This is truly an amazing story that was sent to me by John. I served with John Jones in 513 from 1969-1970. He recently sent me this story which I will share with you. It was written originally by Debi Hybert of the DSCC Public Affairs Office which was the place where John works.
John J. Jones, an equipment specialist in the Operations Support and Testing Group, found a piece of history while online at eBay, and may have a newfound appreciation for modern technology.
Upon the suggestion of a friend, Russell Parker. DSIO, Jones went online to eBay where he found something that couldn't have surprised him more. As his Web browser slowly opened the page, Jones saw for the first time something he hadn't seen for 34 years --- a personally engraved Zippo lighter he purchased while serving his country in Vietnam.
Staring at the lighter on eBay that bore his initials, Jones recalled his day in the Navy.
From 1969 to 1970, he was serving the River Patrol Division 513. Jones and his comrades took a liking to Zippo lighters and knew of place they could buy them and get them engraved. They walked in a small village shop in Vietnam and each picked out their lighter that had the unit patch on them and had them engraved. Jones's lighter read "John J. Jones Viet Nam PBR 691 69-70."
"I did not even remember that I did that." Jones said. "You forget things, you know?"
If it weren't for modern technology and the ability to do business overseas, Jones may never have seen his lighter again or had the chance to enjoy the memories it bought with it.
"It's a good way to show how technology has improved over the years. Now I will pass this down to my kids." Jones said.
Luckily for him, someone in Vietnam found the lighter, saw it as a treasure and didn't throw it away. Since that time, it has passed through a few hands.
An Australian man was auctioning off the lighter, and Jones' lighter wasn't the only one the man was selling. He has sold many over his lifetime, and was able to track the purchase of Jones' lighter back to a former South Vietnamese soldier in Bien Hoa, just outside Saigon.
Because Jones' friend first saw the lighter, he was bidding on it. When he found out that it truly was Jones', the friend decided to keep bidding and Jones said he would pay his friend whatever it costs.
Although the seller was later informed that his merchandise once belonged to Jones, they still had to pay. Since, "It was such a bad year with hi9s auction," the man said, Jones ended up paying once again for something that was his years ago.
As for Jones, he said he's just happy to have the lighter back home. "When I first saw it I was just stunned, just amazed!" Jones said. "Now it will be in our family forever."
1 2 3 4 5
1 Photo of John's lighter
2 Photo of John's lighter
3 Photo of John J. Jones from my photos (Steve Bingham)
4 Photo of John J. Jones from my photos (Steve Bingham)
5 A recent photo of John with his lighter.