What happened to R&R?

During the 1965-73 Vietnam War, “Rest and Recreation,” or “R&R,”
was a commonly reported activity for the American forces sent to Vietnam
(As I recall, that mean a one-year tour, which was the limit for draftees.
As to the professional military, the “lifers,”
I do not recall whetherhow many tours they were called to make.).
Half way through their one-year tour, they could expect a “R&R” break,
which they could either spend in Vietnam or, more typically,
go to Thailand to visit the resorts on the Thai beaches.
Access to prostitution was a well-known and widely-reported aspect of those breaks.

So far as I know, no one of consequence in that era
objected to the very well-known use of prostitutes to improve morale
and what is now known as the “mental health” of the GIs.
It was a hard-fought, grueling, dangerous war,
which resulted in over 57 thousand American deaths.
That the GIs who put their lives at risk on a daily basis
in the presumed service of the American nation
were entitled to work off their sexual frustrations in the most natural fashion
was never questioned.
It was the least a grateful nation could do to support the troops
who were suffering so many casualties and grievous woundings,
to give them access to sexual relaxation.
Not only prostitution,
but sex of other natures with the Vietnamese women around the GIs
(performing laundry and other functions),
who were in the vernacular of the time often called “Mama-sans,”
was a commonplace thing.
Some of the results of those relations are discussed in the article cited below.

“Vietnam Legacy: Finding G.I. Fathers, and Children Left Behind”
by James Dao
New York Times, 2013-09-16


By some estimates, tens of thousands of American servicemen
fathered children with Vietnamese women during [the Vietnamese] war.
Some of the children were a result of long-term relationships
that would be unimaginable to the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
where interaction with local people was minimal.
Others were born of one-night stands.


Back to comments by the author of this blog.

So what happened to that time-honored, effective, proven way of
reducing the strain on the troops, improving their mental health, and providing them with R&R?
Sometime in 2005, I believe, President George W. Bush signed an executive order
making use of prostitutes illegal, according the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Of those now concerned about mental health in the military,
are any making a connection between the reports of declining mental health and the loss of access to prostitution by servicemen?

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