1944 US Army Indoctrination for Return Home
Courtesy of David R.
LAST U.S. ARMY
APO 001. U.S. ARMY
AG 4110.99 (DEBCA) 20 September 1944
SUBJECT: Indoctrination for Return to U.S.
TO: All Units.
1. In compliance with current policies for rotation of armed forces overseas it is directed that in order to maintain the high standard of character of the American Soldier and to prevent any dishonor to reflect on the uniform all individuals eligible for return to the U.S. under current directives will undergo an indoctrination course of demilitarisation prior to approval of his application for return.
2. The following points will be emphasized in the subject indoctrination course:
a. In America there are a remarkable number of beautiful girls. These young ladies have not been liberated and many are gainfully employed as stenographers, sales girls, beauty operators or welders. Contrary to current practice they should not be approached with "How much?". A proper greeting is "Isn't it a lovely day?" or "Have you ever been to Chicago?". Then say "How much?".
b. A guest in a private home is usually awakened in the morning by a light tapping on his door, and an invitation to join the host at breakfast. It is proper to say "I'll be there shortly". DO NOT say "Blow it out your _____".
c. A typical American breakfast consists of such strange foods as cantalopes, fresh eggs, milk, ham, etc. These are highly palatable and though strange in appearance are extremely tasty. Butter, made from cream, is often served. If you wish some butter, you turn to the person nearest it and say quietly "Please pass the butter". DO NOT say "Threw me the god damn grease".
d. Very natural urges are apt to occur when in a crowd. If it is found necessary to defecate, one does NOT grab a shovel in one hand and paper in the other and run for the garden. At least 90% of American homes have one room called the "Bathroom", i.e. a room that, in most cases, contains a bathtub, wash basin, medicine cabinet, and a toilet. It is the latter that you will use in this case. (Instructors should make sure that all personnel understand the operation of toilet, particularly the lever or button arrangement that serves to prepare the device for reuse).
e. In the event the helmet is retained by the individual, he will refrain from using it as a chair, wash bowl, foot bath or bathtub. All these devices are furnished in the average American Home. It is not considered good practice to squat Indian fashion in a corner in the event all chairs are occupied. The host usually will provide suitable seats.
f. Belching or passing wind in company is strictly frowned upon. If you should forget about it, however, and belch in the presence of others, a proper remark is "Excuse me". DO NOT say "It must be that lousy chow we've been getting".
g. American dinners, in most cases, consist of several items, each served in a separate dish. The common practice of mixing various items, such as corn-beef and pudding, or lima beans and peaches, to make it more palatable will be refrained from. In time the "Separate Dish" system will become enjoyable.
h. Americans have a strange taste for stimulants. The drinks in common usage on the Continent, such as underripe wine, alcohol and grapefruit juice, or gasoline bitters and water (commonly known by the French as "Cognac") are not usually acceptable in civilian circles. A suitable use for such drinks is for serving one's landlord in order to break an undesirable lease.
i. The returning soldier is apt to find often that his opinions differ from those of his civilian associates. One should call upon his reserve etiquette and correct his acquaintance with such remarks as "I believe you have made a mistake", or "I am afraid you are in error on that". DO NOT say "Brother, you're really f----d up". This is considered impolite.
j. Upon leaving a friend's home after a visit, one may find his hat misplaced. Frequently it has been placed in a closet. One should turn to one's host and say "I don't seem to have my hat. Could you help me find it?". DO NOT say "Don't anybody leave this room, some S.O.B. has stolen my hat".
k. In traveling in the U.S., particularly in a strange city, it is often necessary to spend the night. Hotels are provided for this purpose and almost anyone can give directions to the hearest hotel. Here, for a small sum, you can register and be shown to a room where you can sleep for the night. The present practice of entering the nearest house, throwing the occupants into the yard and taking over the premises will cease.
l. Whiskey, a common American drink, may be offered to the soldier on social occasions. It is considered a bad reflection on the uniform to snatch the bottle from the hostess and drain the bottle, cork and all. All individuals are cautioned to exercise extreme control in these circumstances.
m. In motion picture theaters seats are provided. Helmets are not required. In is NOT considered good form to whistle every time a female over 8 and under 80 crosses the screen. If vision is impaired by the person in the seat in front, there are plenty of other seats which can be occupied. DO NOT hit him across the back of the head and say "Move your head, jerk, I can't see a damn thing".
n. It is not proper to go around hitting everyone of draft age in civilian clothes. He might have been released from the service for medical reasons. Ask for his credentials, and if he can't show any THEN go ahead and slug him.
o. Upon retiring, one will often find a pair of pajamas laid out on the bed. (Pajamas, it should be explained, are two-piece garments which are donned after all clothing has been removed.) The soldier, confronted by these garments, should assume an air of familiarity and not act as though he were not used to them. A casual remark such as "My, what a delicate shade of blue" will usually suffice. Under NO circumstances say "How in hell do you expect me to sleep in a get-up like that?".
p. Natural functions will continue. It may frequently be necessary to urinate. DO NOT walk behind the nearest tree or automobile you find to accomplish this. Toilets (see 2d above) are provided in all public buildings for this purpose.
q. Beer is sometimes served in bottles. A cap remover is usually available, and it is not good form to open the bottle by the use of one's teeth.
r. Always tip your hat before striking a lady.
s. Air raids and enemy patrols are not encountered in America. Therefore it is not necessary to wear the helmet in church or at social gatherings, or to hold the weapon at ready, loaded and cocked, when talking to civilians in the street.
t. Every American home and all hotels are equipped with bathing facilities. When it is desired to take a bath, it is not considered good form to find the nearest pool or stream, strip down, and indulge in a bath. This is particularly true in heavily populated areas.
u. All individuals returning to the U.S. will make every effort to conform to the customs and habits of the regions visited, and to make themselves as inconspicuous as possible. Any actions which reflect upon the honor of the uniform will be promptly dealt with.