This declaration is issued as a solemn warning this _______ Day of ___________ 19___, to the friends, neighbors, relatives, loved ones, and fellow countrymen of one sailor named ___________________ who has last been seen when leaving your presence on the ___ day of ______________, 19 ___, and has been absent from family circles and former haunts since that day.

In the very near future, the above named man will once again be in your midst, de-Americanized, demoralized, and dehydrated, combat ready to take his place once more as a human being in a society 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 to a civilized society you might make certain precautions to make allowances for the crude environment in which he has suffered for the past _____ months. In other words, he may be a little Asiatic, suffering from advance stages of Viet-congitis, too much Ba-Muio-Ba (Beer); and Saigon Tea, as well as all sorts of rare tropical diseases.

Therefore: Show no alarm if everyday he looks for a little bottle of little white pills, and every Monday frantically searches the medicine cabinet for a bottle of much bigger orange pills, or wakes up in the middle of the night for a Mid-Watch. Pretend you don’t worry when he take his bread and closely examines it for bugs. Don’t worry if, when you serve Roast Beef, he excuses himself and goes to the bathroom and vomits. Take it in stride if on a Friday morning he salutes you and says, "standing ready for inspection". Be sympathetic if he buttons his shirt up all the way to his throat, tucks his trousers into his socks, roll down his sleeves, and grabs a pot for a helmet everytime the doorbell rings. Above all, keep faith if you don’t hear any water running when he says he’s taking a shower. If you overhear him utter the words "Di Di Mau" with an irritated look on his face, simply leave quickly and quietly, for it means none less than "Get the Hell out of Here".

Never ask why he didn’t make rate as fast as the other guys, and by no means mention the terms "Extend" or "Re-enlist". Do not ask at any time if he tried to save any money while in ‘Nam. This may put him in a state of shock in which he may mumble something about Craps, Poker, Blackjack, Cribbage, Pinochle, or donations to the Red Cross, Navy Relief Society or Going on R & R.

His intentions will be sincere, although somewhat dishonorable. Keep in mind that beneath his tanned and rugged exterior, there beats a heart of pure gold, crying for love and understanding. Treasure this, for it is the only thing of value that he has left. Treat him with kindness, Tolerance, Love, and an occasional Fifth of Good Bourbon, and you may be able to rehabilitate what once was a proud, happy-go-lucky, nature loving human being, and who is now one -hell- of a disillusioned member of the human race.

Last but not least, send no more mail to the U.S.S. Satyr (ARL-23), FPO San Francisco, 96601. Just fill the reefer with Beer and Whiskey, get out the Civvies, fill the car with gas, and get the women and kids off the Street, because ………….……..

The Swabbee is Coming Home ……….


Courtesy of Richard Pettit, USS Satyr ARL-23 (69-70)