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Related subjects: Love, handwritten correspondence, Korean War, the 1950’s, loneliness, separation from loved ones, emotional/mental instability, sexual frustration, U.S. servicemen/women serving overseas, family secrets, elopement, unexpected pregnancy, psychological effects of military service, and Dear John letters.

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By Christine Stevens DeLorenzo

Oh, it was bad. So bad that Jack shared the particulars with Anne a number of times in his letters to her. Something most young soldiers wouldn’t dream of telling their new wives.

Here is one of Jack’s excerpts from “Before I Go Berserk, Hon” telling Anne about a particular incident: “They took about 50 prostitutes away yesterday to give them a V.D. check. They came up from Haeundae the other day. Honey, please believe me when I tell you that I am not fooling around with any of them. They walk around half naked and I don’t even look twice. No kidding. I love you and nobody else excites me.”

V.D. (venereal disease) is acquired as a result of sexual intercourse with an individual who is afflicted. During the Korean War, gonorrhea - a contagious, catarrhal inflammation of the genital mucous membrane of either sex, caused by infection by the gonococcus, Neisseria gonorrhoeae - accounted for three-fourths of all V.D. diagnoses. In case you didn’t know, gonorrhea can also affect other structures of the body, not just the genitals.

During both World Wars and the Korean Conflict, soldiers were lectured via posters, pamphlets, and movies not to pick up good-time girls and to use condoms so not to catch or spread V.D. The army even included warnings, patriotic precepts, and moral advice to remain faithful to loved ones at home in – of all places – K-ration cartons.

Why all the beseeching from the powers that be? Before 1944, a soldier with gonorrhea meant a hospital stay of 30 days. Curing syphilis took even longer – six months. The next year, sulfa drugs and penicillin reduced the average case of gonorrhea to 5 days. In many cases, the afflicted soldier remained on duty status while being treated. Still, there were over 500 servicemen sidelined by V.D. every day.

If soldiers couldn’t control their temptation or urges, condoms were issued at a rate of six per man, per month, free. Soldiers could also purchase them from the PX. Emergency Prophylactic Treatment Kits, sometimes called V-Packettes, were also distributed two per man, per week.

These kits allowed soldiers – who feared V.D. was present – to cleanse themselves and apply ointment. Sulpha and other pills were distributed just in case. Kits included:

1. Tube containing 5 Grams of Ointment (30% Calomel + 15% Sulfathiazole)

2. Direction Sheet

3. Soap-Impregnated Cloth

4. Cleansing Tissue

In “Before I Go Berserk, Hon” Jack tells Anne about a house of pleasure not 100 yards from his barracks. Houses of pleasure were designated places where American soldiers could have sex with prostitutes. These brothels were developed and funded by both the U.S. and the South Korean military to serve American troops on and off U.S. military bases. No doubt some soldiers – married as well as virgins – hungered for a woman’s touch not knowing whether they’d be alive the next day. Those that wore condoms dodged the bullet. Those that didn’t, got infected. And those that got infected and ignored treatment suffered consequences life-changing not only to the G.I., but to his family back home. Jack shares one of those devastating after-effects for one soldier with Anne:

These guys laugh and razz me but when they took a kid to the hospital today they stopped. He has V.D. and his Stradivarius has to be amputated. It’s hard to believe but that isn’t the first one. That guy was 23 and had a wife and 2 kids. He cried like a baby. I feel sorry for him in a way but then again how much could he have loved his wife? When I see examples like that I get unfrustrated very fast.”

I have to give credit to Jack for divulging to Anne such intimate and gory details about the soldiers’ getting V.D. and that prostitutes were available to them. He certainly must have shocked her. For me, that’s what makes Jack’s letters unique - his brutal honesty and his lack of filter.

If you enjoyed Jack’s excerpts about V.D., and want to read more of his letters to Anne, please sign up to be notified when “Before I Go Berserk, Hon” is available. Also, help us spread the word by telling your friends. We appreciate your support! beforeigoberserk.com

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(Army combat uniforms.)

By Emily Richeson Sep 03, 2017 Austin Peay State University

When you fall in love with a soldier, you fall in love with your country.

When you fall in love with a soldier, you force yourself to learn military time and realize that it's what real time is now.

When you fall in love with a soldier, you get butterflies every single day when they put on that uniform (ladies can I get an amen, please?).

When you fall in love with a soldier, you cry more than you ever have. You cry each time they're gone and each time you go without communication for long periods of time.

When you fall in love with a soldier, nothing is set in stone on your end. Plans can and will change at the drop of a hat and planning ahead is impossible.

When you fall in love with a soldier, you fall in love with someone who can be taken for months with one day of notice.

When you fall in love with a soldier, you don't marry a spouse, you marry the military.

Though all that is true, so is when you fall in love with a soldier, you've found the best there is.

When you fall in love with a soldier, you've found someone who not only loves you more than his own life but loves his country more than his own life as well.

When you fall in love with a soldier, a kiss is worth a million dollars, and no expensive gift can compare.

When you fall in love with a soldier, you've fallen in love with someone who appreciates having a bed, running water and warm food.

When you fall in love with a soldier, you've fallen in love with not who you've prayed for, but someone so much more.

Courtesy of theodysseyonline.com

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Compiled by Christine Stevens DeLorenzo

I remember the Korean War very well. And I remember the soldiers who were POWs who supposedly were "brainwashed," quote, unquote, who gave in, so to speak. And when they came back, they were treated like pariahs and traitors.” - Martin Scorsese, Italian-American film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor.

“A military situation at its worst can inspire fighting men to perform at their best.” ― Marguerite Higgins Hall, American War Correspondent/Journalist. (September 3, 1920 – January 3, 1966) Author of War in Korea: The Report of a Woman Combat Correspondent.

I have one criticism about the Negro troops who fought under my command in the Korean War. They didn't send me enough of them.” - Douglas MacArthur, Five-star American general. (January 26, 1880 – April 5, 1964)

I was drafted during the Korean War. None of us wanted to go... It was only a couple of years after World War II had ended. We said, 'Wait a second? Didn't we just get through with that?” - Clint Eastwood, American actor, filmmaker, musician, and politician.

“The U.S. military was segregated ‘til the Korean War, and the blacks in World War Two were totally segregated.” – Clint Eastwood

“Remember this about the Korean War: The men were drafted; the women volunteered. – Loretta Swit, American stage and television actress. Best known for her portrayal of Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on M*A*S*H.

“As a Korean War veteran, I know firsthand and understand the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.” - Charles Rangel, American politician.

With a book called 'Keeping Score,' I really did want to write a book about the Korean War, because I felt that it is the least understood war in the American cultural imagination. So I set out with the idea that Americans didn't know much about the Korean War and that I was going to try to fix a tiny bit of that.” - Linda Sue Park, New York Times best-selling author and 2002 Newbery Medal Winner.

"As a child growing up during the Korean War, I knew poverty. I studied by candlelight." Ban Ki-moon, South Korean diplomat and politician, who served as the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations 2007 - 2016.

“I went home one night and told my dad that an older kid was picking on me. My Dad, a Korean War vet and a Chicago cop for 30 years, told me, ‘You better pick up a brick and hit him in the head.’ That’s when I thought, ‘Wow, I’m going to have to start dealing with things in a different way.’” – Steve Wilkos, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, retired Chicago, IL police officer, American television personality.

Photos courtesy of: newsday.com, Scorsese. Manlihood.com, MacArthur. allpapersdsc.net., Eastwood. thefamouspeople.com, Swit. nbcnews.com, Rangel. tedxbeaconstreet.com, Park. cnn.com, Ki-moon. quotationof.com, Wilkos.

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