One of the icons of the Vietnam War is the Zippo lighter. Sure they are wind-proof and guaranteed by the manufacturer to light every time – if it didn’t, it was replaced for free – perfect for Vietnam. Everyone had one – even if they didn’t smoke cigarettes. Next to a P-38 can opener, a lighter came in handy for lighting a heat tab or C-4 when cooking meals or making coffee in the field.
Tattoos are popular today and allow recipients an opportunity to “advertise” those things they feel strongly about. Could be a picture, scene, saying or even foreign characters. Back in the day, engraving Zippo lighters was the rave in Vietnam. Every one of them was unique and “advertised” a bravado saying, homage to their units and reminders of those back home.
I had one with a saying, but have absolutely no idea what happened to it. Today, the Vietnamese and personal vendors are selling those that metal detectors have uncovered throughout the country. Some are real and others counterfeit – made to look like they survived the elements for the last forty years. I have included about forty pictures of various engraved lighters from the internet for your viewing pleasure. If you still have one, take a picture of it and send it via my email and I’ll add it to this blog.
Donated by Izek Penes
Donated by Paul Miarecki
Donated by Art Estrella was in the Air Force at CAM RANH BAY in 1970 in a C-130 unit as a Propeller Specialist .
Here is a link to view additional lighters from the Vietnam War: https://www.buzzfeed.com/katienotopoulos/zippos-from-the-vietnam-war?sub=1726407_519276
Do you still have your engraved Zippo for your days in Vietnam? If so, send me a picture and I’ll add it to this article.
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