Apr 28, 2018

Funny Money

Just my nickel's worth

One Dollah!

One Thin Dime

Military Payment Certificates (MPC) were used in Vietnam instead of US Dollars.


One of my fun additional duties in Vietnam in 1970 was to take in and pay out all the old Military Payment Certificates (MPC) with new MPC for our unit on Hill 327. We did not use US dollars in Vietnam – instead we used paper dollars, dimes, and nickels. We were only supposed to use MPC to buy things from military organizations.  This was to reduce black market transactions between the US military and civilians.

With no notice all bases would be “locked down”, with no one permitted to leave or depart. The purpose of this was to screw anyone who was involved with the black market - anyone who was off base could not get back on to base to get their money exchanged. We got the word in the middle of the night. The base was locked down, and every Marine had to turn in his MPC. 

Paper nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars, covered with junk, candy, and waded up, were counted out, and I gave each man a receipt. I collected over $20,000 in MPC and I kept it in an ammo box. Then I took the money to Wing Headquarters, count it to Wing, get packets of new money in the same denominations, and returned and paid each man. No mistakes, as I recall. It took me three long days to collect and pay back all the money to each man. Had to fly around in a helicopter to our four remote bases.

I had paid everyone except a Marine named Riley who was in the brig (jail). I did not know about him as he had been in the brig before I joined the unit. I went over to the brig to collect his money. I was shocked to see it was a Marine I served with in 5th LAAMBn in Yuma who I knew very well. We were enlisted troops together. I had told him then he needed to clean up his act and quit drugs when we had served together. He did not listen then - hope he has cleaned up his act. He was a smart capable guy, just not willing to go along with the Marine program.

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