Daily life in Vietnam varied from branch to branch, and also from person to person. While some may have preferred to spend their limited free-time reading magazines, others may have enjoyed just having a smoke and listening to the radio.
Food and Water:
In the field, food was provided in the form of Meal, Combat, Individual, or " lovingly" referred to as "C-Rations". There were a few kinds of C-Rations, with meals such as ham and eggs, beef slices and gravy, or turkey. Also included would be accompaniments such as pound-cake or crackers or bread. Each C-Ration came with an accessory kit that would contain matches, instant coffee, creamer, chewing gum, sugar, salt, toilet paper, and a small package of four cigarettes. The cigarette brand varied from Marlboro, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Newport, and Benson & Hedges. Cigarettes would no longer be included by 1975.
Water was acquired by boiling, using purification tabs, or from firebases or base camps. It was always a bad idea to drink any water direct from rivers or puddles.
Music and Music Players:
If music could be acquired when in Vietnam, it was probably found on a transistor radio. A transistor radio is a small radio with a telescoping antenna. Music during the war was often times politically founded, with songs like "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield. Transistor radios were also useful when tuning in to news channels or sports games.
Whether by professional combat correspondents, or the amateur photographer, cameras could be found carried by various infantrymen during the war. One of the most popular cameras was the Nikon F. Using 35mm film and composed of a silver and black body, the camera would capture the war in pictures that maintain their thought-provoking and humbling presence today.
Letters were written to mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, wives, girlfriends, anyone who a soldier wished to stay in touch with while in Vietnam. Letters were free for soldiers to send home, with no stamp placed in the corner, instead the word "free" was written. Letters back would be delivered to Vietnam and given to soldiers in large drops in which any soldiers who had a letter expected may have received one among many other expectant men.
C-Ration with Accessory Packet
Nikon F Camera
Example of a transistor radio
Free letter envelope
Arques,Antonio. "Meals, Combat, Individual 'C-Ration.'" Grunt: A Pictorial Report on the US
Infantry's Gear and Life during the Vietnam War 1965-1975, by Arques,
Madrid, Andrea Press, 2014, pp. 325-27.
---. "Letters Home." Grunt: A Pictorial Report on the US Infantry's Gear and
Life during the Vietnam War 1965-1975, by Arques, Madrid, Andrea Press,
2014, p. 419.