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Journal of social hygiene (Volume 28) online

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present or potential shortage of labor are being operated.
All youth to be eligible for employment on these projects must
agree in writing, prior to assignment, to accept employment
in industry related to national defense or war production if
and when offered in good faith.

Standards for health examinations have therefore been set up
in accordance with the intent of the National Youth Administration
Appropriation Act, namely, a pre-placement physical examination
which will serve as a guide in the placement of NYA, youth for work
in defense or war industry and in work that will not aggravate any
existing health defects or endanger fellow workers.

With the assistance of local medical associations, nursing associa-
tions, dental associations, clinics and other health agencies, each war
production training project secures the services of qualified physicians
and, where necessary, of nurses and dentists. In some instances, a
panel of physicians is set up, and in others an examining physician
is employed on a per diem basis. The primary duty of the physician
is the administering of the pre-employment health examination. The
"Health Examination Record" is the form used to record health
examination data at each project. Immediately following the pre-
employment physical examination, an analysis of the data on this
form is made, since this examination record provides a foundation



for health counseling and referral services. At the resident centers,
there is provision for infirmary care for emergency illnesses occurring
while the youth is in residence.

At each project there is on the administrative staff a representative
of the Division of Youth Personnel. This representative is respon-
sible for directing and supervising the registration, selection, assign-
ment, classification and occupational adjustment of youth employees;
for evaluating the progress of youth on projects and for determining
their readiness for employment ; and for all health activities, including
arrangements with public health agencies, clinics, and individual
physicians and dentists for the conduct of health examinations. The
following specific procedures are in effect:

The Project Youth Personnel Officer schedules pre-placement health
examinations and supervises the execution of the health program at
the project level. It is his responsibility to make arrangements with
clinics, individual physicians and dentists for the conduct of pre-
placement health examinations, and to obtain where necessary other
consultant services by the utilization of existing state and local facili-
ties, such as public and private health agencies.

The Project Youth Personnel Officer is charged with the responsi-
bility of insuring that pre-placement health examinations are given
to all youth employed on the war production training program.
Furthermore, as an integral part of the Project Youth Personnel
Officer's assignment function, it is his responsibility to recommend
to the Project Manager any necessary improvements in the sanitation
and general health conditions at resident and non-resident work
locations, and, in collaboration with the Project Manager, to assume
responsibility for the adequate maintenance of infirmary and sanitary

In summary, the objectives of the pre-placement health examination
and infirmary care program are as follows :

(1) To provide a standard pre-placement health examination for
each youth assigned to a war production training project, which
examination shall be for the purposes of determining that the youth
will be physically able to participate in the work training program
of the National Youth Administration and to accept employment in
war industry at the completion of his training.

(2) To make available health counsel and referral services for
assisting youth in the correction of physical conditions which may
limit or prevent their employment in war industry, and to utilize
all available resources for this purpose if such corrections may be
completed during the youth's training period. (The National Youth
Administration does not pay for rehabilitation services to prepare
youth for placement.)

(3) To make arrangements with hospitals to care for acute and
non-com pensable illnesses requiring hospitalization in other than
project facilities.


(4) In work locations with a large youth load, to correlate the
duties of nurses with first aid and safety functions.

A nationwide survey of youth on the out-of -school program of the
National Youth Administration during the years 1941-1942 entitled
The Health Status of NY A Youth will be released in the near future.
This report, which contains detailed statistical data on the health of
NYA youth, was prepared jointly by the National Youth Adminis-
tration and the U. S. Public Health Service, and will be obtainable
from the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.


Since the American Social Hygiene Association was established,
the affairs of youth have been one of its chief concerns, and every
effort has been made to work particularly with youth and youth-
serving agencies and leaders. At present the Association's Youth
Service is in direct cooperation with something over a thousand
individuals and agencies whose main interest is the health and
welfare of young people. A few of the national voluntary organiza-
tions are listed 'below :

Alpha Epsilon Delta: National Honorary Pre-medieal Fraternity; National Sec-
retary, Maurice L. Moore, Medical-research Division, Sharp and Dohme, Glenol-

den, Pennsylvania.
American Student Health Association: Secretary-Treasurer, Ealph I. Cannteson,

M.D., University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
American Youth Commission: Director, Floyd W. Beeves, 744 Jackson Place,

Washington, D. C.
Association of the Junior Leagues of America, Inc.: Executive Secretary, Mrs.

DeForest Van Slyck, the Waldorf-Astoria, New York, N. Y., President, Mrs. Lin-

ville K. Martin, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Secretary, Mrs. C. H. A.

Armstrong, Toronto, Canada.
Boys' Clubs of America: Executive Director, David W. Armstrong, 381 Fourth

Ave., New York, N. Y.
Boy Scouts of America: Chief Scout Executive, James E. West, 2 Park Ave.,

New York, N. Y.
Camp Fire Girls: Section and National Executive, Lester F. Scott, 88 Lexington

Ave., New York, N. Y.
Girl Scouts, Inc.: National Director, Mrs. Paul Rittenhouse, 14 West 49th St.,

New York, N. Y.
National Committee on Boys' and Girls' Club Work, Inc.: Managing Director, G.

L. Noble, Auditorium Tower, 56 East Congress St., Chicago, 111.
National Council of Jewish Juniors: 1819 Broadway, New York, N. Y.
National Girls' Work Council: Chairman, Elizabeth Nye, 610 Lexington Ave.,

New York, N. Y.
National Student Federation: President, Mary Jeanne McKay, 1410 H Street,

N.W., Washington, D. C.
National Student Health Association: Paul B. Comely, M.D., Howard University,

Washington, D. C.
United Service Organizations: Secretary, K. Kenneth-Smith, Empire State Bldg.,

New York, N. Y.
United States Junior Chamber of Commerce: Executive Vice-president, Douglas

H. Timmerman, La Salle Hotel, Chicago, 111.
Young Men's Christian Associations, National Council of: General Secretary,

Eugene E. Barnett, 347 Madison Ave., New York, N. Y.
Young Women's Christian Associations, National Board of: General Secretary,

Emma P. Hirth; Health Education Secretary, Edith M. Gates, 600 Lexington

Ave., New York, N. Y.



EDITOR'S NOTE: Though many changes have occurred in the
twenty-five years since the First World War, some things remain
as they were. Among these is the concern of the older generation,
especially of the men and women who saw service with the armed
forces in 1917, that the younger generation now taking on the fighting
job, whether in Army, Navy or war industry, shall understand
how to get that job done quickly and well, and without damage
to themselves, either physically or morally. Lynn U. Stambaugh,
National Commander, American Legion, expresses the idea in a
foreword to Fall In, the Legion's handy booklet for young men
entering service: ... "it is our desire ... in offering you this
information culled from our own memorable experiences ... to
attempt to make your road just a little smoother, your great task
a little easier, and above all to make the success of your accom-
plishment secure. "... The same thought is behind the War Depart-
ment 's pamphlet The Army and You, the leaflets on Sex Hygiene
and Venereal Diseases given by both Army and Navy to recruits,
and the ASHA leaflets So Long Boys Take Care of Yourselves,
Vital to Victory and Calling All Women, of which millions of copies
have been distributed in the past two years.

The JOURNAL reprints here, with permission of the respective
authors and editors, three forceful illustrations of this effort to
make the knowledge and experience of another wartime generation
serve today. Aside from the good effect of such "straight talk"
on those who will listen, it is of special interest and encouragement
to social hygiene workers as indicating citizen support of social
hygiene objectives and principles.

The Bright Shield of Continence, by Commander Gene Tunney,
U. S. Naval Reserve, was first published for the five million readers
of The Reader's Digest (August, 1942) and has continued to be
distributed in reprint form. A Father's Farewell to His Soldier
Son, by W. Henson Purcell, managing editor of the Daily American,
West Frankfort, Illinois, was first published in that newspaper and
has been reprinted in numerous other papers and bulletins. To
All Women and Girls, by Edith Livingston Smith, was widely dis-
tributed in extra cantonment areas during the First World War
and is now being reprinted by the American Social Hygiene
Association in response to many demands.




United States Naval Eeserve

The AEF of 1917 suffered 100,000 more casualties from venereal
disease than from enemy bullets. Today, in the camps where
American manpower is being mobilized, syphilis and gonorrhea
again threaten to impair the efficiency of our armed forces. Alarmed,
medical authorities of the army and navy are laboring to check the
plague with the preventive and curative methods of modern science.
Yet they agree that the best solution of the venereal problem is not
medical, but moral. Sexual continence is the strongest weapon yet
devised to combat venereal infection.

The battle against syphilis and gonorrhea is distinctly worth
winning, both for the individual soldier and the nation he serves.
Syphilis can shatter body and mind causing ulcers of the flesh,
ulcers of the bone, ruptured blood vessels, doddering paralysis and
progressive insanity. Gonorrhea, the great crippler, attacks the
joints, causing inflammation, arthritis, invalidism. The germs may
be carried to the heart, inflaming the cardiac lining and bringing on
heart trouble, collapse and death.

Until the outbreak of the present war, medical science was win-
ning the battle against these ancient plagues. New treatments were
curing syphilis, making it rapidly noninfectious, incapable of spread-
ing. The newly-discovered sulfa drugs were almost miraculous cures
for gonorrhea. So bright was the prospect, that in the normal
course of American life venereal disease would have been virtually
eliminated within a few decades.

But with the coming of war the picture changed swiftly. "While
Selective Service mobilized great masses of men, commercialized
vice mobilized a counter-army of prostitutes who flocked to the
vicinities of military camps. The trend of progress against venereal
disease was halted then reversed, as more and more men fell victim
to the spirochete and gonococcus. The venereal rate among draftees
as they were inducted was practically zero, since draft boards
weeded out infected men. Yet, within a year or so, 40 in every
thousand had gonorrhea, and 11 had syphilis. At present venereal
disease is responsible for more hours lost from army duty than any
other illness.

Authorities are doing their best to check these ravages, but the
plague spots around military camps multiply faster than they can
be wiped out. Motorized brothels transport prostitutes from one
camp to another; hundreds of girls are shipped like cattle by vice
syndicates. In juke-box joints and red-light districts, the cheapest
and most diseased classes of harlots ply their trade. If these places
are raided, the girls are whisked away to other camps, or engage in
furtive streetwalking.


That these prostitutes are packages of transmissible disease is
revealed by statistics: out of every 1000-, 500 have gonorrhea and
360 are infected with syphilis. Out of 20 recently arrested in one
house (all with medical certificates stating that they were free from
disease), 18 had syphilis or gonorrhea, or both. Tally cards, seized
as evidence, showed how much these prostitutes had earned in one
day ; three cards showed 49, 37 and 28 customers respectively. The
three prostitutes holding these cards responded 4-plus to Wasser-
mann tests.

One can imagine what happened to the 114 service men who
visited them that day! Lulled into a sense of false security by the
"medical certificate," the men probably failed to report for prophy-
lactic treatment and may now be disabled by syphilis.

The grim truth is that these certificates mean nothing. Evidences
of infection in women are usually discernible only by a much more
thorough examination than is ever given in red-light districts. Fur-
thermore, an undiseased prostitute may become infected 20 minutes
after receiving a certificate.

So it's really up to the individual soldier or sailor to be the
guardian of his own safety. A former comrade of mine in the
Marine Corps put it this way: "If you don't touch them, they
can't burn you." And don't make the error of thinking that only
professionals are infected. Easy pick-ups, too, are likely to have
venereal disease.

In a realistic attempt to stamp out venereal disease, the medical
authorities of the armed services see that the men are taught to use
prophylactic medication. They are urged to procure prophylactic
sets when going on leave. If they visit a prostitute, their orders are
to return to camp at once and report for prophylactic treatment.
Theoretically this system should be nearly 100 per cent preventive.
But many men simply don't bother with prophylactics stupidly,
they "take a chance." Others, equally foolish, become diseased
because of delay.

For the longer the interval between exposure and medication, the
greater the risk of developing venereal disease ; if two hours inter-
vene, the risk is seven times greater than after one hour; after
five hours it is 18 times as great. Men are taught this, yet some
will put off the drab chore of medication. Usually alcohol is to
blame. It casts a false glow over the senses and leads men to post-
pone prophylactic treatment until too late.

Since closing the houses of prostitution and issuing prophylactics
are about all the military authorities can do and are relatively
ineffective each service man himself ought to take responsibility
for his fitness. He should, for the duration, set his face against the
temptation of the too costly "good time." And it is here that
strength of character and will power are called for. Our fighting
men can exempt themselves from the horrors of venereal disease,
and increase the efficiency of our armed forces, if they will display
the moral courage that underlies the practice of continence.


Is this too much to ask in our national crisis ? Ordinary athletes
all who engage in sports whether amateur or professional realize
the importance of continence if they are to keep at the peak of
physical form. The average professional boxer, certainly no loftier
in character than the average service man, practices continence.
Not from exceptional idealism; he simply wants to win fights and
nab the big end of the purse. Can our sailors and soldiers, as the
champions of democracy, afford to indulge in sexual promiscuities
scorned by most prize fighters? Dare they forget that in the first
World War seven million days of service were lost to the U. S. Army
as the result of venereal infections?

Does all this sound goody-goody, unrealistic? It wouldn't seem
so if you could walk through army and navy hospitals where
thousands of young men lie disabled as a result of a few moments'
dubious pleasure. Unquestionably these men would have displayed
character and bravery under fire. But in an unguarded hour of
weakness they succumbed to a more insidious enemy. They have
learned too late that no single contribution means more in terms
of individual health and military efficiency than moral bravery
when confronted by the rouged challenge of venereal danger.

The problem is to some extent one of mental attitude. It's
traditional part of the "you're-in-the-army-now" school of thought
that soldiers and sailors on leave turn necessarily to liquor and
women. Many a boy goes along hesitant and worried, yielding to
what amounts to a social persuasion. If this idea were changed,
if continence became a code of the services as it is in athletics, more
service men would tend to accept it.

There is also a widespread opinion that the indulgence is physically
necessary. But this is false. Back in 1917 the General Medical
Board of the Council of National Defense declared that sexual
continence, the best preventive of venereal disease, was compatible
with sound health. The American Medical Association endorsed
this statement. As a matter of fact, some of the greatest contribu-
tions to our civilization have been made by men who practiced
continence as a way of living.

Continence is not an easy victory. Men don't get medals for
practicing it. Yet the victory must be won by our soldiers and
sailors, even though their biologic impulses are heightened by the life-
and-death nature of their mission. These men are far from home,
unable to find consolation for the sexual longing normal to adult
males. Temptations to satisfy the deepest of human hungers in
cheap and momentary satisfactions are constant and seemingly
attractive. But no man should deceive himself by imagining that he
will find consolation, or anything approaching it, in the arms of a
prostitute who has already been handled by 30 or 40 men that day.

What does the brothel patron get that is one-thousandth part as
precious as the thing he destroys? Any man above the emotional
level of a tomcat must realize that the professional's embrace is not


only a menace to health but a shameful desecration of ideal love.
It cannot create (indeed, it endangers) the structure of mutual
affection and shared happiness that the sex relationship builds for
its faithful celebrants.

Even if prostitutes were not diseased; even if medical science
could cure syphilis and gonorrhea in a single day, I would still say
to the members of America's armed forces: "Continence is the only
guarantee of an undefiled spirit and the best protection against the
promiscuity that cheapens and finally kills the power to love."

Lest his body be contaminated and his emotions fouled, the fighting
man must bid a long farewell to catch-as-catch-can pleasures with
diseased women. Only by strict continence, only by individually
renouncing as unworthy and dangerous all invitations to the hired
embrace, can the soldiers and sailors of the United States whip
venereal disease and keep themselves wholly fit for their duties.



Managing Editor of the Daily American, West Frankfort, Illinois

("Bill" is William H. Pureell, Jr., son of the author)

Well, Bill, your number is up. You are going to the army. There
is a job of serious, nasty, and uncivilized business to be taken care
of and you have been assigned a part in it.

The task is unpleasant, repulsive. The assignment is different
to anything that you had planned. Yet it is a privilege as well as
a responsibility. For only Americans the finest of the nation's
manhood are eligible to march with Uncle Sam's armed citizenry
and to participate in this grim game of war.

There is, now, but one thing to do. Make the most of it. Be a
soldier in every sense of the word.

I told you, as a little curly headed boy, when you started to school,
that I wanted you to endeavor always to be the best in your classes.
I had no idea that you would achieve that distinction. I had not
been that caliber of student before you. But that kind of aiming
never has a bad effect on the score.

Then, when you grew up and were thinking of your first job, I told
you that, even though you were employed at nothing more important
than ditch-digging, I wanted you to try to be the best ditch-digger
on the job. I had no idea that you would achieve such top-rank
standing in your chosen vocation. I had not. But ambition and
the will to get ahead never kept anybody down.


Now, as you march with millions of other sons from millions of
other American homes, I want you to put all that you have into this
business of soldiering. It matters not whether you ever wear bars
or stars if you are man enough to be a good soldier. And being a
good soldier means more than drilling and marching and fighting
and dying.

It means living in a man's world as a man should live.

There is an inclination on the part of too many men, once they
are in the army away from the influences of home and family and
reputation to cut loose, go the gaits. There is in the army, as in
civilian life, every social stratum. Every man is on his own. The
choice is yours.

Men, like water, ultimately seek their own level in the army as
elsewhere. Don't lower your standards, Bill.

Then, there is the matter of soldiering. The fellows who have
difficulty with army life are those who refuse to adjust themselves
to the rigid discipline that, although quite stern and harsh, is as
necessary as are guns and tanks and planes. The "yes, Sir" men are
those who get along in the army.

To attempt to buck the game is folly. The army is bigger than
any man in it. Failure to become a working part of it is the worst
mistake any soldier can make. Army life is not easy. To cultivate
a mental feeling of resentment and self pity can only make it more
difficult. That is true of any station in life.

So, I hope, Bill, that you will be able to accept your lot in this
grim business as just another chapter in life's exacting school of
experience and endeavor to get out of it something worth while;
something that will help in the years ahead.

You can always find that something if you search diligently for it.
Never cease searching.

I am saying these things to you not because you are different
from the millions of other young men who have gone and are going
out to engage in this world contest in death but because you are
of my own flesh and blood.

Because, man though you are, you will ever be that little boy
of mine.

The uniform that will shortly be issued to you stands for the
high and noble principles upon which this nation was founded
and has since existed principles that, to much of the rest of the
world, are unknown. It stands for freedom among men and nations ;
the right to live and the will to let live. It stands for humanity,
civilization, Christianity.

It has never gone to war except in defense of the principles for
which it stands. It has never gone on a rampage of conquest of
oppression. That uniform, Bill, is the hope of Old Glory and
130,000,000 Americans. It is the hope of civilization. Wear it


I remember well that day, almost 24 years ago, when, while
sitting in a lecture period at Camp Gordon, I was handed a telegram
that announced that you had made me a father. I was the soldier,
then. You were the war baby.

I remember the day, four months later, when I gazed for the
first time upon your face. I remember every day of your life since
that time. I shall watch and pray every anxious day for your
safe return.

When you have a son of your own some day, as I hope you shall,

Online LibraryAmerican Social Hygiene AssociationJournal of social hygiene (Volume 28) → online text (page 61 of 71)