The Chieu Hoi program was designed to encourage primarily the Viet Cong to defect to the American forces. These defectors known as Hoi Chanh. Psychological operations, US Army, conducted this program, dropping nearly 6 million leaflets on enemy territories, detailing the benefits of defecting. The program began in 1963, and was originally called "The Movement to Regroup Misled Members of the Resistance". It was estimated it would cost $500 per Viet Cong defector.
Leaflets dropped on Viet Cong controlled areas: A stylized helicopter drawn as a spider, picking up and eating Vietnamese soldiers. The ensuing caption encouraged the Viet Cong soldier to defect. Another: Two Vietnamese soldiers with rifles huddle by a pond. Overhead, an artillery shell is coming in straight at them. The soldiers are warned if they don't defect, they will be destroyed. The leaflets commonly showed pictures of Hoi Chanh defectors smiling, laughing, or working with GIs in everyday activities.
Being indigenous to the terrain, and familiar with the guerilla tactics of the vietnamese, the Hoi Chanh were often valuable sources of information and logistics. One of the serious roadblocks the US military met in Vietnam was the resilience of the Vietnamese. The infamous Ho Chi Minh trail was actually a network of trails weaving in and out of the thick jungles deep into South Vietnam. US forces found it impossible to shut down, but the Hoi Chanh could offer valuable information on possible troop movement routes. Also, the Viet Cong and NVA were infamously skilled with traps. They could use anything from wooden land mines, to pungee pits with sharpened bamboo sticks meant to plunge deep into your calves, feet, and ankles. A common mark of a set trap was to leave a leaf, with a stick sewn through it perpendicular to the stem. It was left on the ground, around 2 meters to the left or right of the trap, indicating a nearby trap. This isn't something the average G.I. might spot. On top of these hurdles, the now famous tunnels built by the North Vietnamese could stretch for miles, and contain entire villages. The indigenous Hoi Chanh could spot signs that indicate the entrances to these networks. The tunnels were also notably small, and the smaller Vietnamese soldier could infiltrate and bring back information.
One noteable use of the Chieu Hoi program was introducing new soldiers to the Hoi Chanh. Much like the scene in Hamburger Hill, a good look at a former Viet Cong soldier could put a face and sense of realism on a soldier's mind.
All in all, around 80,000 defectors were obtained through this program. The program was the largest and most expensive PsyOps program conducted during the entire war. Chieu Hoi combines to verbs that mean, "to welcome", and "to return". The symbol of the Hoi Chanh was a bird flying towards a flame, with a black and white shield as the background.
Actual leaflet shots can be found on the 9th Infantry Division's website, www.oldreliable.org/octofoil/v1_n1/p13.html