Anyway, I want to share something we all got before going home from the Nam. It reads:
Dear Civilians, friends, draft dodgers, etc.
In the very near future, the undersigned will once more be in your midst, dehydrated and demoralized, to again take his place as a human being with all the well-known forms of freedom and justice for all, to engage in life, liberty, and the (somewhat delayed) pursuit of happiness.
In making your joyous preparations to welcome him back into organized society, you might take certain steps to make allowances for the crude environment which has been his miserable lot for the past 12 months.
In other words, he might be a little Asiatic from Vietnamese-itis and overseas-itis, and should be handled with care.
Do not be alarmed if he is infected with all forms of rare tropical diseases. A little time in the land of the Big PX will cure the malady.
Therefore, show no alarm if he insists on carrying a weapon to the dinner table, looks around for his pot when offered a chair, or he wakes you up in the middle of the night for guard duty.
Keep cool when he pours gravy on his dessert at dinner, or mixes peaches with Seagrams.
Pretend not to notice if he eats with his fingers, instead of silverware, and he prefers C-Rats to steak.
Abstain from saying anything about powdered eggs, dehydrated potatoes, fried rice, fresh milk or ice cream.
Do not be alarmed if he should jump up from dinner and rush to the garbage can to wash his dishes using a toilet brush. After all, this has been his standard.
Take it with a smile when he is digging up the garden to fill sandbags for the bunker he is building.
Be tolerant when he takes his blanket and sheet off the bed and puts them on the floor to sleep on.
Also, if it should start raining, pay no attention to him if he pulls off his clothes, grabs a bar of soap and a towel and runs outdoors for a shower.
When in his daily conversation he utters such things as, "SinLoi", and "Choi Oi", just be patient. Simply leave quickly and calmly, if by some chance he utters, "Di Di", with an irritable look on his face, because it means no less than, "Get the hell out of here."
Do not let it shake you up if he picks up the phone and yells, "Sustain Sir", or says, "Roger Out", for goodbye, or he simply shouts, "Working".
Never ask why the neighbors son had a higher rank and by no means mention the term "Extend".
Pretend not to notice if at a restaurant he calls the waitress "Numbah One Girl".
He will probably keep listening for Homeward Bound to sound off on AFVN radio. If he does, comfort him for he is still reminiscing.
Be especially watchful when he is in the presence of a woman, especially a beautiful one.
Above all, keep in mind that beneath that tanned and rugged exterior there is a heart of gold (the only thing he has left).
Treat him with kindness, tolerance, and you will be able to rehabilitate that which was once (and is a hollow shell of) the happy-go-lucky guy you once knew and loved.
Last but not least, send no more mail to the APO address, fill the car with gas, fill the ice box full of beer, get the civvies out of mothballs, and get the women and children off the streets ...
... "Because This Kid's Coming Home".
Michael "Surfer" Lansford
155 split trails
Viet Nam 68-69
Hamburger Hill 10 May-21 May 69
Do you have an opinion, or a comment, you would like to share about this post? Click on the comment button.