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WW II joke
brett@hpsrbkc.UUCP (Brett K. Carver)
This comes from a box of my Dad's stuff from World War II. I
transcribed it as accurately as I could from the original yellowed memo
(I fixed a few spelling errors, but left any wording errors as they were).
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.
A. 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.
B. The following points will be emphasized in the subject indoctrination
- In America there is 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
- 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 _____."
- A typical American breakfast consists of such strange foods as cantaloupes,
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 godam grease."
- 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).
- 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.
- 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 chew we've been
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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 he 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.
- Whiskey, a common American drink, may be offered to the soldier on social
occasions. It is considered a 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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?"
- 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.
- 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.
- Always tip your hat before striking a lady.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
For the Commanding General:
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