AUSTRALIAN MILITARY FORCES
This is to certify that…………………………………………………………………...having completed an
arduous tour in the Republic of Vietnam will be
returning to Australia in the very near future.
You should appreciate that he is no longer the sweet, unspoilt boy who
left Australia fired with the patriotic fervour
and zest for adventure. He is now older,
probably thinner, wiser in the ways of the
world, and possibly short tempered.
One of the earlier indications of the changes of character you will
notice will be the periodic hot and cold
flushes, accompanied by shortness of breath and
trembling of the knees. This could be due to
malaria, the rigours of the Australian winter,
or to mini-skirts which he has never seen.
He will gaze in awe and fascination at blonde hair, blue eyes, clean
white sheets, hotels and tight sweaters.
Remember that his only contact with white women
has been via the centre page of “Playboy”
magazine, and he is still probably under the
impression that all girls have staple marks on
Be careful not to use the following phrases – “LET’S GO FOR A WALK”, or
“I WISH IT WOULD RAIN”, or “YOU BUY ME SAIGON
TEA”. This is important as he may react in a
violent and unpleasant manner.
If he walks across the garden or lawn and climbs through the window,
then humour him. He doesn’t trust the path as it
may be mined.
Flushing toilets will be a source of constant wonder to him after he
overcomes his initial fear of them. If he picks
up a shovel and heads for the back garden,
merely direct him to the nearest correct room
and gently take the shovel from him.
If he is reluctant to rise at a suitable hour – we suggest midday is
appropriate – simply whisper, “STAND TO – LIGHTS
ON THE WIRE”. Then stand back as he will leap
out of bed with a strangled cry and grovel under
NEVER ask him if it rains in Vietnam, as he may answer you in really
offensive language. Similarly, if you ask him if
the women are really flat-chested, he will
either break into hysterical laughter or cry.
Neither of these reactions is good for him.
Encourage him to drink out of a glass. If you give him a can, he will
certainly drink it, but he may fling it over his
shoulder with a roar of “UP THE OLD RED
ROOSTER”, and the furniture and windows may
suffer serious damage.
Force of habit may cause him to do some apparently odd things: sleep
with his boots on, shower in public, swear
fondly at his loved ones, and grind his
cigarette butts into the floor.
If he happens to be driving a car and the postman blows his whistle,
hang on tight. You can expect a sudden stop,
because in Vietnam the second blast of the
whistle is followed by bullets if you do not
He will constantly look at trees, not because he is particularly fond of
trees, but because he suspects snipers. He will
distrust bus stops because they have an
unpleasant association with grenades in Saigon.
If a litterbug throws something from a passing
car, he will scream loudly and dive for the
gutter. This can be quite an amusing sight, but
you will have to explain his actions to other
Please explain to visitors that he is not used to normal Australian
customs if they complain when he searches them
before they enter the house. This is normal
practice to prevent bombs being smuggled into
If you are in the car with him driving, you will have to keep reminding
him to keep to the left, or he will edge over to
the right all the time with his hand on the
horn. You will have to remind him that excessive
horn blowing is illegal in Australia.
If he wants a taxi, be kind and get one for him. He may stand on the
kerb, waving as you would goodbye, and he may
get abusive if people wave back. After getting
him a cab, explain that the driver is not a
cheat, or DINKY DOW (crazy), or even NUMBER TEN,
and he has to pay the price that is showing on
the meter when the journey is completed. Also
remind him about using pedestrian crossings and
traffic lights, as he has not seen these things
for the past year.
If you should arrange a meeting in a hotel lounge, don’t be surprised if
he drags you into the darkest corner, and before
he gets fresh will say to you, “ME NO BUY YOU
Never question him about powdered eggs, American bacon, hard rations,
ice cream, rubber trees, chlorinated water,
swamps, Chomper ants, mud, or the Viet Cong. If
your family is fond of ham and lima beans, corn
beef, sweet corn, or Vienna sausage, then serve
them when he is not around.
If he has a slightly pained expression on his face and starts to head
for the nearest fence or brick wall, keep him
moving until you can direct him to the nearest
public toilet. This will save attracting a
curious crowd, which he doesn’t like anyway.
If he complains of being thirsty and is looking for a twenty litre
container, explain to him that the water in the
tap is potable (drinkable).
He should be a rational human being again in about a year or so. Try to
make him feel important and occasionally whisper
to him, “UC DAI LOI NUMBER ONE” to boost his
Explain to him that mini-skirts are respectable, the rain is necessary
at times, barmaids are not easily won in
Australia, and that taxi-drivers are not thieves
or rogues. Point out to him when necessary that
Vietnam is far away, everybody loves him, and
mosquitoes will not hurt him.
Above all humour him. The Viet Cong could not shatter his composure, but
civilisation might. His rehabilitation is up to
If you need any assistance in the matter please phone the Vietnamese
Police at Vung Tau or Saigon. They will not be
able to help you, but they like to use the
telephone as it makes them feel important.
GOOD LUCK – YOU
WILL PROBABLY NEED IT