Thursday, October 05, 2006


My rank while in Vietnam was Private First Class for most of the year. My base pay was about $120.00 per month plus $55.00 parachutist jump pay and $65.00 hazardous duty pay. My total monthly pay was around $240.00.

We were paid in MPC (Military Payment Certificate) instead of Federal Reserve Notes. This type of payment was intended to prevent U. S. Currency from getting into the civilian population. The paper denominations were 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents, and 1, 5 and 10 dollars. The official South Vietnam Currency was the Piastre. I converted some of my MPC to Piastre to buy things in towns, but saved most of my pay. CocaCola was available but not chilled due to the scarcity of ice and refrigeration. Coke didn't taste the same there as it did at home.

The military sometimes brought shipments of beer and sodas to us.

Soldiers were encouraged to buy U. S. Savings bonds through payroll deduction. I enrolled in the purchase program while I was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky before going to Vietnam and received a $25.00 bond every three months after $6.25 per month was withheld from my pay. During that time, bonds cost 3/4 their face-value, now they cost 1/2 face-value.

While in Vietnam, I did not receive bonds as expected. When I returned stateside, I reported to the U. S. Treasury that I never received two bonds. Much time passed as I completed my three year commitment and was discharged from the Army in 1968.

One afternoon two FBI agents showed up at my home where I returned to live with my parents. My father and I were in the backyard when agents, dressed in suits and ties, came around the corner of the house. They showed me copies of the missing bonds that had been endorsed and cashed. I convinced them that I had not signed them. They knew it was not possible for me to have signed them and told me that a postal worker at Fort Campbell had been arrested for stealing incoming mail that should have been forwarded to soldiers in Vietnam. A few months later the U. S. Treasury replaced the bonds.

I continue to buy bonds and give them as gifts at Christmas to young relatives.

Return here on Saturday, October 7 for an update.

Have a good day!



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