Souvenirs and Memorabilia

We were limited on what we were allowed to bring home from the war with us. Mostly we were limited to legal items that we could carry or fit inside of our duffle bags. However, some of the larger legal items could be packaged and shipped to our home addresses. All contents shipped or carry-on were inspected by a military officer or customs agent before departing the country. Many things were prohibited back then, just as they are today, such as drugs or explosives, Vietnamese historical or religious artifacts, and stuff like that. Even certain types of photographs were prohibited. An agent flipped through my photo album to inspect every picture. My human skull photograph that I described in my book as “headlight” was questioned as borderline legal. The agent said that it might be considered as “war dead” but he was going to let let it go through. Shown below are photos of some of the items that I collected during my time in the Army.

Engraved Zippo Lighter (serious side)
I was serious about this side too!

I still have the original Zippo box!

Fatigues Uniforms

Fatigue uniform name tag that would be sewn on above the right shirt pocket

Stateside fatigue shirt worn during basic and AIT training

My very well worn and faded Jungle fatigues shirt showing split open and frayed collar. Jungle fatigues had a short life expectancy also. Notice my name tag above one pocket and my CIB above the other pocket. Sewn on the left shoulder is the First Field Force (IFFV) shoulder insignia.

Jungle fatigues pants. Wish I still had that slim waist!

Camo Jungle fatigues shirt that I picked up somewhere in Vietnam, just because I thought it was cool, but I never wore it over there.

Somehow the jungle had a way of wearing the spit shine off of my old jungle boots. I used a similar picture of these same boots when I designed the Rucksack Grunt book cover.

I also used a picture of this poncho liner when designing the Rucksack Grunt book cover.


The two metal dog tags that we wore 24/7 were imprinted /stamped with Name, Service number, Blood type, and Religion. For safety reasons, I added the plastic sleeve to one of them to silence the unwanted metal rattling sound that they made when clinking together.

Trouser belt. Of course the buckle was brasso shined at one time. I believe our “in-country” belt buckles were black. Nothing we wore was shiny.

Hat that was worn with the khaki uniform when in transit to or from Vietnam

PFC rank patches, spare name tag and spare belt buckle.

Misc. badges, ribbons, etc. that could be displayed on the khaki uniform shirts while in transit to or from Vietnam.

I picked up this souvenir metal necklace somewhere in Vietnam. Believe it or not, FTA doesn’t stand for Future Teachers of America! Ha! Think F The Army. The “War is Hell” slogan meaning is obvious, but I don’t remember the “Why Not” slogan. Must have been something like the “Don’t Mean Nothing” phrase that was often used by the GI’s.

I don’t remember where I picked up this sew on cloth patch or anything about it.

Vietnamese hand made beaded peace necklace souvenir that I never wore but thought it looked cool at the time. Kind of protester hippie-ish!

I bought a Vietnamese made jacket that is made out of poncho liner material

On the back of the jacket: When I die I’ll go to heaven because I’ve spent my time in hell. Tuy Hoa, 71-72, Vietnam. To this day, I’ve never worn the jacket.

And of course I shouldn’t leave out my most appreciated souvenirs and memorabilia of all:

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