I received an interesting email along with a picture of a lighter. It was just one of those things that made me want to know more, so I forwarded the email to friends who served with the 9th ID. Below are the exchanged emails. So far, the mystery has not been solved, so I thought it would be a fun game for you to play. If you have any facts to add, please email me.
What an interesting hobby and I'm glad that you have learned a lot about the 9th Infantry Division. They were a great group of guys. I agree that the lighters are art and important historical artifacts. Regarding the "SS," I am quite sure it does not stand for Special Services, which was a group attached to the Army. They were mostly women who ran Special Services clubs at base camps and, like Donut Dollies, were responsible for keeping up the morale of the troops. In Dong Tam, the Donut Dollies and Special Services girls shared a hooch. I can assure you than non of them ever went to Cambodia. I am guessing that you were thinking Special Forces, but their initials would not be "SS."
Since I am unable to
answer your question, I forwarded your question to several of the guys I knew in
Nam in hopes that they can answer the question. I told them it was just another
Donut Dollie game. To protect your privacy, I did not send your email address.
If one of them has the answer, I will let you know.
sure but 6th of the 31st Polar Bears. Operated & trained out of Bearcat
before we moved to Dong Tam. This group were pretty tough & took a lot of
KIA's & WIA's. They see SS, I see 4 hooks with 2 hooks interlocking. I won't
be much help but let us know. I like this game.
have the faintest idea who this person is! But, you can tell a lot about him
from the lighter and what we know about being there. He was a lieutenant. The
spacing on the bottom indicates that each of the places was put there at a
different time. We all know that during the time that the 9th was in Vietnam the
US never officially went into Cambodia. I remember that D 3/5 went into Cambodia
for a few days, but for the life of me I can't remember much about it. He could
have had the same kind of entry and exit.
also checking on the lighter for you.
I was just told
Saturday that one of my brothers daughters was trying to get a hold of a friend
that was assigned to a ship. The SS Black Pen. Don't know if it has anything to do
with this but the fact that it also says Mekong River thought I would throw it
in the circle. Good Luck with the research.
Emily, I do think
that there was a security services but not in the Polar Bears. I think it was a
special attachment to the 9th.
The Plain of Reeds is an area that we spent beaucoup time in. It was west of Saigon near the part of Cambodia known as Parrot's Beak. That's the part of Cambodia that points at Saigon like a crooked finger. Absolutely horrid place to try and maneuver in during the rainy season. Often spent days walking (swimming) around in waist deep water. Great place to work on enhancing your ringworm and Immersion Foot.
When the US finally
invaded Cambodia in May of '70, Alpha Co. 2/60th was one of the first across
the border in that area and got hit pretty hard -- 60% casualties. 1st platoon
(my platoon) was overrun and decimated. I was already gone by then having been
wounded in November of '69. The 6/31st (unit on the lighter) also took part in
I don't know what
the SS means unless it same stuff , Chevy had a Super Sport, line of muscle
cars. I'm guessing that might be it.
Haven't figured out
what the "SS" stands for but will do some research. As you can see on
the lighter LT Hall has engraved Cambodia on it, so I'll assume he was with the
6/31st during May - June 1970 for our legal trip across the border under the
fine leadership of Mr. Richard Mulehead Nixon. That being a starting point I
will contact 6/31st vets from that era to see if they can help us determine the
meaning of "SS"
This was a very nice
note and I forwarded it to everyone. It is truly in the spirit of kindness that
you have offered to return it if the owner is found. Actually, I received an
email which I did not forward to you:
Wasn't in country
during the zippo year, I came after. Have forwarded message to a couple of
others with 9th 5th/60th inf. during that period of time, most of us being from
Rach Kien, Tan An, and Binh Phuoc area.
There is a good
chance you are right about it being brown water navy since he lists "Mekong
River." Please let me know if you find out any more.
So now it is your turn to play.
The "SS" may just be part of the original lighter before the engraving. But wouldn't it be wonderful to find Lt. Hall! If you have any knowledge or insight, please let me know.