I told you that most veterans would disagree with the veteran who said that the military is a great institution that teaches morality. In fact, every one of them who wrote me regarding this disagreed. To give just two examples:
I was in Thailand most of 1971. It was a real eye opener. As a devout evangelistic Christian I wasn’t tempted at all by the license I could have had. The degree of sexual debauchery of almost everyone I knew and worked with was incredible. I had one of my men even say “my wife is married but I’m not.” Very few eschewed the “pleasures” offered, mostly the older officers and NCOs and Mormons. A few of the younger men married their girl friends, with little chance of them coming here. Those a little older with wives or serious girl friends talked endlessly about their PCOD. (Pussy cut off date, the date they could catch something and be cured before getting home.) Even the chaplain we had wasn’t totally clean. I’m pretty sure he did not indulge in the local tail, but at the scene of a terrible auto accident involving two of our people he arrived from a drunk in town and went into a rant of “don’t look, it’s gross, it’s gross” about one man’s brains all over the road. In the wallet of the second man who had a severe skull fracture I found a rubber and a letter from his little girl about wanting him home soon. I had the opportunity to escort a young lady there assisting the local missionary. All I got from my “pals” was “does she f__k?”
7:23 pm on May 27, 2013 Email Laurence M. Vance
I was in the National Guard about four decades ago, and I distinctly remember from basic and AIT that the military was a cesspool. It did occur to me at the time to wonder what happened to honorable, upright speech and conduct, but I guess I chalked it all up to the dehumanizing effects of our war in SE Asia. I was no paragon of virtue myself, BTW, being only 22 years old with all that entails and implies, so I really had no basis for judgement, but I do remember wishing that our leadership was a little less blatantly crude and cynical and a little higher in moral character.