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.

CLOTHING BAGGAGE

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 The service cap and greens are withdrawn at port of embarkation CONUS.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.

MONEY

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.

CURFEWS

DO CERTAIN AREAS IN VIETNAM HAVE CURFEWS?
Curfews are established in accordance with the military situation and local civilian regulations and policies.

TRANSPORTATION
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.

WEAPONS

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

MAIL-COMMUNICATIONS

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.

LEGAL

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.

LEAVES

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.

CHURCHES-SCHOOLING

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.

IMMUNIZATION

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.

PERSONAL SERVICES
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.

HEALTH HAZARDS IN VIETNAM
PERSONAL SECURITY RULES
DIRECTED TO VIETNAM COMBAT TROOPS

HEALTH HAZARDS IN VIETNAM

1. There are two categories of communicable diseases that are considered major problems in Vietnam. These are intestinal and insect-borne diseases. The ones which you should be most concerned with during your stay in the country are the intestinal diseases. Most common examples of these include diarrhea, dysentery, infectious hepatitis, typhoid and cholera. You have received immunizations against typhoid and cholera; therefore, these diseases can be considered of no relative consequence. Dysentery and common diarrhea are very prevalent in this country. In that these intestinal diseases are so closely associated with water and food, some personal measures that can be taken to avoid illness are listed below.

a. Water-In all areas of Vietnam, including Saigon, the civilian water is considered non-potable, therefore not fit for drinking. This includes water used in restaurants as well as tap water in hotels. A few U. S. installations treat water at its source thus providing drinkable tap water. (Saigon is not one of these.) In most cases, however, water is treated in bulk quantities and placed into containers in eating facilities and living quarters.

b. Food-These comments apply only to eating on the Vietnamese economy. Food in U. S. messes and clubs comes from approved sources and is safe to consume.

Avoid eating any food from any of the mobile food carts which are scattered throughout all the cities you will visit. These establishments are particularly unsanitary and carry many incapacitating food toxins. In any restaurant, avoid leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, since they are normally not properly washed and harbor amebic cysts responsible for dysentery. Do not eat any salad dressings. Fruits and vegetables are safe to eat only if they are thoroughly cooked if eaten raw, the outer layer is peeled or cut off. Much of the meat in Vietnam is contaminated with worms which do not constitute a health hazard if the meat is thoroughly cooked. Therefore, all meat should be ordered well done. Milk products should be completely avoided. There are, however many drinks and carbonated beverages.

2. Insect borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and plague, although a major problem in various parts of the country, need not be of significant concern to you during your stay in Vietnam. The troop areas in which you will be performing are properly developed and preventive medicine measures have been taken so that incidence of these diseases is rare.


PERSONAL SECURITY RULES

1. Observe existing curfews.

2. Do not remain in the area of the civil disturbance. Remain indoors if it occurs in the vicinity of billets or quarters area.

3. Park automobiles off the street at night in a secure location or otherwise provide for their security.

4. Perform frequent inspections of vehicles for time bombs, booby traps, hidden or concealed explosives or devices.

5. Exercise care in selection and use of public transportation, especially taxis, cycles and motor cars. Do not permit drivers to deviate from desired routes. Keep car windows closed consistent with ventilation requirements when traveling off base.

6. Avoid public bars, restaurants and other places of amusement.

7. Employ the '"'buddy system'"'.

8. Refrain from forming groups of more than three or four persons when outside billets or places of duty.

9. Avoid going out after dark, unless on official business.

10. Remain clear of any area where an off base hostile action is occurring or has occurred.

11. Stay sober and aware of your surroundings.

12. Deviate from usual habits and routine as much as possible.

13. social functions in public places should not be scheduled unless they are necessary to the conduct of official business.

14. Become familiar with the items which are normally around you place of duty and quarters area, so that you can immediately detect the presence of a strange object or a change in location of normal items.

15 Advise servants of their responsibility for maintenance of security at residential quarters.

16. Instruct servants not to admit unidentified or unknown persons to premises and to report any unusual occurrences.

17. Do not allow bicycles or other vehicles to be placed against your building.

18. If in off-base billets and hostile action (gun fire, etc.) is or has occurred outside:

a. Stay away from windows, doors or other openings that might expose you to the hostile fire.

b. Anticipate the possibilities of an explosion (VC mine) to follow.

C. Lay on the floor in an area best affording protection from flying glass.

d. Stay in place until the '"'all clear'"' is heard or until the '"'all clear'"' is reasonably assured. (at least 30 minutes)

e. If an explosion does occur, anticipate a second explosion to follow. VC will usually implant a second mine timed to explode when a crowd is expected to assemble to assist in disaster recovery.

f. Remain clear of the disaster scene unless your assistance is definitely required.

19. Do not accept gifts from strangers.

20. Do not allow anyone else to pack your luggage.

21. Do not allow porter to carry your luggage unless you keep the porter and luggage under your personal surveillance at all times.

22. Do not pick up objects which appear to have been forgotten in bars, restaurants, taxicabs or other places.

23. Always be alert. Be wary of things or situations that appear to be out of the ordinary.

24. Report any unusual or suspicious acts or occurrences to Military Police or Air Police.

25. Wear your '"'dog tags'"'. Don't spread rumors.

(End of Security Rules)