How to be a Civilian

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How to be a Civilian

Postby Dduck » Tue May 03, 2005 10:23 am

I just finished reading a book titled "How to be a Civilian" by Morton Thompson. The book was printed by Doubleday and Comp in 1946. The author wrote the book because he was tired of being asked how to handle the returning soldier and how the soldier should handle civilians.The book talks about how there was some resentment towards the civilians even though the Veterans were exactly the same as them before they left. The soldiers changed, not civilians. It also talks about how the soldier will have to start paying for their cigarettes, clothes, food, etc...and also how to go about getting clothes without spending huge amounts of money.Other chapters include: Non Military courtesy; What are girls?; The Job Deal; Bucking and Bitching; Psychiatrists; Organizations for the returning Vet; How to talk Civilian.The book talked about the TS slips that were discussed here earlier, and included some vernacular like:Banging Ears DildockKP, KP! Throw the god@#$& grease (instead of please pass the butter) Look, Jack! You sucking around for a bruise? (instead of saying I disagree with you)Hey Paisano!(asking for Police help)Who's CQ? (Who is in charge here?)That goon is strictly the dildock of the eight balls. (He is unfit for the job.)My question is:What was it like when you came back and had to adapt to civilian life? How were you treated by friends, family and strangers? Did you have trouble adjusting or trouble "toning down the language" when you got back? I'd like to know how you managed your transition back to civilian life. Any amusing stories?

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Postby PunchyPowell » Sat May 14, 2005 12:19 pm

I had been rotated home and married shortly after my return from England and reassigned to the Flight Test Div at Wright-Patterson AFB. Suddenly I learned about rationing--gas, tires, food, you name it and particularly later in '45 when the "point system" came out and I separated from the service and returned to WVU to get my degree. We were expecting a baby and had our first born while I was back in college. The G.I. Bill was giving me $75 a month and my G.I. insurance took $20.30 of that and our rent of a postage stamp sized apartment took another $55, leaving nothing. Betty and i both took part-time jobs so I could stay in school. We spent nothing on clothes because I wore my old G.I. pants and/or shirts mostly. We were too busy trying to survive to worry about psychological problems. I don't remember any of the veterans suffering postwar heebie-jeebies and needing psychological care. It did take me awhile to not include a few choice words in my conversations so common to our military lives. Although I had gone through a fraternity "Hell Week" before the war I couldn't afford to become a fraternity member postwar, but my friends in the frat invited us to every party and treated us like we were members. Veterans fast became the majority back in college and their experiences and maturity set new standards for college life. But, poor or not, we had lots of fun and took our studies seriously. For example, pre-war I had discovered "girls" and made only average grades. Postwar, and now married and a father, I made mostly "A's" in my classes. So, in summary, becoming a civilian again had its difficulties, but it also presented new and different opportunities if you were willing to face up to them, and we were. -- bp
Robert H. "Punchy" Powell328th Fighter Squadron352nd Fighter Group"West 'by gawd' Virginian"
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