Vietnam Hints for Personnel in-country
DUTY IN VIETNAM/SOME HELPFUL HINTS GENERAL INFORMATION SHEET-FOR NEWCOMERS TO
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH VIETNAM
US Army Combat Troops
DUTY IN VIETNAM
This roundup contains information, in question and answer form, designed to assist Army personnel in making personal plans for travel to and assignment within the Republic of South Vietnam. This information has been assembled by Hq U.S. Army, Vietnam, and represents questions most frequently asked by newcomers to the area.
WHAT KIND AND HOW MANY UNIFORMS SHOULD I TAKE TO VIETNAM?
You are required to arrive in Vietnam wearing khaki short-sleeved shirt and trousers. Enlisted personnel will have in their possession a full issue of summer khaki clothing and fatigues, boots, and low quarter shoes. The service cap and greens are withdrawn at port of embarkation CONUS. Officers should bring at least four sets of khakis and six sets of fatigues. a light-weight green uniform is recommended for officers; however, greens can be tailored locally.
AM I PERMITTED TO TAKE CIVILIAN CLOTHES? IF SO, WHAT TYPE AND IN WHAT QUANTITY?
The wearing of civilian clothes during off-duty hours is encouraged. Light-weight civilian suits of slacks with conservative sports shirts are recommended. All clothing should be washable since laundry and dry cleaning facilities are scarce, and the quality of their work is poor.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE MY HOD BAGGAGE TO GET TO VIETNAM?
It will take 60 days or more for your hold baggage to arrive in Vietnam.
HOW MUCH U.S. CURRENCY SHOULD I HAVE IN POSSESSION WHEN I ARRIVE IN VIETNAM?
Your should arrive in Vietnam with sufficient funds to defray expenses until you receive your first pay in Vietnam. ($75 is the recommended minimum amount.)
AM I REQUIRED TO CONVERT ALL U.S. CURRENCY INTO SCRIPT AND PIASTERS? IF SO, WHERE AND WHEN DO I ACCOMPLISH THIS?
When you arrive in Vietnam you must immediately convert your U.S. currency and dollar instruments into script. You may exchange your money at the Replacement Center or at the finance office that services your unit. Finance officers, clubs and messes, the USO, and American Embassy will exchange script for piasters.
WHAT MONTHLY PAY OPTIONS WILL I HAVE?
In Vietnam, the usual pay allotments are available as they are throughout the army. Also, you have options of having all your pay sent to a CONUS bank or authorized dependent; taking part of it in script and having the balance sent to CONUS; or taking part of your pay and allotting the balance to be carried forward.
NORMALLY HOW LONG AFTER MY ARRIVAL IN VIETNAM WILL I RECEIVE MY TRAVEL PAY?
You will receive your travel pay about four or five weeks after submission of your travel voucher.
ON THE AVERAGE, HOW MUCH MONEY IS REQUIRED FOR NORMAL EXPENSES, SUCH AS MEALS, LAUNDRY, TRANSPORTATION, CLUB BILL AND FEES?
This is a difficult question to answer, as the amount you will spend depends on your assignment and location. Obviously you will find yourself spending a lot less if you are stationed out in the field than you will spend in Saigon, Nha Trang or other cities. A trooper from the 1st Brigade 101st Airborne Division reports he spends less than $30 a month. An NCO assigned to Hq USARV lists his expense as $70 a month. An average figure would be from $50 to $100 a month for basic expenses. Your personal tastes and inclinations will dictate the amount you spend for '"'extras.'"'
CAN I CASH PERSONAL CHECKS, MONEY ORDERS AND TRAVELER'S CHECKS?
You can cash traveler's checks and personal checks at clubs, messes and post exchanges. Postal money orders can be cashed at PX's. There are no facilities for cashing savings bonds at the present time.
IS PROFICIENCY PAY AWARDED IN VIETNAM?
Yes. A certain percentage of nontested personnel are authorized special and proficiency pay. Personnel who were tested in the States will normally receive this pay, if qualified by test score.
DO CERTAIN AREAS IN VIETNAM HAVE CURFEWS?
Curfews are established in accordance with the military situation and local civilian regulations and policies.
WHAT MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION ARE AVAILABLE?
Transportation in Vietnam is generally provided by organic military vehicles. In population centers, such as Saigon, Nha Trang, Qui Nhon, Vung Tau and other cities, commercial transportation-Taxis, pedi-cabs, and similar vehicles is available. For long distance travel within Vietnam, you will go by air.
AM I PERMITTED TO BUY AND OWN A PRIVATE VEHICLE?
POVs cannot be transported to Vietnam. POVs are not feasible as the driving hazards are great and, except for Saigon and other population centers, there is nowhere to drive. Applications for purchase of motor vehicles must be submitted through command channels to Hq USARV although subordinate commands have the authority to disapprove.
IS IT NECESSARY TO BRING PERSONAL WEAPONS?
No. Individuals who need weapons are issued them. Military personnel are not authorized to purchase locally or import privately-owned firearms except as an exception to policy upon approval of written request.
--SOME HELPFUL HINTS
HOW IS MAIL SERVICE AND HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE LETTERS AND PACKAGES?
Normal time for air mail to and from the U. S. and Vietnam is three to seven days, depending on the in-country location. Parcels shipped surface mail take 45 to 60 days.
ARE OVERSEAS TELEPHONE CALLS AVAILABLE?
Commercial overseas telephone calls can be placed from the USO building in Saigon. Messages of a personal nature may also be sent by troops to the United States using MARS facilities. There are seven MARS installations in Vietnam.
CAN I PURCHASE MONEY ORDERS IN VIETNAM TO MAIL HOME?
Facilities for the purchase of postal money orders are located throughout Vietnam.
LENGTH OF TOUR
WHAT IS THE LENGTH OF THE PRESENT TOUR?
The normal foreign service tour in Vietnam is now 12 months. Extension and curtailment policies are in effect in this and every other overseas command.
MAY I EXTEND MY TOUR IN VIETNAM?
Tour lengths for enlisted personnel may be extended on a voluntary basis for periods other than multiples of six months provided the prescribed maximum tour lengths are not exceeded. Therefore, with a voluntary extension, the maximum tour length in Vietnam is currently 24 months.
DO I HAVE DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY WHILE STATIONED IN VIETNAM?
By special agreement between our two countries, United States military personnel in Vietnam are immune from arrest and prosecution by Vietnamese authorities. However, the U.S. authorities in Vietnam may waive that immunity in a particular case. All personnel are required to obey the laws of RVN, and are of course, subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM PERIOD I CAN DEFER FILING MY FEDERAL INCOME TAX RETURN AND STATE TAX RETURN?
Federal income tax returns are not required to be filed until 180 days after leaving Vietnam. However, you must make prior arrangements with IRS, letting them know your status and location. You should determine from your home state the rules for filing state income tax returns.
WHAT IS THE POLICY ON EMERGENCY LEAVES IN VIETNAM?
An emergency leave is authorized upon receipt of a confirmed report of specific situation requiring the presence of the service member. Normally 30 days are authorized. Travel time within the country of destination is chargeable leave.
ARE LEAVES ALLOWED IN VIETNAM?
Yes, in-country leave is authorized for no longer than seven days. Two such leaves in addition to R&R, are authorized per 12 month period. Leave to the United States is authorized for compassionate reasons (in addition to emergency leave) for 30 days. Space available transportation is authorized, but the individual must be able to pay his way on commercial flight if required. Leave starts upon departure from duty station and terminates upon return.
WHAT IS THE GENERAL POLICY ON REST AND RECREATION LEAVES?
Military personnel in Vietnam may utilize the R&R program to Manila, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, or Taipei. One five-day leave is authorized for every 12 months served in Vietnam. There are six in-country R&R areas where individuals may go for a three-day pass.
ARE RELIGIOUS SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR ALL DENOMINATIONS?
Religious coverage is on the area concept. This means that all units, whether assigned a chaplain or not, will have religious services for major faiths are held. AFRS also broadcasts devotional programs.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO CONTINUE INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLING, SUCH AS CORRESPONDENCE COURSES?
Many courses of instruction for all levels of education are available through USAFI. In addition, more than 6000 correspondence courses are available from the extension divisions of 44 leading schools. In the Saigon area, a limited number of college courses are available through the University of Maryland.
WHAT IMMUNIZATION IS REQUIRED DURING THE TOUR IN VIETNAM?
Smallpox, typhoid, and typhus within one year; tetanus within six years; cholera within six months; plague within four months; oral polio on record and current flu inoculation. All military personnel will have yellow fever shots.
WILL I EAT IN THE MESS HALL OR ON THE LOCAL ECONOMY?
Military messes, to include BOQ and BEQ facilities, are available through-out Vietnam.
WILL I LIVE IN TENTS, BARRACKS OR ON THE LOCAL ECONOMY?
Billets vary in each area. Screened hutments and squad tents are widely used. In some cases, personnel will live in houses or hotels.
WHAT TYPE OF LAUNDRY FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE?
Quartermaster laundry facilities are limited. Most individual laundry is done by civilian firms. The services and quality of work varies from good to very poor.
WHAT TYPE OF PX SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE?
PX facilities in Vietnam are primarily for the individual soldiers's needs. Some luxury items, such as watches, are available.
WHAT PERSONAL ITEMS SHOULD I BRING?
Personal items to include cameras, transistor-type radios, cordless electric razors, extra underclothing, light washable trousers, and sport shirts can be used in Vietnam.
ARE AER AND RED CROSS FACILITIES AVAILABLE IN VIETNAM?
Yes, AER facilities are at major troop concentrations and Red Cross personnel are with unit in the field.
ARE CERTAIN ITEMS, SUCH AS CIGARETTES, RATIONED?
Yes, cigarettes and luxury items are rationed.