Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Zippo - More Than a Lighter in Vietnam

During the Vietnam War, several items became the canvasses on which soldiers painted their emotions and sentiments. The Zippo Lighter was one of these items. According to Collectors, 200,000 Zippo Lighters were used by American GI's in Vietnam. The Zippo Lighter played a part in almost ejustday activity of the soldier. The shinny lid provided a handy mirror and the Zippo lighters flame warmed the stew at mealtimes. Also soldiers kept salt in the bottom cavities, called "canned bottoms", of their Zippo lighters to replenish lost body salt. Other legendary Zippo lighters, according to Life Magazine, were used to transmit signals or provide a shield against enemy bullets.

They were used in military operations, in which paratroopers would spray gasoline over the zone to scorch enemy compounds and dwellings. The soldiers would usually vehiclery the lighters in their chest pockets or fasten them onto the camouflage band on their helmets. As substitutes for lighter fluid alcohol, diesel or even gasoline was used. Zippo lighters were used as Id's and canvasses. The PX's in Vietnam vehicleried a large amount of them and that explains the cause why there were so many Zippo lighters in Vietnam. Zippo merchandise quickly found it's way onto the black market and soldiers were able to buy brand new Zippo lighters without having to go to the PX. Vietnamese craftsmen would engrave anything from photographs to phrases onto the Zippo lighter for the soldiers. Zippos lighters engraved "in-field" for Army GI's have the largest variety of personalized phrases and images. The most popular motif engraved onto a soldiers Zippo lighter was the map of Vietnam. Ejust soldier had his own personalized Zippo lighter, which accompanied him until the drop of Saigon and beyond.

Zippo Lighters used by American Soldiers during the Vietnam war have since become collector's items. Ejust Zippo lighter from the Vietnam war bears quiet witness, conveying a great sense of emotion of having been there on the battlefield. The soldiers who faced death and stood on the brink of hell, vehiclerying their Zippo lighters who transformed these simple Zippo lighters into and integral part of their own bodies and souls. Vietnam has immortalized the Zippo lighter and has sense became a priceless collectors item.

The great majority of Vietnam Navy ship Zippos were factory engraved. To be considered a "Vietnam Zippo" the engraving should include specific reference to Vietnam. Military Zippos made during the Vietnam War years that do not refer to Vietnam are often referred to as "Vietnam Era Zippos".

The "Brown-Water" Navy combined Coastal and Riverine Operations to slid the enemy's re-supply of arms from Cambodia go to sea and river. It involved destroyers, escorts and minesweepers along with Cost Guard cutters and low draft boats and PBR's patrolling the Mekong Delta. They averaged 85 firefights per month and almost one third of the sailors were killed or wounded. The Riverene Operations were Vietnamized in 1970.The main US Allies during the Vietnam War were South Vietnam, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, and New Zealand. The Allied soldiers enjoyed Zippos too.

For Military collectors the Vietnam War regifts a varied and popular category of memorabilia as well as for the Zippo lighter fans. There are Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard Vietnam Zippo lighters, as well as Zippo lighters for the RVN, Australian and other services. "Brown-Water" Navy Zippo lighters are from a subset of the Vietnam War Navy Zippo category called " Riverine"or the so called "Brown-Water" Navy Zippo lighter.

There are several different types of engravings which are not mutually exclusive to the Vietnam era. Some Zippos are factory engraved: engraved "in Field" during the war: some were engraved by Veterans after the war as personal souvenirs: some Zippo lighters were engraved at a more recent times to be sold as "in-field" Vietnam Zippo lighters to unsuspecting collectors. There are also fakes that closely resemble genuine Zippo lighters that collectors should watch out for.

Article Source: http://Education.50806.com/

Author By Chris Sivley

Orignal From: Zippo - More Than a Lighter in Vietnam

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