When I joined the US Marines, I was a high school graduate and an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy. I was not an intellectual—instead, I was a walking libido filled to overflowing with testosterone like so many of my fellow Marines.
I turned twenty-one in Vietnam, and up to that time Vietnam veterans were the best educated force the United States has ever sent into combat—79% had a high school education or better. Two-thirds of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers, and eighty-six percent of those who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, and 1.2% were from other ethnic/racial groups.
If I had gone straight to Vietnam instead of spending a few weeks in Okinawa for additional training, I could have died a virgin—having never known what it was like to be sexually intimate with a woman.
And that reminds me of a film called Mrs. Henderson Presents staring Judi Dench as Mrs. Laura Henderson who opens a theater in London during World War Two with an all-nude female review for the allied troops, because her son had died a virgin in combat and she didn’t want these young men to die without having at least seen a young, nude woman at least once.
In the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, “military sexual trauma” has been so pervasive it got its own acronym: MST.
There are other acronyms—some now obsolete and some not listed—that are used to describe women in the military. I’ve listed a few here that I found from several lists.
Be warned, some of these acronyms and what they mean may offend a few, and I’m sure the last one will offend many.
WAAC = Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps and individual members of – now obsolete
WAC = Women’s Army Corps and individual members of – now obsolete
WAF = Women (in the) air Force and individual members of – now obsolete
WAVES = Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services in the US Navy – now obsolete
WM = Woman/Women Marine(s)
BAM = Broad Assed Marine; pejorative term for women Marines
field 10 = a physically unattractive female service member who becomes an object of desire for male service members after extended time in a field or combat environment away from civilian women.
ma’am = proper method of addressing female officers in particular and all women in general.
WACB (AR 310-50] = Women’s Army Classification Battery
WACSM [AR 310-50] = Women’s Army Corps Service Medal
WEST = weapon effectiveness simulated threat, (AR 310-50] Women’s Enlistment Screening Test
There’s one more acronyms that I could not find—but one I heard more than once from more than one Marine in 1967/68 while I was stationed at Camp Pendleton after my 1966 combat tour in Vietnam.
Marine men called—at least in my unit, the active duty nucleus for the division headquarters of the 4th Marine Division—women Marines SPAM.
Before I define what SPAM meant forty-six years ago, I want to warn you that you might be offended in this age of political correctness with so many words that are considered offensive by one group or another. Just remember, that the SPAM acronym was used by some Marines in the 1960s, and it was never official enough to make any of lists that I researched for this post and probably became obsolete soon after political correctness became a fact of life.
SPAM = Special Prostitute Assigned to the Marines
Considering all of the news about rapes and sexual harassment in the US military today, the use of SPAM to describe women Marines during the Vietnam War might reveal what some military men think about women serving in the military today telling us that maybe the way some men thought back then hasn’t changed much.
Should we be surprised?
The Justice Project reports, “The global sex trade has been increasing over the past 10 years and has now become one of the largest money-makers for criminals, presently taking place as the second largest criminal industry worldwide.”
800,000 are estimated to be trafficked across international borders each year.
80% of these people are females and 50% are minors
The vast majority of these victims will be forced into prostitution, requiring them to service high numbers of clients a day.
There are increasing demands for younger children in the sex slave trade.