I received an e-mail from an old friend from Port Isabel, TX. It brought back memories. I smoked for a short time (I still have an occasional hand rolled cigar); the year I was in Vietnam. For those who have never experienced combat, suffice to say that combat is long periods of boredom interrupted by short periods of intense excitement. Smoking was one way to break up the boredom; cigarettes were readily available as they came packaged in C-Rations and larger supply items (name of the supply package I cannot recall).
I too preferred the trusty Zippo lighter. The Zippo never failed to light as long as flints and fuel were properly maintained. The Zippo would light in the rainy season (monsoon), the dry season, in wind; it worked well under the harshest of conditions. I used the Zippo to light cigarettes, occasional cigars and even a pipe for a short time (until I decided the pipe was more trouble than it was worth).
I do not recall how I came to have my Zippo lighter, but do recall that I had it engraved at the R&R Center PX, China Beach (just outside DaNang), South Vietnam.
I enjoyed reading the e-mail and some of the inscription. My favorite of the attached inscriptions found in that e-mail is:
“If you think sex is exciting, try incoming”
The Zippo lighted small amounts of C-4 plastic explosive used to warn cans of C-Rations, make instant coffee/hot chocolate, etc. C-4 burned very hot but would not explode without being confined or triggered by a blasting cap. My MOS of 0351 included “demolition” so we carried C-4 as part of our personal compliment of weapons and supplies. I used the Zippo to light fuses when setting off detonations; I would split the fuse exposing the powder charge and light off the powder. I was never without the Zippo.
Meanwhile, my trusty Zippo now resides is a shadow box, long forgotten.