Get your pay, get your shots. The first day each month an officer was designated Pay Officer and handed a briefcase with cash and pay records. The Army encouraged having most or all of our salary sent directly to the United States and they pay us the balance in what they called cash (MPC). We called it Monopoly Money as it was about the size and look of the Monopoly game paper they called cash.

It rapidly replaced the piaster as the Vietnamese currency and roadside vendors accepted only military script as payment. They laughed if we tried to pay with their countries money and offered to sell us all we wanted. The Army changed the series and looks of the script, then exchanged the old for new on an unannounced day but only for Americans and limited the amount. The Vietnamese knew about the secret day, weeks in advance and vendors would ask us to exchange their money for a small profit. For greenback American dollars they would pay 4 or 5 MPC anytime.

Before you were allowed to dip your pay net into the pot of gold a medic administered any shots your records indicated were due. Your military I.D. and shot record were like a drivers license and proof of insurance card when stopped for traffic violations; you better have them when requested by authority. The pot of gold was not accessible to you without them.

You may be asking why we needed cash in the middle of nowhere but commerce is like air, its everywhere. Roadside vendors, gambling, visits to the PX in base camp and a roll in the rice paddy (boom-boom) girl all required cash. Mail order merchandise required payment with money orders that could be purchased for MPC in the base camp Army Post Office.

Click the image above to view full size.

< Back to Main Gallery Page >

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-92715403-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');