By Sfc. John M. Holman, U.S. Army, Germany
Hampton Union, November 1953
(Sfc. John Holman sends the Union from Germany the following article which first appeared in an Army publication and was rewritten and revised for home consumption by Sfc. Holman with apologies to the original author).
Issued in solemn warning: this 1st day of November 1953, to the friends, neighbors and acquaintances of Sfc. John M. Holman.
Very soon the above named will once again be in your midst, dehydrated, demoralized and demobilized, to take his place once again, as a human being with freedom and justice for all, engaged in life, liberty and the somewhat belated pursuit of happiness. While making your joyous preparations to welcome him back into society, you must make a few allowances for the strange environment which has been his home for the past 23 months. In a word, he might be a little European, suffering from Germanitis, and he must be handled with extreme care.
Show no alarm if he prefers to wear short leather pants and carries a brief case full of wurst and bread; don't be shocked if he yells, "Wo ist der Bahnhof, Fraulein," and drinks Steinhager out of a goat-skin flask. Refuse to riddicule him when he rides his bicycle down the middle of the street and yells at guys driving cars. Keep cool if he pours gravy on his dessert or mixes peaches with Wein.
Be tolerant when he takes his mattress off the bed and prefers to sleep on the floor. Don't let it shock you if when answering the phone, he says, "Gruss Gott" instead of "Hello," and "Auf Weidershen" instead of "Goodbye."
In a relatively short time he can be taught to speak English again. Never ask him why the boys down the street were able to make a higher rank than what he has, as this is liable to throw him into a violent fit, and do not make remarks as to how nice the uniforms of the Marines or Navy look. He will go insane if the word "re-enlistment" is mentioned in his presence. Above all, never ask why the neighbors' son was stationed in the states for two full years as this statement can lead to many serious events.
Keep in mind that beneath his tanned and rugged hide beats a heart of gold, the only thing of value that he has left. Treat him with kindness and tolerance and an occasional ride in your new Cadillac, and you will be able to rehabilitate that which is now the hollow shell of the once proud civilian you used to know.
Send no mail in care of Postmaster, New York, New York, after 30 November, get the kids off the streets, fill the icebox with cokes, and get the civvies out of mothballs. I'll be on my way home, soon.
Former Hampton Minister Meets Local GI In Germany
Gablingen Kaserne, Germany -- 1952-53
Major Warburton and Sgt. Holman see each other quite often on Field Problems, as Major Warburton tours the Regiments to talk with the various Regimental Chaplains in the field during the exercises.