Lost Zippo

Hot Dang - another silly Donut Dolly game!

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.

Email Emily

Hi Emily,
I'm a non veteran who is woefully ignorant about Vietnam and the military in general, but I recently became interested in Zippo lighters that were engraved and carried by soldiers who served there. I consider them to be art, and important historical artifacts. I recently came across one on ebay, which is one of the best I've seen. It is from a soldier who was in the 9th infantry, 3rd brigade, stationed at Dong Tam. Knowing absolutely nothing about such things, I decided to search the net for info. I've learned a lot about the 9th infantry, and that's also how I stumbled upon your website. I'm in the process of reading your writings now, and am enjoying it. The lighter has an "SS" insignia on it, and I was wondering if that stood for special services. I thought you might know. I'm attaching a photo. In any case, I've enjoyed the research the lighter has led me to, and I like your website very much.

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.

Hi Guys,
It's time to play another Donut Dollie game. I received the email below and don't know the answer. I am sure the "SS" did not stand for "Special Services" because I shared my hooch with the Special Services ladies who ran the club in Dong Tam and I am quite sure that none of them spent any time in Cambodia. He is probably thinking "Special Forces" which would not have the "SS" initials.   So --------- your job, if you choose to accept it, is to tell me what the "SS" stands for. You get boucoup extra points if you personally knew the owner of the lighter.
Thank you ever so much,
Your Donut Dollie,

Not 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.

I don't 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.

I am also checking on the lighter for you.
I am in contact with Robert X9eralpha@aol.com the 6/31 right now.
By the way who has the lighter and if we find Hall will that person return it to him????
God Bless

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.

Secret Service?
Guess it wouldn't be too secret would it?

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 the exercise.
The lighter looks as if it may be commemorating the action. Perhaps it was given to Lt. Hall by his men? Perhaps it was a self indulgence. There are 2 CW Halls on The Wall, neither of which was a lieutenant, so there's a chance that CW Hall is still around. Perhaps more information could be obtained through the 9th infantry division web site: http://www.oldreliable.org.
Hope this helps

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"

Hi Emily,
Thanks for all the help in finding out about the lighter.
It's great hearing from so many people who were in the area at the time. I did buy the lighter, along with two others that were included in the auction, but they haven't arrived yet. It will probably take a week or so.
It's possible that the "SS" may not have anything to do with Vietnam at all, maybe the owner had the lighter before he went over there. Also, one person told me that the lighter may be a fake. He claims that there are very few Vietnam lighters left, and that people are creating reproductions to sell. I would be interested in hearing from your friends as to whether it looks like a fake. In the event it is real and we actually found the owner or his family, I would be glad to return it to them, if they wanted it. It would be exciting if the owner hadn't seen it in years, and was able to get it back.
Please thank everyone involved and send along more replies if you get
them. It's been a fun process. :-)

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:

"I am also checking on the lighter for you.
I am in contact with Robert X9eralpha@aol.com the 6/31 right now.
By the way who has the lighter and if we find Hall will that person return it to him????"

So I was very glad that I could forward your email saying that you would.

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.
Please keep us posted if any thing comes out of this. Would be comforting in some way to know the results.

hey Emily
im more interested in the insignia above platoon leader could be brown water navy.......i have seen something similar....on one of the guys from kokomo.... most of them are brown water navy....... just thought add to the confusion, is interesting i will try to contact couple guys i know who were in dong tam.......

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.

Email Emily


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