Hooch maid

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Hooch maids at work in 1971 on an American Army base

A hooch maid was a South Vietnamese woman employed to clean the shelters and keep house for American servicemen during the Vietnam War.[1]


American soldiers in South Vietnam sometimes called the dwellings of Vietnamese civilians "hooches". Thus, the Vietnamese civilian women who maintained the dwellings were called "hooch maids". These women typically worked six days a week, cleaning and maintaining the rooms and belongings of the soldiers. If their work quality was deemed to be sufficient, they could be given goods from the base exchange, which could be turned into extra income on the black market.[2][self-published source?]

The military generally allowed most officers and non-commissioned men to have hooch maids, whenever these men wanted and requested their services. In Da Nang, military trucks picked up the maids at designated stops in the city every morning, and returned them in the evening. Issues often arose between the soldiers and the maids, due to cultural differences, including how to clean clothes properly, and how much soap to use when washing the clothes.[3] Maids also cooked for the men when appropriate.[4]

The maids could earn as much as a captain in the South Vietnamese Army, although it was often less.[5] One soldier described the maids as being "...good Catholics who might flirt with you but would never date an American soldier."[1] Nonetheless, some maids reportedly had sex with soldiers to earn extra income.[6]


  1. ^ a b Galanos, Louis (1 August 2005). "First Impressions". Vietnamgear.com. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  2. ^ Muehlberg, Dean O. (2005). REMF "War Stories" 17Th Cag - Nha Trang, Vietnam - 1969. [S.l.]: Lulu.com. pp. 110–112. ISBN 1411629442. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  3. ^ Ingelido, Richard (16 September 2005). It's Not About the War. Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency. p. 62. ISBN 1608606414. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  4. ^ Fawcett, edited by Bill (5 February 2008). Hunters & Shooters: An Oral History of the U.S. Navy SEALs in Vietnam. New York: Harper. p. 400. ISBN 0061375667. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  5. ^ Sever, Al (1 March 2005). Xin Loi, Viet Nam: Thirty-one Months of War: A Soldier's Memoir (1. Presidio Press ed.). New York: Presidio. p. 25. ISBN 0891418563. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  6. ^ Lee, Rusty (7 December 2011). Still Alive: My journey through war, combat and the struggles of PTSD. And the Perils of Addiction. (And stage four cancer). [S.l.]: Authorhouse. p. 348. ISBN 1467848255. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
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