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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Vietnam War — postage-free & postpaid mail

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Bobstamp
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15 Apr 2017
11:34:58pm
Early in the Vietnam War, in 1965-1966, I served as a hospital corpsman with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. We trained at Camp Pendleton in California and Camp Schwab in Okinawa before deploying to Quang Ngai Province in South Vietnam.

I've been reading through the battalion's declassified Command Chronologies, and came across this interesting promulgation regarding mail sent from Vietnam ("BLT" refers to "Battalion Landing Team," not Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato sandwich as my wife suggested). It's dated 1 December 1965; my battalion landed in South Vietnam on 28 January 1966:

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Here are two covers in my collection, one that I sent to my wife-to-be, and the other posted by an American soldier to a woman in Germany (his wife, I assume) Although stamps were made available, according to the Command Chronologies, postal clerks used rubber-stamped "POSTED PAID" and French "PORT PAYE" postal marks to show payment of postage.

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The "certain areas" referred to in the chronology weren't just combat areas. Mail that I sent to Susan and to my parents after I was wounded was also sent postage free, first from the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose, where I was operated on, and then from Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego where I recovered over the next 10 months:

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Bob







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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
16 Apr 2017
09:03:20am

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re: Vietnam War — postage-free & postpaid mail

Hi Bob- Great historic covers, especially since they are personalized!


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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
17 Apr 2017
08:41:42am
re: Vietnam War — postage-free & postpaid mail

thanks for sharing.... hoping one day all military free frank is a thing of the past

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"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

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rwillis29
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26 May 2018
05:28:01pm
re: Vietnam War — postage-free & postpaid mail

Thank you for your posting. I have 100+ covers mostly from my brother.

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Bobstamp
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26 May 2018
09:04:26pm
re: Vietnam War — postage-free & postpaid mail

100 Vietnam War covers! Interesting. Your brother either had one long tour of duty, or more than one. What unit(s) was he with? And when? People are always surprised when they learn how early I was there — late January to early March, 1966, less than a year after the first ground troops were sent in. Those same people are surprised to learn that we weren’t taking drugs. The only drugs I had consisted of half a can of Carling Black Label beer and an ounce or so of Suntory Japanese whisky. And morphine for pain after I was wounded.

Bob

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1938324
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27 May 2018
06:39:51am

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re: Vietnam War — postage-free & postpaid mail

You may be interested in seeing these. I penciled in my Album years ago that these are "Military Frank Stamps".Image Not Found

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
27 May 2018
08:54:55am

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re: Vietnam War — postage-free & postpaid mail

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Here's a couple of Vietnam covers from my father. Note the dates are 1961-62, and his return address is "Advisor Team 75". The second one is from when he was in the hospital with hepatitis.

I do have a bunch of these, my grandmother saved everything! The sad story is that when I was young and collecting stamps, my grandmother tore the stamps off some of these to send to me! Any philatelic value is gone from those, but the letters and family history is still there!

There is no one left in my family to discuss this era. My grandparents and parents are all dead.

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rwillis29
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10 Jun 2018
04:52:59pm
re: Vietnam War — postage-free & postpaid mail

Most of the covers were to our mother. He was over there from late 1969 to late 1973.
Richard

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rwillis29
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10 Jun 2018
05:05:22pm
re: Vietnam War — postage-free & postpaid mail

I was wrong on the years. 1968-1972

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