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Military Police Of The Vietnam War
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Above is the Military Payment Certificate, or MPC.  This is how we got paid.  I don't know why I walked out of the
country with a ten dollar and five dollar bill in MPC as $15.00 was a lot of money back then.  But, I now have it to
share on this site.  This was the currency we used in the PXs, Clubs, in lieu of the greenbacks.  However, this did not
stop the blackmarketing.

Locals wanted greenbacks (real U.S. currency) to deposit in their bank accounts as MPC was not negotiable in local
banks.  The Piaster, below,  was the Vietnamese money.    To help the local economy the piaster and MPC exchange
rate was almost equal in value. The going legal rate was about 125 Piaster for $1.00 MPC. However a local could give
you as much as  3 times the value of their Piaster to get their hands on military MPC.  They would then take that
MPC (which was useless to them) and give you twice as much MPC for any greenback dollar you would give them.  
How would G.I.s get greenbacks?  Simply have it sent from home.  So a G.I. could take  $300 in greenback, trade it
to a local for $600 MPC, then take that $600 in MPC and get a money order for greenbacks and send it back home.  
That was part of the black market at work.
200 piaster or about
$1.50 in MPC.
The photo at the left is a scene
of the delta area south of
Saigon.  This is obviously the
rainy season.

Below gives you an idea of the
crowded housing in Saigon.

Photos courtesy of Jim
Finnegan.  See the links section
for his website and book about
the Saigon Warriors.
Saigon was originally built for a population of about 500,000 people, but during 1968 it was said that approximately 3
million plus lived in or around the city.
At one time it was reported that there may have been as many as 5,000 AWOL soldiers/sailors in Saigon.  Many
AWOLS were have said to have become addicted to drugs and became involved in rationed item theft.  Specific items
in the PXs could be bought on limited basis, e.g., one television during a years tour.  Ration cards were issued and
when a purchase was made this item was "punched" out by the clerk.  Many clerks worked in cahoots with these
offenders and the same items were purchased over and over again then sold on the black market.  Ration cards were
also stolen out of "safes".  I once arrested a soldier with over 100 unused ration cards in his possession.
What happened to all the AWOLs
when we left?

If you couldn't find a particular
item in the PX it was readily
available on the black market.
Same was true for military gear,
e.g., the popular jungle fatigues
and even military boots, canteens
The black market was no secret.  It
operated openly on the streets of
Saigon.  Military Police were not
allowed to confiscate these goods.
Only the local customs police.

This city kept the MPs very busy.
....Forever May She
Flag of the Republic of
The Virgin Mary overlooks a harbor in
the beautiful port of Vung Tau. Right: A
Catholic Church.
If you look closely you will see a traffic light in the middle of this circle.  This is a typical rush hour in Saigon.  Running the red light
was invented here. Below a merchant takes his ducks to market.  A pretty Vietnamese girl in traditional dress with her baby.
Right, girls take a mid-day break from selling their wares.  It was hot
AND humid in Vietnam and an afternoon break, or siesta, was not
out of the ordinary.  Shops would even close up to get away from the
mid-day heat.  "Hey, G.I., you buy soap?" Saigon River scene, below.
Photo  Jim Stewart
Photo  Jim Stewart
Photo  Jim Stewart
Photo Jim Stewart
The Slippery Rock String Band in front of the
Meyerkord Hotel in Saigon, 1967. The band, left to
right, Lee Cheney, Chuck McCabe, Bob Harvey,
Mike Mendel. They toured with the USO.

Eerie scene of a public area in Saigon in 1966 where
executions were taken out by firing squad. This was
removed prior to 1967.

Saigon, the city of a million motorcycles.
Cute kids were everywhere.
for details on this
courtesy Tom Briggs
More Photos
More MPs
War Dogs
Let's Roll!
Of  The Troops
For The Troops
Over There
We Were Soldiers
Other Things
Band of Brothers
Babin's Page
Good Morning,
Born in the U.S.A.
Sky Cops
Saigon Tea
Combat Ready
Combat Ready II
The Deuce
Nine Rules
G'Day Mates
Nam MPs
In Country
Men At Work
Number One
Garry Owen
Before and After
Mike Papa
Call of Duty
Saddle Up
MP Art
Take Charge
Ever Vigilant