OCR Interpretation


Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, December 10, 1944, Image 50

Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1944-12-10/ed-1/seq-50/

What is OCR?


Thumbnail for C-5

Engineer Corps Has Vital Task
In Modem Mechanized Warfare
(This is the fifth of a series of articles dealing with the Army Service
Forces and the all-encompassing role it is playing in the logistics of
total war. The Star invites its readers behind the scenes of the world’s
biggest business.)
By Nelson M. Shepard.
Science and invention have made modem warfare a mechanized operation.
As a result the Corps of Engineers has become one of the most important branches
of the Army. Tanks and trucks and planes must have roads and i«r.rttng fields
to operate on. The Air Corps can be effective only to the extent that the engineers
provide it with facilities. Without the engineers, not a gun could have been fired
in France that June 6, 1944—not for many hours, perhaps days, after the landings
on the Normandy beaches.
And on that D day dawn—as it was in other invasions—it was the engineer
who went along with the Navy to set off the fireworks, just a few minutes before
the order wax given to “hit the beaches.” For it’s the engineer’s job to blast gaps
through underwater barriers to enable the assault troops to get through. Putting
ashore with the first waves, the engineers get their bulldozers into action, lay wire
mesh over the sands or other treacherous
terrain to permit the vehicles of war to
move. They knock down bunkers, build
roads, by-pas& destroyed bridges, clear
paths through mine fields and generally
set the tempo for the Army’s advance.
Typical of the known and unknown
engineer heroes of that Normandy D
day were two bulldozer operators, since
awarded the Army's Distinguished Serv
ice Cross.- They were Pvt. Vinton W.
Dove of 2647 Forty-first street N.W.,
Washington, and Pvt. William J. Shoe
maker of Evansburg, Pa.
Working in shifts with their bull
dozers, they dragged scores of capsized
vehicles onto the beaches, ignoring artil
lery, mortar and machine-gun fire. Then
they turned their attention to smashing
Improvisation, the fact that we were in
the midst of rebuilding from World
War X and that the heavy equipment
industry, under the stimulus of com
petition, was developing a program of
peacetime construction on a scale new
even to the experience of this country.
When we were bombed into war at
Pearl Harbor we did not lack the means
for speedy preparations. The Axis chiefs
had counted on time being on their side
because for years they had been
planning, producing and preparing for
war. But with the workpower of the
world’s best construction equipment, we
soon began to throw their time calcula
tions out of gear.
In time so short it amazed them, we
The Corps of Engineers has been
linked with official Washington for
many years. Under the law, one
of the District Commissioners must
be an Army engineer officer. Until
late years, some Army engineer
officer has always been designated
superintendent of public buildings
and grounds in the District. Maj.
Gen. U. S. Grant, 3d, who formerly
held such office, is now chairman
of the National Capital Park and
Planning Commission.
Port Belvoir, in nearby Virginia,
has been a training center for
thousands of engineer officers in
this war. There, every phase of en
gineer combat duty is rehearsed.
Washington firms also have con
tributed to the engineer program.
The total value of contracts
awarded by the Engineer Corps for
supplies and construction in the
Washington area during the 1944
fiscal year amounted to $8,250 184.19.
airport was needed. French engineers
for years had striven to build such a
field but had been unable to complete
one because Bone lies on a mud flat.
For lack of adequate air defense it was
feared the port would have to be closed.
United States aviation engineers were
given 14 days in which to build an
airfield. The job was done on time.
In the liberation of France the key
..— linn—.■ ——mi— w 'IIHwmSSktohMHMIHhmKNmPIIMHHi
Typical engineer equipment shown in a landing operation on one of the Solomon Islands in
cludes a crane, a fire truck, a bulldozer, a water distillation unit and construction materials.
-—8iin»l Corps Photo.
road blocks, filling in gaping antitank
traps and helping clear a way for ad
vancing troops. “Their courageous ac
tions permitted vehicles and armor to
move out in support of the infantry',”
the citation revealed.
Bulldozers Make History
Some day, when the official history of
this war is w'ritten, due credit will be
given the bulldozer and the part it has
played on every front—particularly in
Pacific island warfare.
In this mc*t mobile of wars, movement
is the responsibility of the engineers.
They build, they destroy, they fight—
with the twofold purpose of aiding this
movement of friendly troops, and im
peding the movement of the enemy.
They drop out of airplanes with demo
lition equipment strapped to their backs.
They clear the way, then move into
battle to fight shoulder to shoulder with
the infantry.
Today the Engineer Corps is the
largest of the technical services and has
more uniformed personnel overseas than
any other branch—arm or service—
except the infantry and Air Corps.
Among their other specialties, engi
neers build and operate portable pipe
lines which largely have taken over the
bulk movement of fuels in combat zones.
They fight fires and supply water where
ever the Army goes, build and repair
ports through which move the unending
flow of supplies. The engineers handle
a wide assortment of floating equipment
including port repair ships, seagoing
dredges, assault boats and pontoons.
They also make millions of maps for
the Army, without which planning is
useless.
men, too. they are in the camouflage
business. They operate utilities, run
sawmills and even generate gas. They
are the earth-movers—moving dirt faster
than it has ever been moved before.
Their motto is "Essayons"—which means
“Let's Try”—and there's nothing they
won’t try, and accomplish. Maj. Gen.
Eugene Reybold is chief of engineers.
In First World War
In World War I, the engineers set
new records in widening the scope of
their activities. They repaired and
maintained light and standard guage
railroads, built roads and bridges, did
general construction in Army areas,
handled the water supply, produced
maps, camouflage. They built new ship
berths, storage and housing facilities.
In the words of Gen. John J. Pershing:
"Among the most notable achievements
of the AEP was the work of our engineer
troops. • • • The scientists said it
couldn’t be done, but the damn fool
engineers didn’t know that, so they went
ahead and did it.”
Now that the war is in its final stages,
military construction is a problem pri
marily for the overseas theaters of
operation. It is possible now to reveal
many of the miracles of engineering and
construction performed since the Axis
war makers made it imperative that the
United States become the arsenal of
democracy. The War Department's con
struction program since June, 1940, in
cluding more than 19,000 projects, rep
resents the biggest building job in his
tory. Begun by the Quartermaster Corps
and transferred to the Corps of Engi
neers late in 1941, this accomplishment
is a tribute to all the agencies, indus
tries and individuals that took part.
Something the Axis Missed
Nowhere was the faulty judgment of
the Axis leaders in planning the war
more pronounced than in the field of
heavy construction equipment. They
failed to take into account the Amer
ican’s ready adaptability, his genius for
built tremendous munition plants, huge
airfields and troop cities. We completed
the Atlantic sea bases leased from Great
Britain and constructed supply routes
over 56,000 miles to our overseas pos
sessions and to those of the Allied
nations.
The century-old tradition of the Army
Engineers for improvisations in emer
gencies served them well, for time was
the vital factor and speed the very heart
of our preparedness program.
A Good Head Start
When defense construction became
war construction after December 7, 1941,
the basic requirements of our expanding
Army were at least well on the way so
that they could be completed in time
and in proportion to the expansion of
the personnel.
The conclusive test of the Engineers’
preparations and advance construction
may be judged in the light of our mili
tary advances on far-flung battle fronts.
When war did come, the needs of ord
nance and air facilities were pushed
ahead at top speed. From December
16, 1941, to March 15, 1942, more than
$2,000,000,000 of new work was author
ized and nearly $600,000,000 of It was
already in place. By June, 1942, the
tempo of performance had increased bo
much that the value of completed work
rose to the astounding figure of approxi
mately $20,000,000 daily.
Hammers wielded by American work
ers were ringing . around the world.
Never before in history had such activity
been recorded. Within our own borders,
more than $11,000,000,000 worth of con
struction had gone as America plunged
into an all-out war effort.
American engineers, in war as in
peace, have always been able to demon
strate their ability to meet the unlooked
for situation, to do the ‘‘impossible,” as
Gen. Pershing reminded.
Emergency Causeway
When Col. Albert G. Matthews arrived
at Port Moresby to command the Amer
ican engineers working with the
Australians, he was confronted with the
emergency need of providing more dock
facilities for supplies. The only ap
parent solution was to dredge a larger
area and build new docks. This seemed
impossible because there were no large
dredges within a thousand miles. Jap
planes were making daily raids.
In Moresby Bay, a half mile from the
mainland, lay a small, flat island in
fairly deep water. Col. Matthews had
an idea. Prom one of the unloaded
ships in the harbor he got earth-moving
equipment, including three large bull
dozers. The latter were put to work
immediately, shoving dirt into the bay.
Within 20 days a causeway connecting
Port Moresby with the island was com
pleted, despite frequent aerial attacks.
The effect was that the island became
a large circular dock and the causeway
was used as the road over which trucks
carried the landed cargoes ashore. The
Japs never were able to blast this cause
way out of the water and Port Moresby
was kept supplied.
On Attu, in the Aleutians, the Japs
scratched for 11 months with their in
ferior equipment to level a landing strip
which American engineers could have
built in 11 days. When Attu was taken
the Jap air strip was still unfinished.
The north coastline of Africa was
ringed with landing fields within a few
weeks after the Allied invasion. These
fields crept forward like a barrage to
intensify the sting of our air power by
putting bases closer and ever closer to
the Afrlka Korps.
To defend the Port of Bone, a large
to the Allied supply system was the port
of Cherbourg. Here port construction
and repair groups of the Army engineers
gave a notable demonstration of their
ready adaptability in taking advantage
of every opportunity.
Nazi demolitionists did & thorough job
in Cherbourg. After the debris in the
port area had been cleared, the en
gineers faced one of the biggest jobs
of the European campaign in rebuild
ing the demolished docks and quays and
building new dockside unloading facili
ties to increase cargo tonnage. It was
a tougher job than that necessitated at
Naples. But within a comparatively
short time, considering everything, the
port of Cherbourg was made ready for
the heaviest cargo-unloading operations
it had ever known, even in peacetime.
Many Big Jobs
These are only a few of the many
overseas war jobs the engineers are
called upon to do. There are many
others, all vital to the business of fight
ing. Docks, port facilities, cantonments,
hospitals and fortifications have been
provided in every theater of operations.
All overseas construction except Signal
Corps lines is an engineer function.
Engineers operate all light and power
systems and all other utilities. They
build pipelines to carry precious oil and
gas to the combat lines. They clear
landing beaches of enemy mines. They
are expert in handling booby traps and
in opening safe passageways for the
infantry through the mine fields left
by a retreating enemy. They operate
flame throwers against pillboxes and
concrete emplacements. When neces
sary, too, they use their rifles like
infantrymen. All these, and more, they
perform as routine duties in the face
of the enemy.
jivery name Degins on a map—ana
many are won and lost there. The
engineers provide the maps for the gen
erals who plan the operations and the
soldiers who carry out these operations.
Pilots must have maps so accurate that
they can recognize in a split second
the first things they see when they come
out of the overcast. Artillery must
have maps detailed enough to register
in their mutually supporting batteries.
Mapping the Beaches
For the invasion of Prance, all Allied
troop units had to be supplied with
every detail they were required to
know before landing on the beaches.
The British admiralty was unable to
supply charts that would guide our in
vading soldiers right up onto the dry
beaches. So, two years before D day,
the Corps of Engineers started a
minute study of every beach on the
Atlantic coast of Prance. Little by
little, they drew maps and made models
of the beaches, starting Jn 5 feet of
water and ending on dry land. They
mapped the tides, estimated and set
down the height and width of the surf.
Those were the days when our news
papers and the Berlin radio told of
almost daily "Commando raids’’ along
the coast. Many of these raids were
made by engineers for the purpose of
taking samples of the sand, or of the
inland earth, and to obtain other first
hand information with which to check
their calculations and their maps.
The number of maps needed for a
huge invading army staggers the
imagination.
Say that 2,000,000 men took part in the
invasion erf Europe. Our Army Map
Service supplied them with 130 square
feet of maps pgr soldier. To put it an
other way, each soldier had received
before the invasion the equivalent of
between 40 and 50 road maps of a size
Maj. Gen. Eugene Reybold,
chief of engineers.
—Signal Corps Photo.
such as oil companies give away to tour
ists at home.
There is hardly a type of map which one
can think of for which war has not shown
a need. In North Africa, maps showed
the probable movements of sand dunes
in certain seasons. Paratroopers carry
maps which glow in the dark. Special
maps show winds, air currents and
thermal effects, the bearing strength of
soils, even caves.
The Quartermaster Corps is supplied
maps keyed to the kind of clothing that
should be issued in any month of the
year in any part of the world. For the
invasion of Sjpily, the geologists of the
engineers had to prepare maps which
were virtually divining rods, for they
gave all “probable” water well sources..
Our commanders found them better
than any information gained from the
natives.
The Great Map Hunt
Maps being so important in modern
war, one would think the Army would
have been well supplied with all kinds.
Not so. Twenty-four hours after Pearl
Harbor was bombed, about all the in
formation we could dig up on the many
islands in the Pacific was a collection of
maps and sketches, most of them a hun
dred years old. In some cases the en
gineer mapmakers had to go back to a
book by Pere du Halde, published in
Paris in 1735. Australia was virtually
unmapped. For places like Truk,
Tarawa and other South Pacific islands,
about all we had was the memory of
old shipmasters in this country and
sketches by missionaries.
Nor were matters much better in
facilities for the physical. The Army's
map-prints establishment at that time
was tucked away in small quarters at
the Army War College. Its few presses
were sadly unequal to the prodigious job
ahead. The British, early in 1942, sent
over their No. 1 map man. Brig. Martin
Hotine. He sat down with Col. Herbert
B. Loper of our Engineers, Intelligence
Branch, and the two of them worked
out a mapping agreement covering the
world. The British would handle the
Eastern Hemisphere. The Americans
would take care of the Western Hemi
sphere. All maps would be standard.
Then began a hunt for maps and map
makers. It was the greatest map hunt
in history, with thousands of individual
collectors and owners of maps co-oper
ating. The leading mapmakers were
recruited and six months after Pearl
Harbor the engineers' mapmaking ma
chinery was set up to smash all produc
tion records.
(The next installment of the Army
Service Forces series, which will ap
pear in The Star next Sunday, deals
with the activities of the Chemical
Warfare Service.)
Pack; Artillery Solves Problem.
For Army in Jungle Warfare
By Sergt. John L. Kent.
Our big guns will not win the Pacific
warl In the final showdown in the
jungles of Indo-China and Malaya, we
will not be able to use our large guns.
Neither can we depend on mobility to
assure victory. Here in the jungle the
biggest gun is almost useless and the
best tanks and fastest trucks get stuck
in the bogs and swamps and juiMle
underbrush.
Firepower and mobility is winning
the war in Europe. Our large guns,
the 240-millimeter and 155-millimeter
“Long Toms" ^nd the many smaller
guns mounted on speedy weapon car
riers and half-tracks are used to
“soften up” and breach the enemy’s
defenses. It was mobility and firepower
which paved the way for Hitler’s suc
cesses early in this war, and it was
mobility and firepower which Sen.
Patton used in his break-through from
Normandy.
Can’t Use Biggest Guns
But in the jungle we can’t use our
long-range artillery for we will only
shatter trees, and we cannot attempt
large-scale tank warfare for our tanks
It it organized for service in mountain
ous country, on narrow trails or in
jungles where it is impossible for other
types of artillery to move about.
The 75-mm. Pack Howitzer
The basic weapon of pack artillery
is the 73-milllmeter pack Howitzer. It
is an artillery piece which fills the gap
between a mortar and a gun. The pack
howitzer is so made that it can be
taken apart into small pieces and car
ried on the backs of mules or even in
special packboards on the soldiers'
backs. Next to its light weight and
portability, which is an important con
sideration in jungle warfare, is its
ability to shoot a “high-angle” shell.
The howitzer can operate at an angle
as high as 45 degrees, tossing the 15
pound shells over the jungle trees and
down upon the enemy. In ordinary
field artillery guns, the shells are fired
at the enemy and travel almost parallel
to the surface of the ground. A shot
fired by a field gun would hit the first
tree in its way and be stopped before
causing any damage to the enemy.
The pack type howitzer has wooden
wheels with steel rims which are much
mules. These six-mule packs can be
quickly unpacked and the howitzer set
up to fire in a matter of minutes.
Pack artillery battalions are com
posed of batteries, each battery being
equipped with four of these 75-mm. pack
howitzers and the personnel to op
erate it.
In the jungle, efficiency depends to a
large extent upon the ability of the per
sonnel to pack the necessary material,
equipment and cargo on the backs of
animals and deliver them loaded at the
proper place and at the proper time.
This should be easy, you think, for given
directions and the necessary time, there
should be no reason why the troops
should not arrive at the proper place
on time.
But the jungle is most unobliging.
Although the men are alrdeay cavalry
men and artillerymen, they must turn
engineers in order to lead their mule
train through the jungle. The impor
tant thing is that it can be and is being
done right now. This portable firepower
can be transported where needed. It is
our Army’s answer to the question of
how to provide mobility and firepower
to our troops fighting in the jungle.
Moving big guns, like the
155-mm. rifle shown above,
often presents insurmountable
problems in jungle fighting.
■—Signal Corps Photos.
%
will be easy prey for .Tap snipers and
flame throwers when they slow down
due to the many jungle obstructions, or
while the tankmen are waiting for the
engineers to clear the way.
It would seem that we are at a dis
advantage. Not only have we never
fought a long jungle w’ar, but we are
fighting an army which is especially
suited for jungle warfare.
But many years ago the Army de
veloped a weapon and a method by
which firepower gnd mobility is re
stored to our forces where the terrain
does not permit the use of large guns.
Our “secret weapon" for fighting the
Jap in the juhgle Is our lightweight
pack artillery.
Pack artillery is field artillery in
wnich the cannon, ammunition and
supplies are carried on pack animals.
lighter than the standard field howitzer's
steel wheels with rubber tires. It
weighs but 1,270 pounds and breaks
down into packs to fit on backs of six
as———■ 1 i ————E—B——WB—EBI
These soldiers demonstrate
the method of moving a 75
mm. howitzer by hand in New
Guinea.
It’s Not the Drinking, but What Is Causing It,
That Needs Watching, Says Army Chief Psychiatrist
By Miriam Ottenberg
That young soldier with the battle
ribbons, who puts his foot on the bar
and orders a round of drinks, may be
hiding a heap of uncertainty^behind his
bold front.
He and a lot of his friends, says the
Army’s chief psychiatrist, Col. William
C. Menninger, sense they are having
difficulty in fitting into the civilian life
around them and they’re looking for
“outs.” That's why some of them turn
to whisky.
“They have forgotten what it’s like to
be a civilian,” the psychiatrist ex
plained. “They’re different men from
the ones who went away. They've been
places. They’ve' grown 10 years in 2.
They’ve been so much closer to the
throne on high than the people at home
that there's an unbridgeable gap between
the combat veterans and the civilians.”
Soldier drinking, which is worrying
many civilians, is just a symptom of
the much bigger problem of “turning
soldiers into civilians again,” Col. Men
ninger declared.
“The drinking in itself isn’t some
thing we have to be alarmed about,” he
contended. “Yes, there’s some extra
drinking. Some youngsters who wouldn’t
be drinking if they’d stayed in civilian
life are drinking now. But we don’t
have to assume this is going to lead to
any marked increase in chronic alcohol
ism. It can be a very temporary thing.
Getting Them Readjusted
"What we should be alarmed about—
and do something about—is the problem
of getting these men readjusted in their
communities. Drinking for these men
is like a fever in a pneumonia case. You
don’t treat the fever. You treat what’s
causing it.
Most returning soldiers, he said, are
restless. They’re not sure exactly what
they want to do. Some soldiers coming
back to civilian life can’t stand living
at home any more. Some, particularly
those who hadn’t been married long,
don’t get along with their wives. Some
of the men are wandering from town to
town. Too restless to stay at any one
job, said the psychiatrist, the men are
“noundering”—and that’s when a few
of them are turning to alcohol.
But the main problem, he felt, was the
difference that’s grown, up between sol
diers and civilians.
“It's like admixture of oil and water,”
he explained. “It takes time to get an
emulsion. I don’t think you can expect
the average GI to be understood by ci
vilians or to understand immediately the
civilian’s role in the war.
"When you consider that the combat
soldier envies the job of the man at
headquarters 15 miles behind the line
and that one envies the one even fur
ther back in communications, who, in
turn, may resent the soldiers on this side
of the ocean, you can imagine how the
front-line soldier feels about civilians.
The returning soldiers, Col. Menninger
explained, can't harmonize what they
left behind with what they find here. He
said he had felt the sharpness of the
contrast himself on a battle-front tour
recently when he left the bitterly cold,
rain-drenched front with its constant
threat of death, and returned to Paris.
It seemed almost unbelievable, he said,
that there could be a place where he
could sit down to a well-served meal
with an orchestra playing softly in the
background of an attractively decorated
dining room.
Nothing to Look Forward to
"These men have been living and
thinking and feeling for months in an
environment where they have nothing to
look forward to but another day and
night of complete hell,” he pointed out.
"Then they come home to find few
outward aspects of war except longer
lines waiting for seats in restaurants.
They try to talk to their old friends but
they find they can't put what they feel
into words. They can’t explain how
they felt when they saw their best friend
with his head blown off.
“A soldier gets a certain kind of feel
ing that it’s impossible to convey. Be
cause he can’t convey that feeling, he
feels civilians don’t understand him.
That just adds to his general feeling of
not fitting. He may try to escape from
that feeling by drinking.”
At first, Col. Menninger explained,
drinking might only be an expression of
freedom. While he’s in the service, the
psychiatrist pointed out, a soldier gets
a few days off occasionally from a situa
tion where he’s been close to the grind
stone for a long time. The grindstone
may simply be the discipline of Army
life or it may be combat.
"He has two or four or, if luck is with
him, seven days when it doesn’t matter
what time he gets in or where he goes.
He comes to town looking for what the
ordinary GI—or civilian—thinks of as a
good time. He's crying for just the
opposite of what he’s had to take.”
Discovering Freedom
When he comes back from combat
with a month’s leave or is discharged
from the Army, Col. Menninger went on,
“he discovers again this strange new
-thing called freedom."
"For the first week, he rejoices in the
fact there's no bugle to wake him up.
Then he’s disconcerted because he wakes
up at 6 a.m. anyhow. He’s been living
in a certain way for a long time and he
can't shake off those fetters of the Army
routine.
"After that first week or two if he
doesn’t have some purpose, some plan,
he’s going to begin to flounder. About
that time, he may decide it would be
easier not to live at home or even in
the same community. He feels his wife
and friends don’t understand him. He
may team up with another veteran be
cause they talk the same language.
"If he’s ever done any drinking, he
knows that in alcohol he will find an
artificial exhilaration in which the world
doesn't look the way it does when he’s
sober.”
Release From High Tension
Men who have been living under high
tension for months can’t be expected
to settle down at once to quiet evenings
at home or the monotony of a desk job,
Col. Menninger pointed out, but if their
restlessness continues, if they start
drinking heavily, some one who cares
what happens to them ought to step into
the picture.
“There’s no reason why a wife, mother
or boss should assume the man is such
a child that he can’t be talked to about
his abnormal traits,” the psychiatrist
declared. As a last resort, he suggested
trying this sort of approach to the
veteran:
“I appreciate what you’ve done and
what you’ve gone through, but now you
can’t go on acting like a child. After
all, if you’re ever going to get readjusted,
you've got to make some effort to help
yourself.”
Sense of Insecurity
Col. Menninger pointed out that an
accepted explanation of chronic alco
holism in civilians is that excessive
drinking is closely tied up with a sense
of insecurity.
A soldier who feels he doesn’t fit at
home because of the gap between sol
dier and civilian life or because he can’t
convey what he’s been through or be
cause he’s restless and doesn’t dmow
what to do with his new found freedom
may feel uncertain enough, to utilise his
infantile pattern of reaction and find
solace in the whisky bottle, Col. Men
ninger pointed out.
For the very young soldiers, the psy
chiatrist added, drinking may be, a
gesture to express the masculinity they
don’t always feel.
“The soldier in the public eye is very
much of a he-man.” commented Col.
Menninger. He’s got to be. But if
he's just a scared kid. he gets the illu
sion that he's very much of a man by
putting his foot on a bar.” •
The Army doesn t have the authority
to regulate drinking in a community
where soldiers spend their leaves, but
Army regulations. Col. Menninger
pointed out, are very specific in consid*
ering drinking misconduct.
The Army doesn’t allow hard liquor
on its posts. If a man drinks and gets
hurt in an automobile accident, the
Army considers the injury is not in
curred in line of duty. Misconduct
growing out of drinking may even be
punished by court-martial.
“The Army builds its regulations on
the idea that drinking is simply not
to happen, Col. Menninger explained
‘‘That’s not a matter of moral judg
ment but of the soldier’s health and ef
ficiency.”
It’s Up to the Community
Once a soldier gets out of uniform, the
psychiatrist added, it’s up to the com
munity to see he has some place to go
besides a night club. He felt a soldier's
girl friend could help.
Right now, he pointed out, a lot of
girls are drinking just to keep their sol
dier boy friends company. Just like
some of the very young soldiers, many
of these girls wouldn’t ordinarily be
drinking at that age.
“Instead of going along to sit with a
soldier in a dark comer of some beer
joint,” the Army psychiatrist declared,
“a girl can help a lot by diverting his
attention to something else—dancing,
fishing, bowling, any good substitute.
“That’s the same treatment an intel
ligent parent gives an infant. If a
child is throwing a temper tantrum
because he cant have a red wagon, you
try to satisfy him with a set of blocks.
You offer him a good substitute.
Finding New Outlets
On a larger scale, he pointed out, a
community can do the same thing. He
advocated an organized plan of pro
viding recreational, vocational and ed
ucational opportunities—“not just en
tertainment but constructive opportuni
ties for some other outlet than the
escape they find in whisky.*
One of this country’s major jobs, he
predicted, will be turning soldiers into
civilians again. Bars filled with sol
diers and men wearing discharge but
tons are an evidence of how difficult
that job will be.

xml | txt