By Garland Davis
When you get a group of we Asia Sailors together, the conversation always turns to the Pacific and the Far East. Then there are the stories of liberties in Pusan, Chin Hae, Yokosuka, Sasebo, Kaohsiung, Keelung, Hong Kong, Subic, Vung Tau, Saigon, Subic, Pattaya, Bangkok, Singapore, Phuket, and myriad other ports.
The only conclusion one can reach is that we were infected with something while out there in Asia and the Western Pacific. Let’s face it, we have what the French author Jean Larteguy referred to as the “Yellow Fever.”
A movie character is our Icon. MM1 Jake Holman. To paraphrase his comment to the pretty round-eyed girl from New England, “Asia Sailors ain’t exactly clean-cut American boys. The clean-cut boys don’t want to be here and don’t stay in Asia.”
With retirement, some of us eventually return to the country known as the Big PX with an empty space in our hearts and a longing in our guts for San Miguel or Kirin Beer, Monkey Meat or Fried Rice, and the warmth of a laughing pretty Asian girl who would by her own admission, “Love you long time.”
Even those “clean-cut” boys who spent only a single tour or cruise out there often, right before sleep will feel the pull of the Far East and think that perhaps their life missed something.
Some of us stay out there on the far Pacific Rim. Others of us marry the Asian girl and bring her back with us. They say we went Asiatic out there and the longer we were there the deeper the infection.
But I like the term “Yellow Fever.”