Wednesday, November 04, 2015
"Oh, no, no, no... it fall off by itself in a few days."
Because military troops stationed in Asia had a STD rate five times plus higher than those stationed in the United States, when you arrived at your duty station you received the Sexually Transmitted Disease talk from some 20 y/o lieutenant. Now I have always felt that it was just a lie used to throw a scare into newly arrived troops but the one subject always mentioned was Black Syphilis, a non-curable STD disease.
Black Syph and Black Syph island is one of those great rumors that Military people always spread as tho it is the truth. The story has been told since World War Two with a number of variations. The most common version during Vietnam is because it was incurable the military would not allow you to return to the United States if you contracted it. You were sent to a secret island with other Black syph infectious people. There you stayed until you died. At the time when you were first sent to the island your family was notified that A) you were missing in action or B) you were blown up by an explosive and an empty sealed coffin was returned to the family with instructions not to open it.
Hard to believe anyone would believe a rumor like that isn't it, but remember this was the military and the military is made up of bullshitters so it was not uncommon for someone to tell the story and swear they knew someone that was sent to the island or was a medic on the island. In Asia there was some basis to backup the rumor as they did have incurable islands for leprosy etc. When World War One was over, the returning troops were held in Europe for several months to see if there was any outbreak on STDs. When Airmen arrived in Okinawa to the unit I was assigned to and after a couple of weeks were transferred to Japan they were put in quarantine for a month to see if any STDs would appear after they had been carousing around the Naminoue bar district.
There is a book called "Wasserman Gardens" by Milo Samardzija that is based on black syph island. The Wassermann reaction test is used as an antibody test for syphilis.
Wassermann Gardens is the story of a group of young soldiers who have contracted a wildly contagious and fatal disease. The disease is considered so dangerous to humanity that the soldiers are declared Missing in Action and quarantined on an unknown and unnamed island in the South Pacific, where they must live out their few remaining years.
So ask a vet if you want to know about Black syph.
Oh, the title of this post is just the punch line from an old STD joke