2005). "The Wandering Soul". Patrol Craft Fast. Robert B. Shirley. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
  2. ^ Hoyt, Alia (May 16, 2017). "Ghost Tape No. 10: The Haunted Mixtape of the Vietnam War". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  3. ^ YouTube