wFrom:  Frank Rogers

wtSent:  July 12, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Yes... Jan  should be Japan. The most difficult MPC conversion occurred when I was on leave in the Philippines.  It was the devil to change at Subic, complicated by the fact I was not assigned in country.  Don't remember the year.

FR

wFrom:  Jim White

wtSent:  July 12, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Hello again, During the discussions about getting paid in Vietnam, several references were made to a deposit plan that paid 10% interest. I started using the Soldiers' Savings Deposit system when I got back to Japan in April 1967.  [At that time, all you had to be to qualify for the program was to "be overseas."]  It was a very good deal that paid 10% interest on a maximum of $10,000 on deposit.  Under $10,000 the interest was  deposited back into the main fund.  When it got to that limit, one could collect the interest every quarter.  The 10% interest was about twice of what one could get anywhere else.

Ken Kalish mentioned he had a 10% interest account with Chase but I don't recall that the Soldiers' Savings Deposit system was with any specific bank nor do I recall Chase ever paying that high a rate of interest on any of my accounts with them over the years.  Payments were made via a Class E allotment taken directly from your pay, and, I think, deposited directly with the US Treasury.  Either way, it was a really good deal and I took full advantage of it.  Also, one was able to keep the money on deposit as long as one was overseas.  Again, I was lucky, because I had consecutive tours in Japan, to Saigon and then to Taiwan so I didn't have to withdraw the principal until December 1973.

I just looked on the Web.  The system still exists, but is limited to those in combat zones, etc, and just being overseas doesn't count.  It still pays 10% interest which is fabulous in the day and age of "you're lucky (and only after you kiss your banker's boots) if you get 1%." There is a similar system for all military personnel regardless of where they are stationed but is based on a "matching funds" system as well as involves "tax deferrals" on the money deposited, etc. If interested in more information, I go to--

http://www.army.mil/article/7514/ for information on the plan that is available regardless of where one is stationed, or to http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/moneymatters/a/savings.htm for information on the 10% plan for those deployed in certain areas.

Jim

PS:  You are all going to hate me for saying this, but I don't "spin records," I "keep records."


wFrom:  Ken Kalish

wtSent:  July 12, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Like I said, Jim, that was in ’67 and ’68.  Our area wasn’t the kind of place where Chase had an office.  You could have walked from our compound, on the far east side of town, to our base on the water that formed the west side of town in 15 minutes.  It was a bit further from the Vinh Long airfield to the canal that marked the west side of town.  That might take 25 minutes.  Of course, no Americans walked from one to the other because, well, as the 15th century maps said of unexplored oceans, “beyond this place there be monsters.”  We were restricted to two bars immediately adjacent to our piers, a tailor shop, three restaurants, and the two-block street from the piers to an old French hotel.  Our little in-house “ship’s store” sold American cigarettes at a dime a pack.  It carried mostly toiletries and some snacks, but it also sold our unit’s military insignia.  It was hard to get black Navy collar devices at the Army airfield PX -- which was the only place we could use our liquor ration cards.  We weren’t Khe Sahn, but we weren’t Cat Lo, either.  85 of us got 1,000 gallons of fresh water a week, including cooking needs.  Our “showers” were collected rainfall in the rainy months and a dip in the river the rest of the time.  Going from there to AFVN in Saigon was like moving from a refugee camp to Paris.

Ken


wFrom:  Jim White

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Ken,

Fully understood.  I never thought about that possibility in relation to how one got paid.


Frank, I know I'm not that smart at times--but please clarify "Jan."  Do you mean "Japan." I was in Japan from April 1967 to April 1970.  I have a note in my diary that on April 28th, 1969 I heard (from Frank Rogers?) on FEN that there was a change to another version of MPC .  I took ours to Fuchu Air Station and got it changed without any problem.  I still had some MPC on June 20th, 1969 and when I tried to use it at the Fuchu Commissary--no luck.  Fortunately, the PX changed $10 for me.  Then on June 21st, 1969, I took all of our remaining MPC ($235.) and was able to change $50 each at the Kanto Mura Bank, Commissary and Exchange, and the Fuchu NCO Club.  Changed the last $35.00 at the Fuchu PX.  The best thing to come out of these conversions was that I was always able to learn how much MPC my wife had squirreled away unknown to me.

So you are another guy who doesn't know how he got paid in Vietnam. Our tours overlapped so I know that I was giving you a check every month.  The money must have flowed out of your pocket so fast it didn't even leave any lint.

Jim W

wFrom:  Frank Rogers

wtSent:  July 12, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

I never heard of any US forces anywhere paying in the local currency. Jan [Japan?] stopped paying in MPC in 1967.  Without warning or notice, I got my pay in greenbacks, and was told there was a new agreement where the US could pay in MPC or $.  Never got paid in MPC after that. I, too, have no recollection of how I was paid in Vietnam, but I must have been somehow.  And my wife should have been paid, too.  Very strange.  Agent Orange effect?

FrankR

wFrom:  Steve Pennington

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

If I remember right Chase Bank had a branch at the main compound at Da Nang Airfield.  My check was deposited in the bank and I was able to write checks on my Chase account.  Worked a lot better than when I was at Phu Cat and had to wait in line to send a money order back to my wife in the States.

SLP

wFrom:  Jim White

wriwTo:  Tom Rein, Steve Pennington

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Steve,  I'm sure that all of the larger, permanent facilities in South Vietnam had a bank branch.  Some of them might have been Bank of America rather than Chase Manhattan because it seemed that over the years they tended to share the wealth/burden, depending upon your point of view.

Tom, You weren't the only one broke from the 3rd of the month.  In fact, after paying off their "until payday" loans, some were broke by the afternoon of the 1st.  In 1954, I collected about $180 a month, but thanks to the $1.00 steak dinners and 10 cent beer at the NCO Cub I was able to make my money last to "almost the end of the month."

Jim W

wFrom:  Tom Rein

wtSent:  July 10, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

When I was at Da Nang in 1968-69 most of my money went home but I got enough to spend at the airmans club for about two days, and then I was broke until the next payday.  I was an airman 2nd and got a whopping 278 bucks a month (including combat pay)...I was RICH!

Tom

wFrom:  Jim White

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Ken,

I believe you, but as far as I know neither the U.S. Forces in Korea, Japan or Taiwan were ever paid partly in Won, Yen or NT$ so it sounded very strange.  Also, only twice as much?  You were getting ripped off--at least when considering the weakness of Piaster in 1970/71 when I think it was somewhere around 4 to 1 on the "market."

Jim

wFrom:  Jim White

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Ken,

I knew what you "really meant."  However, I'm sure your pay officer didn't give you Piasters.  Someone beside him might have been there to change your MPC to Piasters if you wanted--but wasn't that it? I think that the U.S. Forces on Okinawa went to Greenbacks sometime in the early 1960's  In Japan, we started using at least the coins and not "paper nickels" at about that same time and I think that it was in 1968 or so that the U.S. Forces in Japan went to greenbacks.

Jim W

wFrom:  Ken Kalish

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Let me clarify my payment comment.  I realize it looked like I was saying that we got American cash as well as MPC and Piasters.  We were paid only in MPC and Piasters.  Being found with a U.S. $20 was a courts martial offense.

Ken

wFrom:  Jim White

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Dickie, Perhaps you loved your job so much you worked for free and never got paid at all?  Our tours don't overlap so I can't be very authoritative about your situation, but I imagine that you could take the check (1) to the bank (I think the American Express Bank was in Cholon as well as on the MACV Compound near Tan Son Nhut), or (2) at one of the clubs, I know I was able to cash American Express Bank checks at the club on the top floor of the Plaza Hotel and, if that was possible, then paychecks should have been possible also.  I have no idea what those in the detachments did to cash their checks but there must have been something available. I think that the military rather encouraged everyone to send at least some of their pay to a bank in the U.S. via the allotment system.  I know that I did.  Many others also did this and therefore, the paychecks received "in country" were usually not for that large an amount.

Am rather surprised to hear that you were getting paid in cash as late as 1967 or 1968.  Perhaps this was done as part of your basic training to make sure you knew how to salute.  However, I just noticed that Robert Vail wrote that the "cash system" was still in effect in 1978.  That is really a surprise to me.  I guess that, from as early as 1956, I was always in a situation where I could have my pay sent directly to a bank and that is what I did. Again, I hope this helps.

Jim W

wFrom:  Ken Kalish

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

In Vinh Long we got paid in cash, MPC and Piasters (1967-’68).  I sent most of my money home to a Chase account that paid 10% interest.  I got a check book from them, but never used a whole pad.  I never ran out of cash, but then, I was a pretty decent card player.

Ken

wFrom:  Robert Vail

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Dickie, we were still reporting to a pay officer as late as 1978. If you did not have direct deposit, then you had to report to a pay officer. That was finally ended when DOD mandated everyone get direct deposit, or you would receive a paper check and go stand in line at the bank. That’s why they invented “Payday Activities”.

wFrom:  Harvey Geminder

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

I remember that there was a Chase Manhattan N.A. branch right next to the Plaza hotel (or perhaps off the Plaza's lobby).  I think I signed up for direct deposit at some point but I do remember standing in line at that bank to make either deposits or withdrawals

Harvey Geminder AFVN-TV 68-69


wFrom:  Paige Sawyer

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Hey guys... Paige...(Vietnam Vet and professional Photog in SC) is putting together a little diary, scrapbook from his Vietnam days.... Anyone want to comment....do so directly to Paige or here and I will forward to him. I think it was...."The Eagle S**Ts"...I don't remember how we got paid.  I do remember I had a savings account for 10%...

Dickie

wFrom:  Jim White

wtSent:   July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you Dick,

The Army was paid on the last day of the month.  I think that the Air Force was already paying on the 15th and the last day, and the Navy was paying every two weeks.   The Marines??  They were just given their daily ration of raw meat instead.  (Sorry, I really admire the Marines and still have a few ex-Marine friends.)

For the Army, you could (1) opt (at least in Saigon) to have your entire pay sent to deposited to the American Express Bank, or (2) receive a check.  In the Admin Office, one of my jobs was to receive the checks, normally two days before the end of the month, and then try to get them to those of you in the detachments by the end of the month.  I also held those for the people in Saigon until the "official payday" because the checks were always dated the last day of the month and couldn't be cashed before then anyway. "The Eagle S**ts" goes back many, many years to the days of being paid in cash by your Company Commander.  Be sure to salute first!  This was system in my early years of service (to include being the guy with the 45 on his hip guarding the money).  It disappeared around June 1958 when the Army started paying by check.  I also remember that direct deposit to a bank was available perhaps as early as 1956.

Back to "The Eagle...."  See http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=[when%20the%20eagle%20shits] Hope that this helps,

Jim W

wFrom:  Dick Ellis

wtSent:  July 11, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Jim... We got a paycheck at the TV station in Saigon then what did we do with it?  I remember the MPC's but I don't remember going to a bank and cashing my check.  Maybe to the PX?  I can remember so many details but isn't it funny I cannot remember  getting paid.  I do remember my pay in basic and at Ft. Bragg for the 6-months I was there.  We had to salute and hold out our hands.  The guy with the 45. was there....but I swear I can't remember a single payday in Vietnam.  Wow!!! I have forwarded your answer to Paige...any others? 

Dickie

wFrom:  Paige Sawyer

witwTo:  Dick Ellis

wtSent:  July 10, 2012

Subject:  VN Question for you

Yo Dickie, Do you remember when we had payday in VN?  There was an Army saying something like "the eagle has landed" or "the eagle has flown" or something similar.  Do you remember anything like that? Thanks, Paige

Getting Paid in Vietnam

July 2012

Comments on not remembering getting paid while in Vietnam

and the 10% savings system which was available at that time.


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