Beer in-country

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 182
    (8/3/01 2:04:08 pm)
    | Del All Beer in-country
    In our little skit on the Boo Koo Dinky Dau page, we were taking about drinking Black Label and Jack Daniels. That brought back some interesting memories. When I first got in-country, I could not understand why only certain brands of beer and booze were available. On the flight over, a few grunts were giving me a hard time (in jest, I am sure,, well, sort of) about being assigned where I would have access to all the “good” stuff. They said they never got any good brand beer in the line units. At the Class VI, we could get some “brand name” stuff, like Jim Beam, most of the time, but I was only able to get a bottle of Jack Daniels once. Most of the hard liquor was off-brand. And the beer was almost always limited to Black Label, sometimes Schlitz, and once or twice Millers. Always, the cans were rusty, some crushed, and a lot were flat. It's tough to drink beer like that after just coming from Germany. Ah, the hardships of being a REMF. You could get Bud and Jack Daniels at the club, but that was a different supply system. Then came my first trip downtown. On the streets of Saigon was all the Bud (and anything else) a person could want. The good old black market was thriving as usual. I think it was common perception that we REMFs in Saigon were getting all that stuff, but that was not necessarily true. At least not this ol' country boy, or any of his friends.

    I also found out that most of the “good” stuff that did not go to the black market, was siphoned off to “grease” the right hands on base. I guess there were a lot of Jack Daniels and Budwiser fans in high places. There was more than one hootch that was stocked better than any bar you ever saw. One of my acquaintances from the supply system told me he saw pallet loads of stuff just “disappear”.

    I guess the booze and beer being stolen was not all that bad, compared to the vital equipment and supplies that were always being “misplaced”

    I started this as a light-hearted memory, but it sort of turned negative on me.

    I guess all good memories have their bad parts, and maybe vice versa.

    Stan H ,, Nighthawk

    Edited by: nighthawk at: 8/3/01 3:25:12 pm

    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 473
    (8/3/01 5:13:30 pm)
    | Del Re: Beer in-country
    I had an E-7 in AIT who got to Vn after I did. He wound up in the same Company as I did. I saw him 2-3 days after his arrival. We're shooting the bull and out of the blue he say's..."I got to get me some money made pretty soon". I ask in a round-about way what he means. In words that I don't recall exactly he starts talking about getting into the money exchange black market!! He said he was told that there was lots of money to be made that way. Well...yeeeeah!! I wanted to tell him he coulld get a lot of jail time for it too.

    Posts: 46
    (8/3/01 5:38:49 pm)
    | Del Re: Beer in-country
    I was reminded of my twentieth birthday party by your story. The battalion was still based in Cu Chi in March when I received a package from Mom. The company had just come in for a three day stand down and I had a care package with a chocolate cake in it. Now, this cake had been three weeks in transit so looked more like a box full of rather dark and gooey sewage. Nevertheless, myself and three of my brothers dipped our hands in and licked it off our dainty little pinkies, washing it down with beer and Jack Daniels till it was all gone.

    Out of all 53 that's still my most memorable b-day, sittin' in the back of a track licking chocolate goo off my fingers and sluggin' bourbon out of the jug. I don't think it happened on my birthday but it was within a week or so, till I got short I couldn't usually tell you what day of the week it was and could only approximate the date most of the time.
    The point of the spear

    Posts: 517
    (8/4/01 10:46:36 pm)
    | Del Re: Beer in-country

    You know guys, there was another brand of beer in Nam when I was there, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Falstaff, I can't remember if anyone mentioned either one of those. I can remember, if you didn't drink soda pop or beer you went a little thirsty. However, you did have to wash the cans before you drank out of them. (or at least wipe them off the best you could) I noticed the bent cans never had a good sizzle to them when opened and most of the time taste very flat.

    After all that beer, I never did like it that much and didn't drink it after I returned home. (I found cold water)
    Chocolate cake with beer??? Well I guess that wouldn't have taste too bad either.

    *Senior Chief Moderator*
    Posts: 65
    (8/5/01 7:23:33 am)
    | Del Re: Beer in-country
    I have never been a drinker---that is beer or booze or anything. It wasn't my spiritual convictions, just that my system didn't like the stuff. When Hope mentioned the Pabst Blue Ribbon and the Falstaff brands, my memory clicked back to high school days when we used to drink to act smart. Those were a couple of brands that were readily available in the midwest (Iowa). In country, my ration allowance always went to my S-2 yeoman, Jimmy Walker--when Jimmy wasn't there, Gunny Gawyne guzzled my meager allowance---what was the ration allowance---I recall two cans but how often, I don't remember. Wilborn

    Posts: 519
    (8/5/01 5:05:30 pm)
    | Del Re: Beer in-country

    Chief Wilborn, I am not sure how it worked for everyone else but the detachment would take our cards each month and that is where the alotment of beer would go to. We wouldn't get it as individuals.

    We had a big fridge and the mail clerk would keep it stocked with beer and soda pop all the time. However, the door on it was always opening and closing so the cans were never very cold.

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 191
    (8/5/01 5:21:39 pm)
    | Del Re: Beer in-country
    I realize it no longer matters, but who ever took your ration card was violating regs. In fact, you were also. The regs said the ration card would remain in your possession, and used only by you, until you surrendered it upon renewel or PCSing. We all violated that, I know. I had a non-drinker in my section that always let me have his rations, but he had to go with me. The clerks in the class VI always checkd ID cards against the ration cards when I went there. Nobody said anything about that as long as the person getting the booze was not illeaglly selling the stuff.

    In Korea '72, nobody much cared. You could do whatever. There were times I would have 3 or 4 ration cards in my pocket.

    Just a comment.

    Stan H,, nighthawk

    Posts: 520
    (8/5/01 10:35:29 pm)
    | Del Re: Beer in-country

    Ration Card - pink in color , folded 3 times to make 4 cards -
    U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV Form 333 1 Apr 68 )

    I under stand that-

    1. This card is not transferable.

    2. Any part of this card removed from the identification portion is not valid.

    3. Exchange merchandise will not be transfered by sale or ortherwise to persons ordinarily resident in the Republic of Vietnam except in the case of nonrationed gifts under a retail value of $10. Sales slips will be retained by purchaser.

    4. Failure to comply with regulations governing use and disposition of post exchange merchandise may result in disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and/or withdrawal of exchange privileges.

    5. This card will not be sold, bartered or placed in pawn to any person.

    6. This card must be turned in to the proper authority upon the bearer's departure from the Republic of Vietnam.

    As you can see nighthawk, I did violate reg's. I still have my card... lol When in Nam, I was assigned to USARV, if you were at MACV, I am sure you have heard of that one.

    Edited by: hope6970 at: 8/5/01 11:52:27 pm

    Posts: 1362
    (8/6/01 6:27:59 am)
    | Del beer
    Mostly Schlitz!, Pabst too. Somehow I think maybe there was draft back at SaDec as I recall. I know there was more of a variety, but I can't remember which and even can't swear to the draft. Just seems to be there in the brain some how.

    I remember at the little EM club there they had a jukebox that took tokens and a "one arm bandit"...little Frank and Fred also did drop some tokens in that sucker.

    Guess the club used the money to help with the Clubs expense's...who knows.

    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 957
    (8/6/01 8:52:17 am)
    | Del
    Re: beer
    Can remember Rheingold beer that was equivalent to panther urine.........the cans would fade as they sat out on pallets in the sun. Also remember when we flew "3rd up" we'd (routine transfers between aid stations and hospitals), we'd often deliver cases of beer upon request. Along with that I remember taking cases of ammo and ordinance such as grenades into areas in much for the Geneva convention.....but then again, Mr. Charles didn't follow the rules very well either.

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 184
    (8/7/01 2:27:10 am)
    | Del Beer
    You All;
    I never saw or heard of a ration card or a Class VI store. We had Carling Black Label for EMs and Miller I think for officers. Our ration was supposed to be 2 cans a week per man of beer. They substituted soda pop. The beer was sold to someone else.
    I talked to guys who served later in the conflict in the 196th and they were given all the beer they could drink during standown. After an infantry operation the survivors went to a rear area for a rest. They were given cold beer and hot food.
    The USAF had actual bars with potable ice and cocktails for E4 and higher. That was really plush!
    Is the Class VI store only for REMFs or is it rank restricted? Does the Army have any?
    Oh Well,
    Mike H

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 479
    (8/7/01 10:00:28 am)
    | Del Re: Beer
    Hubby often talked of San Miguel beer. Think it was made in the
    Phillipines (???) and I think he liked it better than the rusty-topped
    American beer his camp could get or "33" beer.


    Bill Braniff
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 72
    (8/7/01 11:17:44 am)
    | Del Re: Beer
    Hi(gh) Hope and all. I too have my ration card. Had two cases of beer punched off, and that was it. Don't forget Olympia. We in my Company contributed a small summ of money directly to the Comp. each month, and we recieved , I think they were called SP packs. Supposedly, it bought us two sodas and two beers , once a week or something like that,plus we got cigarettes,candy, chewing gum, the odd box of cigars etc.

    When we were on an extended visit to the 'Boonies' which was most of the time, our REMF's would take a few AK's,or SKS rifles to either Long Binh, or one of the Air Force Bases to trade them for a pallet of beer. To be honest, we had a pretty good supply of beer, and got it on a fairly regular basis in the field. My breakfast most mornings consisted of 2 beers, coffee, and c-rat cookies almost every day. My machinegunner didn't like beer, so I gave him my 2 sodas, dranjk 2 beers at night, and 2 in the AM for breakfast. Beat wheaties by a long mile.

    The beer was just a little bit cooler if it was left to stand overnight. We actually got more beer in the field, than in base camp. Word soon got out if one of the grunt units was coming in for a stand down, and miraculously, the beer on base camp disappeared into non grunt hooches. BUT..I will not re-open that can of worms. lol I don't drink at all now, but sure did enjoy those warm ones in Vietnam.

    Thie biggest beer story happened actually in Saigon. Apparently Sappers sunk a merchant vessel carrying beer for the 25th Division. For a couple of weeks, all the homies got was some rot gut from Korea. We got back from the boonies, and that was the only time I can recall when there was lots of beer in camp. It was ALSO the only time, I can remeber dumping beer on the ground over there cause it was so terrible. Gut wrenching bad. Hope I didn't bore you people too much. I do have an addendum, but will include it in another story.

    Bill B

    Posts: 1376
    (8/7/01 6:32:15 pm)
    | Del beer
    Ain't boring this ol boy Bill. The Officers and Senior NCO's would trade off SKS's and AK's for vaious items in the rear to help with some of the comforts for our Team...even tho on loan. I felt like a member cause the guy's on MAT Team 60 kind of/sort of adopted me as one...I continualy volunteered to go out with them and they would ask for me. That made me extremely proud! I believe it was my doing what was asked of assigned job...always!. I used to make em laugh too...had some good times with em.

    So anyway, that's how we gott our x-tra beer and whiskeys too.

    Bill Braniff
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 73
    (8/7/01 7:02:20 pm)
    | Del Re: beer
    Homer, my friend. I truly would have enjoyed having you in my squad.


    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 57
    (8/7/01 9:26:42 pm)
    | Del Beer etc.
    Just a few random thoughts.
    When I came into VietNam my ration card was xxx'd out so I was not able to buy liquor anyway. The legal age I was told was still 21 for the hard stuff. Although I turned 21 a month before I went home that month was also xxx'd out! We did have the opportunity to buy liquor from the Viet's called "45". After awhile this was also declared "illegal" by the CO so this option was also taken away. I guess from the way the guys that drank it talked they were not too upset. I do remember drinking all the aforementioned beers plus O.B. from the Phillipines or Korea. We always called it Old and Bad!
    We were supposed to get a certain amount of beer also so I think the Army still owes me (and probably a lot of others) about 10 cases or so. I did get a bottle of whiskey from the store in LongBinh that me and Chuck McHenry shared a day or so before I came home. I had rode shotgun on a convoy to LongBinh from TayNinh with about 5 days left in-country. I had to find someone with an unused ration card to purchase it for me. Kind of made me feel like a criminal! I remember we drank it from our canteen cups out behind the hootch in TayNinh.
    I also remember getting a little lit up on 33 at the laterite pit one morning before the front loaders showed up. I was riding shotgun for Tim Leovitch and once we got in convoy we could not stop to take a leak so we alternated standing on the running board of the 5 ton while we drove down the road!
    At French Fort, during the Tet Offensive, all the choppers were tied up in other areas so we did not get beer or soda for a few days. We became so desperate that we paid an artillary unit five dollars for a warm case of ginger-ale and the s.o.b.'s wouldn't give us any ice! I lost all respect for the artillary after that episode. =)
    At the reception center in LongBinh they also had slot machines in a big building where they lined the walls and the middle of the floor. They were all busy when I was in there. This, I believe, is where Sgt/Major Wooleridge and some others got in trouble for "skimming".
    Didn't mean to ramble but beer brings back some happy memories.

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 197
    (8/7/01 9:57:58 pm)
    | Del Re: Beer etc.
    Don,,no prob whit the "ramblin':,,enjoy the stories,,,

    Had quite a few bottles of "O.B" in '72 in good ol' Korea,,yea, it was Korean Beer,,,I think about half formaldahyde(sp),, like most things in that country,,,

    Stan H