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Viêtnam Veteran DEROS Warning


Viêtnam Veteran DEROS Warning

Issued in solemn warning on this _[ ## ]_ day of _[ month ]_, 19_[ ## ]_ to: _[ name of relative or friend ]_.

Very soon, _[ name of veteran ]_ will once again be in your midst, de-Americanized, demoralized, and dehydrated, but ready once more to take his place as a human being, to engage in life, liberty, and a somewhat delayed pursuit of happiness.

In making your joyous preparations to welcome him back into respectable society, you must make allowances for the crude environment in which he has suffered for the past _[ ## ]_ months. In a word, he may be somewhat Asiaticized, suffering from Viêt Cong-itis, or perhaps from too much warm Ba Muoi Ba.

Therefore, show no alarm if he prefers to squat rather than sit on a chair. He may pad around in sandals and towel, slyly offer to sell cigarettes to the postman, and pick at his food suspiciously as though he thought you were trying to poison him.

Don't be surprised if he answers all questions with "I hate this place!", "number one", "number ten", or "sorry 'bout that". Please be tolerant when he tries to buy everything at half the asked price, accuses the grocer of being a thief, and refuses to enter any establishment that doesn't have steel mesh screens over the doors and windows.

Any of these sights should be avoided since they can produce a state of advanced shock: people dancing, children with toy grenades, and round-eyed women. In a relatively short time his profanity will decrease enough to permit him to associate with mixed groups, and soon he will be speaking a recognizable form of English. For a while he may complain about sleeping on a spring mattress, and at first may refuse to go to bed without a mosquito net.

Make no flattering remarks about exotic Southeast Asia, avoid mention of the benefits of overseas duty, the fun sound of monsoon rain on the roof, and above all, ask permission before mentioning food delicacies of the East such as "Flied Lice" and nuoc mam. The mere reference to any of these subjects may trigger off an awesome display of violence. For the first few months, until he is housebroken, be especially watchful should he be placed in the company of a woman, particularly one who is young, beautiful, and round-eyed. His first reaction may be to go into a state of catatonic shock. Take advantage of this momentary hesitation and move the young lady out of his reach.

Keep in mind that beneath this tanned and rugged exterior there beats a heart of pure gold. Treasure this, for it is about the only thing of value he has left. Treat him with kindness, tolerance, and an occasional fifth of whiskey, and you will soon be able to rehabilitate this hollow shell of the man you once knew.

Send no more letters to Viêtnam after the _[ ## ]_ day of _[ month ]_, 19_[ ## ]_, for he is leaving the tropics in _[ ## ]_ days and heading for the Land of the Big PX.

In witness whereof the party of the first part has duly executed this warning and set his hand hereunto.

/s/_[ signature of responsible authority ]_