Of course, after my tour of duty in Vietnam, I was assigned to Hawaii where dress whites were the order of the day. Unless you were assigned to duty that required frequent social engagements, the dress whites were required only one day each year. On New Year's Day, officers were expected to visit the Commanding General's home. Inasmuch as he wasn't inclined to greet each of us personally, we were only required to leave a calling card in a small silver tray sitting on a table by the front door for this purpose. Only one officer was excused from this duty – the duty officer.
The Duty Officer represents the Commanding General at night and during holidays. Anything requiring immediate attention is referred to the DO who either defers it until normal duty hours or contacts the appropriate on-call officer. He may even perform some narrowly defined functions on behalf of the Commanding General. I always made sure that I was the duty officer on New Year's Day and thus saved the cost of buying a set of dress whites.
Commissioned officers received a stipend to pay for meals. I believe that it was about $27 per month in those days. We could eat our meals at the company mess hall if we turned it over to the mess sergeant each month. Otherwise, we were on our own. You can only imagine how far $27 went each month, even in those days.
Interestingly, we also had to pay for our meals when a patient in a military hospital. We had to pay for them for our dependents as well. Although there was no charge for medical care, I was billed approximately $8 when my first son was born at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii for the meals his mother ate while there. I had three children born in civilian hospitals in later years and was charged a bit more.
Free housing was provided for commissioned officers as well as enlisted men. Generally, it was adequate, although I had to wonder since I learned that Air Force officers forced to live on Army posts received a stipend for tolerating substandard accommodations.
The best deal was TDY (Temporary Duty) assignments. I was sent to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana for six weeks following graduation from Officer Candidate School. When I arrived, there was just one room remaining available in the BOQ (Bachelor Officer's Quarters) and I excused myself just long enough for someone else to take it. I then joined up with three other new lieutenants and we rented an apartment in nearby Indianapolis for the six weeks. Given that we each received a housing allowance of about $150 per week, I not only paid my share, but also rented a car and had more than six hundred dollars left over to refill my savings account depleted from buying those damn uniforms.