September 24, 2014

1968. Someone is Sending Erotica to the Marines

A Literary Windfall
From Wikipedia: "U.S. Marines of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines during Operation Allen Brook in Vietnam, 1968."

January 8, 1968

The Marines in Vietnam get a literary windfall...someone is sending them erotic books to read.


There are military historians who probably could prove that the US Marines have left a string of broken hearts all the way from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli...and now into the boondocks of Vietnam. Because it is in the tradition of the Marine Corps to include some of the most romantic sea-going fighting men in the American military establishment.

However, apparently there are some people in the United States who think that 180 years of romantic tradition is not enough...that is, enough for the young Leathernecks now fighting south of Vietnam's Demilitarized Zone. For military officials in Saigon report that something new has been added to some of the Red Cross parcels addressed to the Marines up in Eye Corps.

Whats new are the paperback books of such erotic nature that the senders tear off the illustrated front covers to make them appear as ordinary publications.

The Red Cross says it has no idea how the questionable books got into the parcels, although the check is on. But the titles include such hot items as "Forbidden Fruit," "The Passion of Lust," and the confessions of a French Countess...

The report from Saigon did not specify just who of the Marines complained about this literary windfall. And since the books are marked "for adults only," there can be little question that a young Leatherneck, old enough to do battle against the Viet Cong, is also old enough to handle any cheap pornography which may come his way.

As a matter of fact, in today's well-supplied American combat force, the ordinary fighting man is exposed to more genuinely good literature through the Red Cross and other agencies than he normally would be in his home town. And some GI's are getting their first knowledge of Shaw, Shakespeare, or Hemingway reading a paperback.

And if some Marines in Vietnam don't approve of books like "Forbidden Fruit" or "The Passion of Lust," then there's a most efficient solution to the problem...over at the latrine.

This is Bill Downs at the Pentagon for Information Reports.