Vietnam War engraved Zippo: Come on baby, light my fire

My dad and his platoon happened upon a VC weapons cache; by ‘happened’ I mean they ambushed a VC convoy. He took a rifle and with the proper paperwork was allowed to take it Stateside when his tour was over. For years I was told that when he died I could do whatever I like with any of his possessions but never ever give away or sell that rifle-a Chinese Type-53 Mosin Nagant, Caliber 7.62, Model 1954. He saved all the paperwork-applications, customs forms, weapons registration, etc., which had nothing to do with nostalgia and more to do with making sure he had everything documented; all his ducks in a row as he liked to say. I promised him I would keep it and I did.

Yet out of everything he held onto from the Vietnam War-letters, papers, photos, gear, etc.-none of it means as much to me as his engraved Zippo.

It’s a 1967 Continue reading

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We held the coastline, they held the highlands

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well we made that CA (combat attack) last night about 4AM they woke us up at 2 and had us get all our stuff together. We made the CA on a fairly good-sized village, it was 2000 meters long. As soon as we landed our company setup a blocking force on the outside so I’ve been sitting all day while the village is being searched. Continue reading

Camp Radcliffe, Vietnam

Vietnam soldier holding coca-cola at Camp Radcliff

Dear Mom & Dad,

Well here I am at Camp Radcliffe (it’s our base camp) near An Khe. It’s been raining almost all the time that I’ve been here. The rain stops as fast as it starts but after a hot day it feels good to have that cold water on you.

I arrived at Bien Hoa on Tuesday at the 90th Replacement. There I stayed for two days then we flew to An Khe to the First Cavalry Replacement where I waited for more orders. It took about 2 days for those orders. I’m in Co. B, 1st Bn, 8th Cavalry, which is part of Continue reading

Bats in the foxhole

Vietnamese villagersDear Dad & Mom,

I don’t know how long this letter will be.  You will hear that in almost every letter I write, but I’ll write as much as I can.

Yesterday we secured a village while the South Vietnam Police went through it. We then made a CA on top of a mountain we set up at the same place that we made the CA. This morning the third platoon came down the mountain (that’s the platoon I’m in) we are now setting up security for the 2nd platoon, which will be coming in on copters from their 24 hours at LZ English. Continue reading