Helpful Hints


DA PAM 608-16

Helpful Hints
for Personnel Ordered to VIETNAM
MARCH 1968

    1. Introduction

The Republic of Vietnam (RVN) is located in the eastern and southern part of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia with its eastern coast line bordering the South China Sea and the southwest coastal area overlooking the Gulf of Siam. Although South Vietnam is an agricultural country where most of the people are farmers and rice the principal product, through the assistance of the United States and other free-world nations, progress is being made in the development of industrial enterprises. Saigon, the capital city, is the largest populated area in RVN. In addition to native Vietnamese, the population of the country includes, in varying proportions, Chinese, Cambodians, Indians, Pakistanis, and French.

  • Arrival in Vietnam

Army personnel assigned to Vietnam arrived at one of the following ports of entry:

a. Bien Hoa Air Base— approximately 15 miles northeast of Saigon. This base is the normal entry for personnel assigned to III or IV Corps Tactical Zone.
b. Cam Ranh Bay— approximately 190 miles northeast of Saigon on the South China Sea coast. This port is the normal entry point for personnel assigned in the II Corps Tactical Zone except as listed below.
c. Personnel moving as units generally arrive aboard troop transport vessels and enter RVN at the deep waters port nearest final destination.
  • Baggage

a. The shipment of unaccompanied baggage to Vietnam is presently authorized but is discouraged. Most facilities, whether tents, cantonment areas, or permanent buildings, have very limited storage areas. Personnel are urged to bring a minimum of essential baggage. This should accompany the traveler. The present allowance of 66 pounds plus 134 pounds of excess baggage authorized for both enlisted and officer personnel is considered sufficient to bring all required uniforms, summer weight civilian clothing, and comfort items.
b. Personnel traveling by aircraft will probably be airborne in excess of 20 hours and should pack a small handbag, which will fit under an aircraft seat, with necessary toilet articles, writing paper, and other items which will make their flight more enjoyable. Remember, the only baggage available to you from your check-in time at the air terminal until your arrival in RVN will be what you carry on as hand baggage.

c. Army regulations require that a copy of your orders be included in each piece of your luggage as, unfortunately, there are many opportunities for hold baggage, and even accompanied baggage, to be lost or misrouted on shipments to Vietnam. If this should happen, the service member may file a claim for his loss. To prepare for this contingency, the member should prepare an inventory of his hold baggage at the time of packing, have the packing and inventory witnessed by a disinterested individual, and carry the inventory with him. The inventory should show the date of purchase of each item and the cost. If it is subsquently necessary to file a claim, a ready record substantiating the extent of loss will then be available. Personnel should also carry all records pertaining to shipment of hold baggage, such as receipts for turn-in, with them. In selecting personal property for shipment as hold baggage, small items of substantial value ($25.00 or more) should be omitted since claims regulations do not permit reimbursement for such property when shipped as hold baggage.

  • Climate

a. The climate of South Vietnam is tropical. Temperature and humidity are high throughout the year and are similar to the hot, muggy summer weather experienced in the deep southern states of the United States. The temperature is in the 80’s and 90’s throughout the year and humidity ranges between 70 and 90 percent.
b. The climate throughtout the country is influenced by the monsoons— the word “monsoon” means “wind flow.” The monsoon seasons cause climatic conditions in various parts of the country and are characterized by heavy rainfall. These areas of South Vietnam can be roughly segregated into three regions: the northeast coastlands, from Nha Trang northward, have their rainy season from September through December; the lowland and delta regions, which include all areas from the general of Saigon southward, have their rainy season from mid-May through mid-October; and the interior highland regions, which include all portions of the Annam Mountain Range beginning approximately 80 miles northeast of Saigon and extending northward all the way into North Vietnam, also have their rainy season during May through October.

Detailed information concerning the climate and geography of Vietnam may found in DA pamphlet 360-411, A Pocket Guide to Vietnam.

  • Clothing

a. The uniform aboard ship is prescribed by the transport commander. In general, male troops will wear the uniform prescribed by the unit commander while aboard ship and will debark in the combat uniform, which includes weapon, helmet, webbing, canteen, and first aid kit. Women will debark in the green cord uniform.
b. Male personnel traveling by Military Airlift Command or commercial aircraft should report to their designated point debarkation prepared to travel in a khaki uniform, long trousers, short sleeved shirt, and low quarter shoes. Women should be prepared to travel in the green cord uniform.
c. There is no seasonal uniform change within the command and the prescribed uniform will be worn throughout the year. The normal field uniform, OG 107, or the tropical combat uniform, is the duty uniform for all male personnel assigned to Headquarters, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, who are authorized to wear the Army Khaki or Army tan uniform. The Army Khaki or Army tan uniform is authorized for off-duty wear by all male personnel. The green cord uniform, the white hospital uniform, or the women’s cotton poplin OG 107 lightweight clothing will be worn throughout the year by female military personnel as prescribed by the appropriate commander. Off-duty attire for women also will be as prescribed by the local commander and may be the Army beige or lightweight green uniform.
d. Civilian clothing is authorized for off-duty wear. The off-duty attire for personnel assigned outside the Saigon/Cholon/Tan Son Nhut area is prescribed by the local commander. Male personnel visiting the Saigon/Cholon/Tan Son Nhut area after duty hours must wear either the khaki uniform or appropriate civilian clothing if outside a military facility. Blue jeans, levis, tennis shoes, athletic type shorts, and T-shirts are not considered appropriate attire. Sports shirts and slacks are considered appropriate off-duty attire for male personnel in the majority of restaurants, clubs, and similar establishments. Mixture of uniform and civilian clothes is prohibited. Cotton and other washable fabric dresses or suits are appropriate for women. Pumps or sandals are appropriate on most occasions. A bathing suit and cap may be useful. Clothing that requires dry cleaning is not advisable because the of the climate and the very limited and inadequate cleaning facilities.
e. The Army and Air Force Exchange System maintains stocks of summer weight civilian clothing to meet the needs of male personnel; however, female clothing is at a premium. Tailors and seamstressses are available in nearly all areas. They are usually good and can duplicate most any style when provided a picture of what is desired. The exchange system also offers custom tailoring service for both men’s and women’s clothing. Because of limited laundering facilities, it is suggested that male personnel included with their baggage inexpensive wash and wear slacks, drip dry shirts, and Bermuda shorts, preferably the permanent-press type. Women are advised to have an ample supply of lingerie (cotton recommended), stockings, cosmetics, and toilet articles.
f. A clothing sales store is located in Cholon. For those personnel not assigned to the Saigon area. a mail order service has been established. Items not available to an individual authorized to purchase in the sales store can be ordered by mail and the postage will be paid by the U.S. Government.
g. Woolens should not be brought to Vietnam because of the high temperature and humidity.
h. Women should consider establishing and maintaining a charge account at a department store in CONUS in order to assure a source of supply for shoes, clothing, and other items of personal preference.

  • Educational Services

a. An austere education program is conducted in the command. Available to all personnel are correspondence courses through the United States Armed Forces Institute and nearly 50 State colleges and universites. Also available are end-of-course examinations, high school and first year college equivalency tests, and Educational Testing Services tests, such as the College Board, Graduate Record Examination, Law School Admission Test, and the Admission Test for Graduate Study in Business.
b. Army education centers at An Khe, Qui Nhon, Cam Ranh By, Saigon, Vuny Tau, Long Binh, and Cu Chi have limited facilities in which to conduct counseling and the above services. Predicated on operational requirements and space availability, classes, which may include tuition assisted college coursed through the University of Maryland, sometimes are conducted in areas of large troop concentration.

  • Financial Facilities and Currency

a. Currency. Military payment certificate (MPC) are used for all payments to military personnel. MPC are the official medium of exchange for all cash transactions within establishments of the U.S. Government in RVN. U.S. dollars are not authorized in RVN and must be exchanged for MPC immediately upon arrival of the member. The military payment certificate series in use in the Republic of Vietnam is not authorized for use anywhere else. Therefore, MPC must be exchanged for U.S. dollars immediately prior to departure from this country. Tranactions on the local economy are conducted in piasters, the official currency of Vietnam. A special currency fund rate for sale of piasters to authorized U.S. personnel for personal use has been established. Piaster conversion at the special currency fund rate (118$VN to $1.00 US) are made at all finance offices, at military banking facilities, and at many clubs and associations.
b. Banking Services. The Bank of America and the Chase Manhattan Bank are currently operating military banking facilities in RVN for the use of U.S. military personnel. The banks offer personal checking accounts with no service charge. In addition, all other normal banking services are provided with exception of personal loans. Check drawn against accounts with these banks are negotiable only in MPC within the Republic of Vietnam but are negotiable in U.S. dollars when mailed out of country. The banks pay interest on checking accounts at the rate of 5 percent per annum, computed quarterly on the minimum balance in the account if the balance did not drop below $100 during the quarter. Many personnel find it highly desirable to utilize these facilities rather than a bank in CONUS. A “Bank by Mail” plan has been established whereby accounts can be opened by mail, with the member’s monthly pay mailed to the bank by the paying finance office.

  • Firearms and Weapons

The possession of privately owned firearms or other dangerous weapons in Vietnam by U.S. Armed Forces personnel is prohibited. Also prohibited are the importing, mailing, carrying, or otherwise introducing into the Republic of Vietnam, or from purchasing within RVN, any firearm or dangerous weapon. Dangerous weapons include but are not limited to the following:
a. Knives with folding blades longer than three inches, swords, stilettoes, sabers, straight razors, spring-release (switchblade) knives, trench knives, and bayonets, other than those issued and being used in the performance of official duties.
b. Metal knuckles, blackjacks, saps, clubs, and similar items.
c. Instruments in which compressed air or a chemical propllant is used to fire a projectile.

  • Food

a. The majority of military personnel are subsisted in field ration messes while others use nonappropriated fund messes. In cases where field ration messes are not available, enlisted personnel will receive a “rations not available” allowance. Officer personnel will receive their normal subsistence allowance whether they eat in a field ration mess or nonappropriated mess.
b. The one U.S. Army Commissary Resale Store in the Republic of Vietnam is located in the Cholon area of Saigon in the shopping center compound. This Shopping area includes an Army and Air Force Post Exchange. The commissary and post exchanges carry adequate food stocks to meet basic needs. The commissary stocks a limited line of meats, canned goods, dairy products, staples, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, ice cream, and bread products. The post exchanges are limited to nonperishable products, crackers, and cookies.
c. The Vietnam Regional Exchange operates a number of snack bars which support the heaviest troop concentrations. For the soldier in isolated areas, there are snack mobiles. Where inadequate facilities exit to house a snack bar, there are snack stands. These snack bars serve hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, ham and cheese, fried egg, and other popular sandwiches. In addition to soft drinks, coffee and tea, ice cream, sundaes, and milkshakes are available.
d. Purchase of meat, meat products, milk and other dairy products on the local economy is hazardous because of the relatively high incidence of disease. These products should be purchased from the commissary, post exchanges, or other approved sources. All raw fresh fruits and vegetables must be thoroughly cleaned and peeled before eating.
e. Most Vietnamese eating establishments are not off limits to U.S. personnel. This does not imply, however, that the U.S. Army considers these establishments safe in regard to sanition. To reduce the element of risk, use discretion in selection a place to eat. Larger, well established places are usually best. Hot, well- cooked foods are the safest. Raw fish or meat, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and dairy products should not be consumed. Water or ice from civilian sources be avoided. Some bottled beverages produced in Vietnam are considered safe. However, some liquor products, including U.S. brands, sold on the local economy have been adulterated with wood alcohol which causes blindess or death.
f. In the final analysis, the safest course of action is to eat only in U.S. messed and consume only products acquired at U.S. facilities.

  • Health Hazards

Americans in Vietnam experience a wide variety of afflictions which occur with about the same frequency as in the United States. In addition, there are a number of illnesses, mostly infectious diseased, which either do not occur in the United States or are many time more prevalent in Vietnam. Soldiers must actively seek to avoid these extra hazards. Some of the potential sources of sickness and related precautions are given in the following paragraphs.
a. Insects. Several insect-transmitted infections occur in Vietnam. The most common are those carried by mosquitoes… malaria, dengue fever, and infectious encephalitis. The way to prevent these problems is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Limiting exposed skin surface by rolling down sleeves and buttoning collars is one anti-mosquito measure, and is particularly applicable during the evening when mosquitoes are most active. Insect repellent is effective and should be used. Bed nets will keep the sleeping person from being bitten. The chloroquine-primaquine tablet taken weekly by all personnel constitutes a second line of defense. In some areas an additional drug, Dapsone, taken daily, is prescribed. These medications are important, but they do not protect against mosquito-borne diseases other than malaria nor will they offer complete protection against malaria. The best defense action to take is to use all available measures to avoid mosquito bites and to tak the suppressive drugs without fail. Other infectious diseases transmitted by insects in Vietnam include plague, transmitted by fleas, and scrub typhus, transmitted by mites. Flies may also contaminate food with germs causing a variety of infections, some quite serious.
b. Food and Water. Illnesses transmitted by food and water are also common in Vietnam. These diseases start in the intestinal tract and include typhoid fever, cholera, ameobic dysentery, shigellosis, infectious hepatitus, and various worm infestations. Diseased of this type are not common in the U.S. where they have been controlled by sanitation. Vietnamese people develop a degree of immunity to some of these infections although they do have a high disease and death rate during childhood. This means that adult Vietnamese may be able to drink marginally treated water and eat the native foods of Vietnam without illness, while Americans partaking of the same will become sick. U.S. Army personnel receive immunizations against typhoid and cholera which offer some protection. However, the soldier’s best defense against these and other intestinal infections is to avoid food and water from other than U.S. controlled sources.
c. Respiratory Diseases. the most prominent respiratory disease in Vietnam is tuberculosis. Tuberculosis infection and disease is many times more common than in the U.S. and is most likely to be transmitted by close contact with an infected person. Discretion in close personal contacts is advisable.
d.Diseases of the Skin. With the high humidity and temperature, it is common for a rash to appear in the groin area. This may avoided by careful attention to cleaning and by the applications of talcum powder or cornstarch to this area daily. It is recommended that foot powder be used daily. Any scratch or cut of the skin should be promptly treated to reduce the chance of infection.

  • Language

a. Vietnamese is a tonal language that bears similarities to Cambodian, Thai, and Chinese. At least one-third of its vocabulary is derived from the latter. Chinese ideographs were used almost exclusively for the written language until the early years of this century at which time the Roman alphabet came into official use. French remains useful as a second language although English is spoken by an increasing number of people.
b. Helpful information pertaining to the Vietnamese language and word and phrase usage is contained in DA Pamphlet 360-411, A Pocket Guide to Vietnam.

  • Laundry and Drycleaning Services

Military and civilian laundry facilities in Vietnam are limited. A majority of uniforms and civilian clothing are laundered through contract service or by individual hire of maids or local nationals. The capacity of military equipment is used primarily in support of tactical forces. Commercial or domestic washers or dryers are not available normally. Laundry and ironing on an individual hire basis are accomplished by hand and with antiquated irons. Dry cleaning establishments are very limited in RVN. Personnel should not bring wearing apparel which requires drycleaning.

  • Legal Matters

Legal assistance is available to all military personnel. However, it does take time to process legal documents needed by family members at home. For this reason, it is suggested that each serviceman who owns an automobile consider giving a responsible member of his family a special power of attorney to register it. This can be done before leaving CONUS. A married service member should also consider giving his wife a special power of attorney to move, store, or transfer the family’s household goods. this will permit her to make necessary arrangement in advance of the member’s return home for reassignment. General powers of attorneys are to be avoided. In most cases they prove unneccessary. Effective revocation of general powers of attorney is very difficult to accomplish. If a service member must give a family member a general power of attorney, it should be limited in time. One copy of the power of attorney should be brought to Vietnam by the service member.

  • Medical Services

Military medical facilities in Vietnam are adequate and include provisions for a wide variety of specialized care. Because work schedules for all individuals in Vietnam are heavy and travel is difficult, it is desirable that personnel accomplish any needed routine dental and medical treatment before coming to Vietnam.

  • Pay and Allowances

a. Military personnel serving in Vietnam may qualify for the three additional items of pay entitlements listed below. In addition to these extra entitlements, they receive an increased net pay because of the Federal Income Tax exclusion for personnel serving in a combat zone. Warrant officers and enlisted personnel receive their pay tax-free and commissioned officers have to $500 per month of their pay excluded from taxation. Dislocation allowances are also excluded from taxable income if the dependents of the member either commence or complete their move during a month in which the member is entitled to a combat zone exclusion. The following are the additional items of pay entitlement which may accrue to members serving in RVN:

  1. Special Pay for Duty Subject to Hostile Fire ($65 per month for both officers and enlisted personnel) as prescribed in the Department of Defense Pay and Allowances Entitlements Manual (DODPM).
  2. Family Separation Allowances (FSA) as authorized in the DODPM. Members who are not furnished Government quarters in RVN and who are entitled to BAQ as members with dependents are authorized FSA-I in the amount equal to BAQ for a single member of the same grade. In addition, FSA-II in the amount of $30 per month is payable to those members in the pay grade E-4 (over 4 years service) and above, who have dependents and meet the criteria outlined in DODPM.
  3. Foreign Duty Pay (FDP) for enlisted personnel as prescribed in the DODPM. FDP ranges from $8.00 per month fo an E-1 to $22.50 per month for an E-9.

b. Individuals may receive their pay in RVN by one of the following options:

  1. Receive their net pay in cash (MPC) each month.
  2. Receive their net pay by U.S. Treasury check payable to a dependent, a bank in CONUS, or one of the military banking facilities (MBF) in Vietnam.
  3. Receive a portion of their pay in cash (MPC) and have the balance forwarded by U.S. Treasury check to a dependent, a bank in CONUS, or one the MBF in he Republic of Vietnam.
  4. Receive a portion of their net pay in cash (MPC) and have the balance carried forward on their military pay voucher.

c. All personnel on orders for Vietnam are encouraged to consider their additional pay entitlements in relation to the savings programs available in Vietnam and plan their financial affairs accordingly. See paragraph 23. Any allotments of pay should be completed prior to departured from the old duty station.

  • Personal Conduct

Conduct befitting a representative of our Nation should be most important to all of us. A common sense guide is to behave in Vietnam as you would in your own town or city. Additionally, you should remember that you are a personal representative of your country at all times and should:
a. Understand and respect local customs.
b. Use good judgment in spending your money.
c. Refrain from overindulging in alcoholic beverages.
d. Refrain from critizing the Vietnamese Government.
e. Maintain a respectable personal appearance.
f. Show respect for other people, both Americans and Vietnamese, at all times.

  • Police, the Law, and You

While in Vietnam you will be subject to both the laws of the country and to the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Vietnamese civilian police authorities excercise authority over U.S. military personnel outside military installations similar to that of your State or local police in the U.S. They work in close and friendly association with your military police. Policing in major cities in Vietnam is often conducted by joint police patrols, composed of the National Police (Canh Sat), the U.S. Military Police, and the Vietnamese Military Police (Quan Canh). U.S. Military Police are always available to give information, advice, and assistance within their capabilities to all U.S. military personnel in Vietnam. They are also authorized to apprehend and temporarily detain U.S. military personnel when necessary for the protection of human life or U.S. property or when the individual’s public conduct reflects unfavorably on the prestige of the United States. Police reports prepared by the U.S. Military Police are prepared in accordance with prescribed directives, and forwarded to the commanders of the personnel concerned. Generally, the U.S. Military Police are responsible for the prevention of crime and traffic accidents and criminal investigations when an accident or crime involves members of the U.S. military forces. During your stay in Vietnam you should report accidents and incidents promptly to the Military Police or, in their absence, to the Vietnamese civilian police.

  • Postal Matters

a. If you are coming to Vietnam for duty with U.S. Army in Vietnam or U.S. Army Strategic Communications Command-Vietnam (USASTRATCOM-V), your orders have assigned you to an oversea replacement station for further assignment to the USARV Transient Detachment, for either assignment. If you are in the first category (for further assignment to a specific unit) have your mail addressed to that unit. However, if your orders read “for further assignment” have your mail addressed as follows:
PFC John A Smith, RA 11111112
Personal Mail Section
APO San Francisco 96381
a. If you are assigned to the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) and not to a specific organization of MACV, have your mail addressed as follows:
PFC John A Smith, RA 11111112
Casual Mail Section
Headquarters, MACV     APO San Francisco 96222
c. You can help the personnel of the Military Postal Service assure prompt delivery of your mail by observing the following instructions:

  1. Keep using the appropriate address prescribed above until you arrive at a permanent unit. Replacement Battalions and the USARV Transient Detachment should not be used as a mailing address.
  2. Contact your unit mail clerk when you are permanently assigned. He is your postmaster. You can obtain your correct mailing address and the latest mailing information from him.
  3. When you arrive at your permanent unit, notify your correspondents, publishers, Area Postal Directory APO 96381, former unit in the United States, and the Postal Officer of your new APO. Use change-of-address cards to accomplish this. They are free and are available at all APOs and unit mail rooms.
  • Post Exchange Facilities

The Vietnam Regional Exchange operates an extensive chain of retail outlets where a wide choice of merchandise is available. In addition, the exchange operates snack bars and a variety of personal services facilities.
a. Post Exchange. There are more than 200 outlets in the Republic of Vietnam. the large Branch Outlets are located where troop concentrations are greatest. The annexes and sites are medium size outlets and the Imprest Funds are small outlets which concentrate on convenience goods. Therefore, the American solier in Vietnam can buy tobacco and cigarettes, candy, toilet articles, stationary, and many other convenience items anywhere he is stationed in RVN. Among other items of merchandise carried by the exchange are watches and jewelry, notions and sundries, men’s clothing (civilian and military), gift items, photographic supplies, radios, tape recorders and phonograph records, beer and carbonated beverages, appliances, military insignia, and other merchandise. Cosmetics, toilet articles, and other items for women are stocked in the exchange system but a particular brand or type desired may not be available. Women should consider taking a supply of favorite items or arranging for shipment from the United States.
b. Personal Services Facilities. Concessionaires, licensed by the exchange, operate throughout the Republic of Vietnam. Even in the most remote regions there are barber concessions. Some of the other services are:

  1. American automobiles sales representatives.
  2. Diamond and jewelry concessions.
  3. Film processing and photo developing facilities.
  4. Watch, radio, and TV repair facilitites.
  5. Laundry and very limited drycleaning facilities.
  6. Tailor concessions.
  7. Flowers-By-Mail concessions.
  8. Gift concessions.
  • Radio and Television Services

a. Radio. American Forces Vietnam Network Radio (AM) operates 24 hours a day, presenting a variety of programs from sports events through all types of music to news from around the world. At present, Saigon and Da Nang operate authorized stations and the programs are retransmitted through several sites located throughout Vietnam. In the near future, additional stations will become operational at locations around the country. The Saigon AM station is received on 540 kilocycles. the Da Nang station is received at 850 kilocycles on AM only. The FM station, located in Saigon, is heard at 99.9 megacycles 1300-2400 hours daily.
b.Television. American Forces Vietnam Network Television broadcasts daily through channel 11. Popular stateside programs are shown, in addition to sports, news broadcasts, and feature movies. Television stations are located in Saigon, Pleiku, Nha Trang, Qui Nhon, Da Nang, Hue, and Tuy Hoa.

  • Recreational Facilities and Welfare Services

Special Services facilities and programs in Vietnam include libraries, service clubs, craft shops, various types of sports facilities, motion picture theaters, the Rest and Recuperation (R&R) Program, and an entertainment program.
a. Libraries. An expanding library program is operating in Vietnam to provide all types of reading material. A number of regular full service libraries with hardbound book collections ranging from 4,000 to 9,000 volumes are currently in existence. These hardbound books are supplemented by magazines and paperbound books. In addition to reading materials, all regular libraries provide tape listening facilities with collections of prerecorded music tapes. Those areas not receiving full library service are served through field collections (quality paperbound and some hardbound books in balanced collections), bookmobiles, and branches of nearby regular libraries. Each month current magazines and recently published paperbound books are mailed direct to company size units.
b. Service Clubs. The service club program in Vietnam is rapidly expanding. Many clubs are opening in base camp area as facilities are constructed. Service clubs are staffed with professionally trained civilian hostesses and offer all features of stateside clubs, well known to the Army soldier (recreational facilities, entertainment, reading and writing rooms, parties, games, music, etc.).
c. Craft Shops. Craft facilities are becoming readily available throughout RVN. They will normally include dark rooms for photo work, and the necessary area and equipment for woodworking, model building, leather working, and fine arts activities.
d. Sports. The USARV Sports Program is geared to low level intrmural competition, but also includes major command championships and international competition as well. Equipment and technical assistance are available to support virtually all sports. Many permanent type facilities are available including swimming pools and beaches.
e. Motion Pictures. Free 16mm movies are shown almost everywhere in Vietnam. In some of the more built-up areas 35mm theaters are available.
f. Out-of-Country R&R. During your tour in Vietnam you will be entitled to one out-of-country R&R. You are guaranteed five nights at the site of your choice; Bangkok, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Manila or Australia. Guamanians are also authorized to visit Guam. The cost of travel to and from the R&R site is paid by the Government but all other expenses must be paid by the individual. You must have completed at least 3 months of your tour before you can apply for R&R, and priority in filling R&R space allocations is given to those with most time on their tours in Vietnam. Later, if you extend your Vietnam tour by 6 months or more, you will be authorized an additional out-of-country R&R.
g. In-Country R&R. There are two in-country R&R centers at the South China Sea resort of Vuny Tau, one for enlisted men and one for company grade officers. Because of the limited capacity of each center, your stay is limited to 3 days. Furthermore, the quota of USARV units is normally allocated with priority given to those personnel living under hardship or austere conditions. The atmosphere of the R&R Center is much like that of a resort hotel with free billeting, spacious rooms, free movies, pool tables, sun decks, and water sports, to include swimming, fishing, boating, and water skiing.
h. Ordinary Leave. During your 1 year tour in Vietnam you are authorized not more than one ordinary leave of up to 7 days duration. You cannot take leave in conjunction with R&R but you are authorized to take leave to any of the R&R locations (Japan, Taipei, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Phillippines, Guam, Hawaii). In addition, ordinary leave may be taken within Vietnam and to Okinawa. Ordinary leave is not authorized to CONUS. Although it is sometimes possible to travel on leave using space available aircraft, in most cases you must be able to pay for your transportation in the absence of space available seating.
i. Special Leave. A special leave is authorized for anyone who extends his Vietnam tour by at least 6 months. It is also authorized those enlisted personnel who reenlist and have at least 6 months left t serve on their normal Vietnam tour at the time of reenlistment. For those without 6 months of their tour remaining at the time or reenlistment, a tour extension is required which will provide 6 months remaining following return from special leave. This special leave is not chargeable as ordinary leave and, furthermore, it provided the individual free transportation to the leave area of his choice anywhere in the world (except Iron Curtain countries), including CONUS, and guarantees a leave of 30 days exclusive of travel time.
j. Entertainment Program. USO sponsored professional entertainment groups tour Vietnam each month, providing free entertainment at even the most isolated locations. In addition to these professional shows, soldiers shows composed of U.S. military personnel stationed in Vietnam also tour the country. Still more entertainment is provided through Officer and NCO/EM clubs and open messes. The various clubs and messes book their own commercial shows which originate from the Unites States as well as many other countries.
k. United Service Organizations. The USO in Vietnam serves the Armed Forces through the establishment of off-post clubs (unusual circumstances provide for some on-post clubs), recreation facilities, and professional entertainment. There are several USO facilitite with more either under construction or planned for the future. In addition to snack bars which provide food at reasonable cost, these clubs also offer such recreational facilities and services as pool, ping-pong, oversea telephone service, tape recording facilities, and reading and writing room. The directors of these clubs are professionally qualified personnel recruited and paid by the USO.
l. Newspapers. There are three military newspapers which receive Army-wide free distribution in Vietnam:
Pacific Stars and Stripes, The Observer, and The Army Reporter. Pacific Stars and Stripes is distributed daily and contains news from around the world. The Observer, published by USMACV, and The Army Reporter, published by USARV, are weekly papers that tell the story of eventsl in Vietnam. In addition, Army divisions and brigades publich their own smaller newspapers. There are also two daily commercial English language newspapers published in Saigon that may be purchased from newsstands.
m. Magazines. the availability of the more popular United States magazines for sale at newsstands is spotty at best. It is not uncommon to see these magazines, when they are on sale, as much as 4 to 6 weeks behind the publishing date. If you want to insure prompt receipt of such magazines, it is recommended that you initiate air mail subscriptions to all desired publications before your departure from the United States. A few magazinea that have Pacific editions (Time and Newsweek, for example) are generally available on a timely basis.
n. American Red Cross. The American Red Cross has been serving in Vietnam ever since the United States Army advisors first came to Vietnam. The mission of the Red Cross personnel is to serve as liaison between American Servicemen and home, to provide a bit of America in Vietnam, and to assist servicemen in solving personal and emergency problems. Basically, there are three categories of services offered: the traditional military welfare services involving communications, emergency leaves, and financial assistance; hospital services, including recreation and crafts; and the center/clubmobile program. The center/clubmobile service augments the recreational facilities and activities of the Special Services and the USO in Vietnam. In this program, recreation centers are operated where free coffee and cool beverages are offered along with games, music, and recreation programs. The centers are located on-post and usually are open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. When they are not on duty at the centers, Red Cross personnel travel with their activities to the servicemen in the field.

  • Religious Activities

Religious services are available wherever U.S. military personnel are on duty throughout Vietnam. Chaplains are assigned to combat, combat support, and combat service support units. Facilities for religous services and programs very from austere field type to well-appointed base camp chapels. Even in a combat situation, mulitple opportunities are offered with special services being provided for High Holy Day and Holy Days of Obligation.

  • Savings and Spending Programs

a. Savings. Since military personnel will be receiving a substantial increase in net pay while serving in Vietnam, they are incouraged to invest all or part of this additional net pay in one of the many savings plans available. The Uniformed Services Savings Deposit Program provided one of the highest interest yield that can be found anywhere. All servicemen stationed outside the United States or its possessions are eligible to participate in this program which pays 10 percent interest per annum, compounded quarterly. Deposits made by the 10th of each month earn interest for the entire month. Allotments for savings deposits may be initiated prior to departure for Vietnam, with the allotment becoming effective the first full pay period after arrival at the oversea station. U.S. Savings Bonds also provide an excellent means of establishing a systematic savings program. U.S Savings Bonds should be purchased by allotment prior to departing your old duty station. In addition to U.S. Savings Bonds and the Savings Deposit Program, the 5 percent interest paid by the military banking facilities in RVN provides another excellent return on investments.
b. Spending.

  1. American troops come to Vietnam with more buying power than they ever had in the United States because of the lower standard of living in this country. Thus, what seems like a fair price to many servicemen is overpayment on the local economy. Many Vietnamese dealing with our servicemen are quick to take advantage of this, and American generosity being what it is, they raise their prices on goods desired by servicemen. The more the troops show they are willing to pay, the more they are going to be charged. Items purchased by American, such as souvenirs and other nonessentials, fall in the inflation bracket. By paying high prices for these items, the American soldier not only does not get full value for his money, he also hurts the Vietnamese economy by flooding the market with extra piasters. This in turn results in higher prices for such essentials as food, and the man with a fixed income suffers most as he receives less for his money. And we should all remember that each time we purchase Vietnamese good and services which are required by people, whether it is a bowl of rice or a ride in a taxi, we are reducing the supply of that item. Each time the supply of an item is reduced, the competition for what is left over becomes more intense and leads fo price increases.
  2. If spiraling prices are not checked and brought down to a level that the average Vietnamese can afford, the people may become discontent and lose faith in their government. For this reaon, the state of the economy of the Republic of Vietnam of of continuing concern to the United States. A strong and healty economy, free of inflation and its accompanying ills, is directly related and vital to the successful conclusion of the current conflict. The efforts of the Government of Vietnam to fight inflation and to maintain the economy on an even keel can and must be supported whenever possible.
  3. In order to lessen the inflationary impact of U.S. Forces’ spending upon the Vietnamese economy, a Piaster Expenditure Reduction Program is in effect in RVN. This program consists of a number of measures designed to limit both official and personal expenditures of piasters by the Department of Defense and its personnel. Your contribution to this effort should be to voluntarily keep your piaster spending down to the absolute minimum, purchase our necessities from the post exchanges, adhere to pricing guides when furnished to yo, and avoid being over-generous with your tipping. To insure the success of this program, COMUSMACV has established a piaster expenditure goal of 1180$VN ($10) per month for each individual. All personnel are requested to aim for this goal.
  • Telephone and Message Facilities

a. Commercial telephone call to CONUS may be “booked” at the USO Club of Saigon. The calls are routed via Vietnamese commercial facilities at a cost of $12.00 for 3 minutes.
b. The USARV Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) network consists of 30 stations located at strategic locations throughout Vietnam. In addition, the Air Force and Navy operate stations at various in-country locations. Phone patching and message service are provided on a first-come, first-served basis for all military personnel.
c. MARSGRAMS may be sent free of charge to families and friend of service personnel. Charges for a phone patch are calculated from the radio point of contact in CONUS, Alaska, or Hawaii to the called location. All phone patch calls are made collect (paid by the called party).

  • Assistance to Dependents

While you are in Vietnam you can be sure that your family’s welfare will not be neglected. Major military installations in the United States, as well as Europ and the Far East, have an Army Community Service (ACS) center. Army Community Service centers will provide information, assistance, and guidance to your dependents in solving personal and family problems. It normally will provide information on such matters as availibility of housing; problems such as care of handicapped children, indebtedness, juvenile delinquency, and other complex personal matters; travel; and shipment of household goods. It is important that your dependents know that these services are available, and you are encouraged to tell them. All they must do to receive advice or assistance concerning a personal or family problem is to visit the nearest Army installation and ask for the Army Community Service Officer.

  • Distribution

Applicable commanders will insure that a copy of this pamphlet is furnished each individual under the conditions specified below:
a. At Home Station.
To each officer, warrant officer, and enlisted person upon alert for oversea assignment to a U.S. Army element in Vietnam.
b. At U.S. Army Oversea Replacement Station.
To each individual not previously issued a copy as indicated above.
c. At Transportation Area.
To each individual not previously issued a copy as indicated above.

  • Conclusion

This publication has been assembled in an effort to assist military personnel in making personal plans for travel to, and assignment in Vietnam. It is composed largely of answers to questions most frequently asked in the past as well as information believed to be of most interest to you and, hopefully, will assist in easing the transition of the new arrival to Vietnam. Your assignment to this embattled nation of Southeast Asia can be interesting and rewarding. We confront an enemy whose vicious attacks are aimed at soldiers and civilians alike as he seeks to dominate South Vietnam. It is our job, and that of our allies, to roll back the Viet Cong and assist in guaranteeing the sovereignty of this nation. Best wishes for a most successful tour.By Order of the Secretary of the Army:

                  General, United States Army,
                     Chief of Staff.
   Major General, United States Army,
      The Adjutant General,

     To be distributed in accordance with DA Form 12-9
       requirements for Military Personnel, General:
     Active Army: A.  NG: D.  USAR: D.



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