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On one of Louis' trips, he sought out what remained of Phouc Hang's shop, the one generally known as "Cheap Charlie's".

 

The family had departed Vietnam at the end of the war and settled in Taiwan.

 

Of course, there was nothing left of the original shop. There were no patches still stuck on a display board, nor hidden under a counter or in a back room.

 

However, oddly, Louis did encounter a vendor who was occupying (or squatting) in the space who had a random handful of military insignia. None of it had been made by the previous owner.

 

Louis bought what he had, and later claimed to have made the last insignia deal in Phuoc Hang's shop!

 

(To those with an over active imagination, those are not patches on the board out front... they are sunglasses!)

 

I have another version of this photo of Louis and George Petersen standing in front of this building.

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Oh Bob... these were the good old days, were they not?

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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I am not sure what this was doing in Vietnam, other than the fact it may have been made there... a mug commemorating service in the USAAF 8th Air Force during WWII.

 

 

My guess is that this was being made for an older USAF officer (serving in VN) who had 8th AF service in WWII. They seem to have been popular as presentation gifts too, so who knows.

 

On another note...this thread cannot end now. :)

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*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Those double buckles were the early Okinawa boot.US made for runner of the jungle boot.

 

Thanks Ron. I wasn't sure if they were French or a WWII US pattern.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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I had my own stash of Louis photos which I'd posted on a couple of the Facebook VN collecting pages earlier this year. He still pops up now and again on Facebook. There were a number of knowledgeable collectors in Hong Kong at the time although Louis was the only one to import/export militaria on a wholesale level as far as I know. Getting all that stuff into his shop was no small feat. It wasn't the biggest shop and it was so, so cluttered with stuff all over the place, but I sort of liked that as well, much like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates! I also remember his shop was under the flight path to the famous (or infamous!) Kai Tak airport where the big airliners would come in so low over the buildings you'd swear anyone on those roofs could reach out and touch them .. and the noise!!!

 

Louis wasn't the only one to profit from the US embargo on Vietnam at the time. During that period a local gun dealer has gone in and acquired a quantity of Vietnam era shotguns from the storehouses there and were selling them in Australian gun magazines. You could virtually get yourself an instant Vietnam shotgun collection with Stevens 77Es, Ithaca 37s, Remington 870 Mk.1s and a couple of others which escape my memory. Alas, all of those are illegal here now thanks to our stupid leaders and their retarded gun laws.

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from what i know from the local dealers, the japanese collectors bought the most out of Vietnam, the good stuff was reserved for them, i saw bundles of uniforms reserved for them i had no chance.

 

looking for Vietnamese CSDC/NPFF wartime color slides to finish a publication

looking for Khmer FANK militaria


 

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Hard to believe all of the available items back then. I did not expect that much to have survived. My family members on both sides burned everything besides a few photos from their time in the military. You could've gotten into a lot of trouble if you were found with such items

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Thanks to everyone for their comments and added details. Looking back on it, this was quite the unlikely story. The more I look at these photos and read the comments here, the more I remember.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Gil there are many Vietnamese today that buy from me and these items end up in the War Mart as "just found"

 

That doesn't surprise me in the least. That's an example of coming full circle... 20 years ago we were doing our best to get things OUT of Vietnam. LOL!

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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My guess is that this was being made for an older USAF officer (serving in VN) who had 8th AF service in WWII. They seem to have been popular as presentation gifts too, so who knows.

 

On another note...this thread cannot end now. :)

 

Officer or enlisted, but either way, that would be my guess as well. Or someone had it made up to take home to their favorite Uncle Joe who was always telling war stories. Either way, it just seemed out of place and out of time.

 

We've had over 3,000 views on this thread! I will see if I have anything else worth posting, and perhaps do a Part II. We'll have to see if anyone else can come up with their photos as well.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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I had my own stash of Louis photos which I'd posted on a couple of the Facebook VN collecting pages earlier this year. He still pops up now and again on Facebook. There were a number of knowledgeable collectors in Hong Kong at the time although Louis was the only one to import/export militaria on a wholesale level as far as I know. Getting all that stuff into his shop was no small feat. It wasn't the biggest shop and it was so, so cluttered with stuff all over the place, but I sort of liked that as well, much like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates! I also remember his shop was under the flight path to the famous (or infamous!) Kai Tak airport where the big airliners would come in so low over the buildings you'd swear anyone on those roofs could reach out and touch them .. and the noise!!!

 

Louis wasn't the only one to profit from the US embargo on Vietnam at the time. During that period a local gun dealer has gone in and acquired a quantity of Vietnam era shotguns from the storehouses there and were selling them in Australian gun magazines. You could virtually get yourself an instant Vietnam shotgun collection with Stevens 77Es, Ithaca 37s, Remington 870 Mk.1s and a couple of others which escape my memory. Alas, all of those are illegal here now thanks to our stupid leaders and their retarded gun laws.

 

Feel free to add your photos to this thread, or start a new one. And yes, I see him on Facebook as well.

 

The collectors in Hong Kong were part of the problem... Louis had to always bring something home to them as well as supplying those of us in the US and elsewhere. The frustrating part was that by the time these photos arrived, at least half of the merchandise had been promised elsewhere.

 

Your description of his shop was quite accurate. I was actually on a university study tour of Asian businesses when went over there. I landed at Kai Tak. The planes not only flew low over buildings, they flew BETWEEN them! I still have nightmares about our night approach. I looked out the side window of my plane directly into lit offices and could plainly see people working at their desks.

 

When we had some off time, I grabbed the English language Yellow Pages and looked for Army Navy stores, or Surplus, or something like that. I had no idea I'd actually find one. I can't remember how I actually got down there, but I must have spent about 3 hours poking around. I brought back a nice jungle jacket with a 1st AVN Bde patch on it and carried it for the rest of my study tour and back to the states.

 

Aside from the shotguns (great story) there were other Australians who were busily exporting war material from Vietnam. I thought I had once read of an Aussie who managed to get a Skyraider out, and restored to flying condition. I know I read about another individual who filled a ship with 3/4 ton trucks, jeeps and generators and brought them to the US. They were immediately seized by US Customs "to be held for the legitimate government of South Vietnam" even though it was years after the war. As they were never claimed, they eventually became gunnery targets at one of the USMC bases in California. The same gentleman had another ship enroute to the US, but was able to divert it to South America where he sold his goods without issue.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Gil

It is really amazing at the bulk of things there that longafter the war.

 

As metnioned earlier I would have thought with the incoming government much would have been destroyed.

 

If this was left in Viet Nam can you imagine what still exists in storage in other countries and th US?

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from what i know from the local dealers, the japanese collectors bought the most out of Vietnam, the good stuff was reserved for them, i saw bundles of uniforms reserved for them i had no chance.

 

My friend Louis also sold to the Japanese, and worked closely with at least one of the well known dealers there. I am sure it was a mutually beneficial relationship that opened doors in both Japan and Vietnam.

 

I ran into the same issue in Hawaii. I was working with a lady at one of the local swap meets, and had set aside a number of flight coveralls I intended to buy. A Japanese customer walked up like he owned the whole island and started grabbing away at the stuff I had piled up. Surprised the daylights out of both him and he Seller when I just happened to know the impolite words in Japanese for "Back Off". Needless to say, I went home with the stuff I had selected. I didn't bother to tell him I had just come from a six month study tour near Fujinomiya!

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Hard to believe all of the available items back then. I did not expect that much to have survived. My family members on both sides burned everything besides a few photos from their time in the military. You could've gotten into a lot of trouble if you were found with such items

 

It is interesting that you say that.

 

I think the only reason that this was tolerated was that the authorities knew that most of it was going to be sold to foreigners for hard cash. I doubt that very few Vietnamese were buying these items to keep.

 

Many people apparently did not even keep the photos. As I mentioned there were a lot of personal photos of South Vietnamese troops available. But there were also a lot of NVA photos that could be purchased as well. Some of these were duplicates from photo studios, but others apparently came from albums.

 

I was even told that the NLF flag (Red and Blue) was officially discouraged after a point, in that it was counter to the government's efforts to unify the country. But they were readily available for tourists to buy.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Gil

It is really amazing at the bulk of things there that longafter the war.

 

As metnioned earlier I would have thought with the incoming government much would have been destroyed.

 

If this was left in Viet Nam can you imagine what still exists in storage in other countries and th US?

 

Ron, I remember in the 1990's there was suddenly a glut of mint NOS ripstop jungle fatigue trousers that were everywhere you looked. The only catch was that they were Extra Small Short. That was fine with me, because I shipped every pair I could get to Hong Kong and Japan. President Clinton had ordered that the military make an effort to clear out its surplus stocks so the goods could be sold to finance the government. The rumor was all these had come from a storage bunker that was full of them.

 

The same thing also happened around that time with mint Vietnam era Beta Jungle Boots that appeared out of nowhere... again, mostly in smaller sizes, but some of them up to size 10. There was even a sporting goods catalog that had them as a listed item for about 6 months.

 

As time goes on, stock from the Vietnam era is less likely to hit the streets like that again, but who knows what we will suddenly see from later conflicts.

 

As far as destroying these items... the government in Vietnam seemed to be more pragmatic about it. I've had photos showing where they took ARVN style Tiger Stripe cloth and cut it into NVA style jackets. Supposedly these were used by militia units. Why waste something that is perfectly good when your country is impoverished and recovering from decades of war?

 

A lot of ARVN clothing was apparently converted to civilian use as well. Louis told the story of chasing down a kid on a moped who was wearing a Tiger Stripe shirt. It turned out that it had been his brother's when he had been in the Army. The kid had no problem taking $20 for it.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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A lot of ARVN clothing was apparently converted to civilian use as well. Louis told the story of chasing down a kid on a moped who was wearing a Tiger Stripe shirt. It turned out that it had been his brother's when he had been in the Army. The kid had no problem taking $20 for it.

 

I have that photo of the kid wearing the tiger stripe shirt standing next to his scooter.

www.vintageproductions.com


"A militaria show is a social event for anti-socials" - A.T. 2008


ASMIC Executive President

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Great information and pics. In addition to the Okinawa jungle boots I believe there are also early tropical jungle boots (1st or 2nd pattern?) without the ankle supports. What are the other mesh looking boots? I've heard of the "Delta" shoes; are those "Delta" boots?

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When we had some off time, I grabbed the English language Yellow Pages and looked for Army Navy stores, or Surplus, or something like that. I had no idea I'd actually find one. I can't remember how I actually got down there, but I must have spent about 3 hours poking around. I brought back a nice jungle jacket with a 1st AVN Bde patch on it and carried it for the rest of my study tour and back to the states.

 

I happened to find a toy shop which also sold some airsoft guns (back then they were just starting to take off) and replica military insignia - somehow I managed to communicate to the owner where I could find more of these and he told me about 'Soldier Services', a tiny shop in a shopping centre in the upper reaches of Nathan Road in Kowloon, the proverbial needle in the haystack! At the time (1985) they would have been the closest competitor to Louis. I got friendly with one of its owners, Pippi Ip, and learnt a lot from both them and the Japanese militaria magazines, 'Combat', 'Arms' and 'PX' which were available at the airsoft shops there. I met Kent Spalding of K & S books in there one day and he showed me the camo uniforms he had bought on a buying trip to Thailand - back in the days of the fabled military markets on the Northern Thai border. I have a few pics of that shop as well somewhere ... ahhh, those were the days ...

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Gil,thank you very much for the story and the great pictures.OH those gooood old days when huge amount of stuff was still available at reasonable prices :)

Same thing happened here in Italy and I guess in the rest of Europe after ww2 .

Maybe the only difference is that while in VN something still could show up in good quantities,here in Italy it is almost impossible anymore :mellow:

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Gil,thank you very much for the story and the great pictures.OH those gooood old days when huge amount of stuff was still available at reasonable prices :)

Same thing happened here in Italy and I guess in the rest of Europe after ww2 .

Maybe the only difference is that while in VN something still could show up in good quantities,here in Italy it is almost impossible anymore :mellow:

Thank you for your comment. I doubt things will show up in VN in quantities, but things might show up one at a time. I think most of it is either gone, converted to civilian use, or removed from the country.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Louis wasn't the only one to profit from the US embargo on Vietnam at the time. During that period a local gun dealer has gone in and acquired a quantity of Vietnam era shotguns from the storehouses there and were selling them in Australian gun magazines. You could virtually get yourself an instant Vietnam shotgun collection with Stevens 77Es, Ithaca 37s, Remington 870 Mk.1s and a couple of others which escape my memory.

Found the advert for it.

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