Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ten Commandments for Advance Base Personnel (1945)

The following series of comic panels focus on an unfortunate soul named “Mac,” a well-meaning sailor who breaks each of the ten "Health Commandments" while serving at an advanced base in the Pacific during World War II. Mac’s wanton behavior and frequent snafus incurs the wrath of disease, and subsequently his shipmates. Originally published in pamphlet form in April 1945 by the Visual Education Department, Fleet Service Schools, San Diego, CA, these series of comic panels were used as a training tool to educate Navy and Marine Corps personnel on proper hygiene.

Commandment I
Thou shalt not drink water from any source other than that designated, else you become a victim to a fate more potent and virulent than Japanese lead. Thou shalt use thy water sparingly and wisely or your days and your brother’s may be numbered.

Commandment II
Thou shalt not use any spots except chosen ones for the deposition of your excreta. Thou shalt use only these chosen areas from the moment you come ashore, even though it entails walking farther than appears necessary at the moment. The grounds of the camp shall be scared and if used promiscuously as a nocturnal head it shall surely result in the implantation of potentially a veritably savage army of germs which will despoil the health of the entire camp. If the chosen area is a “straddle” trench, thou shalt, after depositing thy waste, completely cover same with the dirt provided at the trench’s end. Thou shalt not urinate on thy brother’s tent or street else he regard you as a dog which you have thereby imitated and treat you accordingly.

Commandment III
Thou shalt take without grumbling the medicine issued for malaria or placed in water for purification. For verily, if you do not take these precautions, ye shall descend into the depths of disease and despair as negligent brethren have proven to you.

Commandment IV
Thou shalt faithfully and carefully wash thy mess gear in the cans provided, even though the smoke and heat be thick and heavy about the fire, for surely, if you desist and become negligent in this habit, your bowels will become as liquid and your guts as knots in a wet rope.

Commandment V
Thou shalt maintain only friendly and discreet attitudes towards natives, else they transmit to you a brand of such heat and violence, your days of virility and youth will be quickly passed.

Commandment VI
Thou shalt eat only the rations provided or inspected and found fit. A delicious vegetable unplucked in a rich native field may harbor an enemy more treacherous than a Japanese war lord.

Commandment VII
Thou shalt judiciously use thy mosquito netting each and every night, if indicated; treating it as a trusty armor against a vole disease. Thou shalt carefully tuck it in around your entire cot; keep it carefully mended and preserved else your days of chills and fever shall surpass your days of good health.

Commandment VIII
Thou shalt make thyself skilled in the art of administering first aid. Your reward will be in the smile of an uninjured comrade you have saved.

Commandment IX
Thou shalt keep thy personal habits clean, for surely cleanliness is next to Godliness: filth is a brother of disease and death. Thou shalt not use thy neighbor’s toilet articles for verify the interchange shall result in odious sentiment and other discomfort.

Commandment X
Thou shalt report promptly for medical attention all minor and trivial injuries and ailments as well as the major ones.

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