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Interesting Presentation Lighter from Engineer General


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#1 VMI88

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 01:41 PM

I picked this Korean-made Arirong lighter up today because I liked the in-country engraving, but when I researched the name I got a surprise.

 

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On May 12, 1970, a U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H (tail number 68-16342) from the 937th Engineer Group was hit by enemy fire and crashed into rough terrain in the Central Highlands, 10 miles southwest of Pleiku and 220 miles northwest of Saigon. The aircraft was brought down by an enemy .51 caliber anti-aircraft gun while COL Carroll E. Adams Jr., commander of the 937th Engineer Group, was giving an aerial tour to MGEN John A.B. Dillard, head of the United States Army Engineer Command in South Vietnam. Both MGEN Dillard and COL Adams, plus eight other Americans were killed in the incident. The lost crew included aircraft commander CW3 Glenn A. Adams, pilot COL Adams Jr. (posthumously promoted to brigadier general), pilot CAPT Raymond R. Dulak Jr., crew chief SP5 Steven R. Renner, and gunner SP4 James H. Rawson. The five lost passengers included MG Dillard, LTC Fred V. Cole, CAPT William D. Booth, 1LT Kenneth F. Rogers, and CSM Griffith A. Jones. A sixth passenger, SMAJ Robert W. Elkey, was the only survivor and was seriously injured. [Taken from vhpa.org, arlingtoncemetery.net, wikipedia.org, and coffeltdatabase.org]

To make the lighter even more significant to me, MG Dillard was a 1942 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute.  He was one of only five US Army general officers killed in Vietnam.  This tragic event took place two years after this lighter was presented.

 

I'm assuming that the lighter was presented BY MG Dillard, not TO him.  It seems like presentation lighters were more common in the 1960s than the coins you see so often today.


Edited by VMI88, 05 January 2020 - 01:45 PM.


#2 VMI88

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 01:43 PM

More views of the lighter showing the maker's mark and the insert.

 

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  • IMG_2049.JPG
  • IMG_2050.JPG


#3 River Patrol

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 01:56 PM

Very interesting history associated with this lighter....glad you got it!!



#4 VMI88

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:08 PM

Here's a photo of the general from a memorial page on the internet.

 

 

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  • MG John A. B. Dillard, VMI '42.jpg


#5 CNY Militaria

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 01:12 AM

Interesting lighter. I used to own a large portion of his group, uniforms, flags, etc. Another forum member has his medals.

#6 VMI88

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 05:32 AM

Thanks for the information - I'd love to see photos of the group or medals if you still have them.



#7 CNY Militaria

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 01:15 PM

Here was the overall group.

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#8 VMI88

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 09:00 AM

Thanks - that's quite an impressive group!  I'm surprised the family let it get away, or at least didn't donate it to the VMI Museum.




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