Now that we were back in the relative safety of our base camp, I felt calm and secure. However, this was not the case only four weeks before. You see, we had just been paid (in those days we were paid once a month) and I was uneasy about carrying all that money on any operation because if you became a casualty, anything could happen to the money. We were paid with M.P.C. (Military Pay Currency). No United States coins were issued; only paper money, this was to include denominations of five cents, twenty-five cents, fifty cents, five dollars, and ten dollars. Besides the Unites States paper money, we carried the South Vietnamese paper currency better known as Piasters. The GIs called this currency "funny money." We carried all this legal tender in our wallets and enclosed our wallets in a waterproof plastic bag. This protective measure would ensure that our wallets and money stayed dry. I found these measures to be adequate due to the constant exposure of the Infantry entering the many rice fields all day long, especially during the monsoon seasons, as well as the perspiration from the body in this tropical climate.

Every GI know that although he had a fat wallet, in the bush there was no where to spend it. This thought alone made me uncomfortable throughout the entire operation.

So as anyone can see, it made one appreciate the cleanliness, comfort, and relative security of one's Base Camp while you were there—however brief it might be. For you knew that within a short time you would repeat the process of search-and-destroys, Eagle flights, Ambushes (night and day), and the like throughout your stay in Nam. To me, this was to be an Infantryman's routine.

Copyright © 2000 Marion L. Ellard - All Rights Reserved