How to Become a Civilian Again

24th Transportation Battalion (Terminal)
APO 96312

SUBJECT:How to Become a Citizen and Civilian Again
TO:All Short Timers Returning from USARPAC-RVN

  1. Upon arriving in CONUS you will be amazed at the number of females wearing shoes. Remember, New York, Chicago, Detroit, etc. are not Cam Ranh or Vietnam itself. Many of these girls have occupations such as stenographers, beauticians, teachers, telephone operators, etc. Therefore you do not approach them with "Boom-boom how much?" -- instead say, "Isn't it a lovely day?" or "Haven't I seen you somewhere before?"

  2. When you walk along the street, you don't hit everyone of draft age in civilian clothes. He may have been released on a medical discharge. Ask him for his credentials and then, if he can't produce them, go ahead and slap the shit out of him.

  3. When you come home and greet your wife, you will be overcome with natural desires. Don't be hasty--at least take the time to set your suitcase down.

  4. You will undoubtedly go to the movies; seats will be available for you to sit on. Don't take your steel pot. Do not whistle every time a female between the age of six and sixty appears on the screen, or say "Move your head you fucking sonofabitch, I can't see a fucking thing!" If you can't see, move to another seat. Above all, don't yell "Shit!" every time a GI appears on the screen.

  5. If you visit someone's home and spend the night, you may be informed by a gentle tap, not a whistle, that the household is rising. The proper answer is, "I'll be there in a moment". Never say, "Blow it out your ass!"

  6. The first meal in the morning is breakfast. You may find a strange assortment of foods such as canteloupe, fresh eggs, milk, waffles, hotcakes, etc. Do not be afraid, for these foods are palatable and non-poisonous. If you wish more butter, say, "Please pass the butter", not "Hey, you, pass the fucking butter!"

  7. If in a group and you find that you have to defecate, don't grab a shovel and some paper and head for the garden. Most homes have a room called a bathroom, which consists of a tub, basin and toilet--the toilet is to be used for this purpose. It is customary among civilians to attend to their needs in private.

  8. Several times a day you will feel the need to urinate. Don't walk behind the car or into the corner to do this job. A toilet is also used for this.

  9. If you are invited to someone's house and upon arriving you find that all the chairs are occupied, don't squat in the corner "pineapple" style. Have patience and your host will provide a chair. Above all, don't say "Where can a fellow take a good shit around here?"

  10. At dinner you will be amazed to find that each item of food is in a separate dish. In the Army you do have to eat such items of food as corned beef with your cake. Don't empty each plate into one large one to make it more palatable; bear with this strange and off the wall custom, for you may learn to like it.

  11. If you can't find your hat when you are ready to leave, it has probably been put in the closet. Say, "I can't seem to find my hat" or "My hat has been misplaced" -- do not say "No one leaves this fucking room, some sonofabitch stole my hat!"

  12. If you make a mistake, someone will inform you by saying, "I'm sorry my friend, I think you are mistaken" -- he will not say, "Buddy, you're all fucked up".

  13. When visiting friends and they ask about your travel and your overseas experiences, you may become very tired. Yawn several times and politely excuse yourself. Don't say, "My ass is draggin', let's hit the fuckin' sack".

  14. You will find that your mother usually has one day each week set aside to clean the house. If you feel like helping, don't fall out in your Mickey Mouse boots, a bucket of water in one hand, soap and a GI brush in the other, and begin to GI the living room rug. Most homes are gifted with a strange object called a vacuum cleaner.

  15. If you want to keep on the good side of your family, don't fall them out every morning with the blast of a whistle hollering, "Okay, drag your ass out of the sack! Drop your cocks and grab your socks! All I want to see is assholes and elbows!" The neighbors may be listening.

  16. Don't hang your drawers from your bedroom window after a hard day of GI-ing. Mothers usually have a clothesline for this.

  17. Don't wake Pop up at 5 AM and yell, "Okay Pop, skin 'er back and milk 'er down!" Mom won't like this.

  18. Last but not least, don't act like a fool. It is true that the Army has changed you in some ways, but keep in mind that you will soon be a civilian and try to act like one. It may be strange at first but with a little effort you can adjust. What you do and how you act will reflect upon yourself and also on the standards of the US Army. Keep in mind this thought: "If you can't say good things about the Army, keep quiet and above all, don't discouraging boys from enlisting. You could be called back and the one you discourage may be your replacement."