I just finished talking on the Phone with my girlfriends dad , he is a Vietnam Vet.
He told me that during his tour in Vietnam from '68/'69 as an E-3 with the 1st Cav he was paid a total of $ 1384.00 , he even went back to look at his records that he kept from his Military service just to make sure he was right.
Hopefully we will travel down to Eugene to talk to him in a few weeks , but it's still hard for him to talk about his experience in Vietnam, i do know that he was wounded and actually put inside a bodybag in '68 , last year he got a cool tattoo of a Purple Heart Medal on his left arm.
I seem to recall that a private got 77.00 a month with slight incremental increases with each pay grade promotion when I first went in. (This was 1968-69) Jump pay was $50.00 a month and there was also combat pay and overseas pay. (Obviously relative to regular pay jump pay was a substantial raise. Jumps had to be made several times a year to maintain the jump status and there were few opportunities in country to jump from a perfectly good airplane.
Keep in mind that in 1968 gasoline was .28 a gallon, a $100.000 house was a waterfront mansion and a Mercedes Benz sportscar was slightly under $10,000.
I do know for a fact that when I got out in 1977 a private was paid 288.00 a month. A huge raise from the previous 144.00 prior to the all volunteer army. Married men with dependants got slightly more and a housing allowance. The military has always been dramatically under paid and continues to be. If you consider the hours worked by the average GI in Vietnam (Even the rear eschelon folks) it was way way under minimum wage. (relatively speaking)
My brother was essentially a clerk (E-4 and later E-5) working for MACV in 1968 and while his situation was considerably more cushy then mine in 1970 he still worked his ass off.
No one (to my knowledge) goes in the Army for the pay.
Pay rate eff 01 Jul 1969
E-3 PFC under 2 years svc $155.10 per month
Incentive/Hazard pay additional $55.00 a month
So as an off the plane PFC day 1 in VN you got $210.10 a month
E-5 SGT over 3 years svc $328.80 per month
incentive hazard pay $55.00
Now in country you got payed in MPC, each month a differant series and color script, and if you were in the bush on exchange days you were SOL for last months MPC were worthless.
From Osprey's US Army Infantryman in Vietnam 1965-73 by Gordon L. Rottman
Pay call was on the last Friday of the month...Before income tax, Social Security, and optional Savings Bond deductions , the Base Pay for soldiers with less than two years' service was (1968 scale) was:
$102.30 for E-1's with less than four months service
$109.50 for E-1's with over four months service
$113.40 for E-2's
$137.70 for E-3's
$190.20 for E-4's
Married Soldiers without children received $55.20 Basic Allowance for Quarters, and another $30 Family Separation Allowance when deployed overseas. When overseas, including Vietnam, they additionally received $16 Overseas Allowance and in Vietnam $65 Hostile Fire Pay ("Combat Pay"). Paratroopers received $55 Hazardous Duty Pay ("Jump Pay"). Paratroopers were required to jump once every three months to receive Jump Pay, but they continued to receive it in Vietnam, as aircraft and parachutes were unavailable for parachute proficiency jumping. In Vietnam there were no income tax deductions, but Social Security deductions were still withheld.