Lost and Found, a 50 year journey

wgtactical

Active member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
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Location
Carrollton, Georgia
Lost and found, more than 50 years later and after 30 plus years of searching. Honored to be one of the steps in this journey. Many of you know that we will be completing the restoration of a Cadillac Gage V100 that served with the 504th in Vietnam, but what very few people knew was that this Zippo was found in the bilge area of the V100 more than 30 years ago at the beginning of the restoration. The gentleman who began this restoration (Kells Hogan) had discovered this lighter in the mid 1980's while tearing the vehicle down for restoration, and sent it back to Zippo to have it rebuilt with instructions to not disturb the case. They told him it was a 1966 manufacture, cleaned it and sent a new internal assembly along with the originals back to him. This was when the search for it's owner officially began, with little measurable progress having been made during this pre-computer age time. Now fast forward to yesterday (01/02/2022) when Don Tillman was located with the help from a gentleman in Florida. After speaking with Don on the phone, who thought I was in search of information relating to the V100 he had operated, he began telling me of duties, armament, maintenance challenges, etc., etc. and said if "I start to bore you just stop me."

A little further into the conversation I asked him if the phrase "war is harmful to children and other living things" meant anything to him. There was a pause in his enthusiasm and he said "oh my, that was on my lighter" in a much more serious tone. I then emailed him these pictures and as he looked at them his voice revealed his emotion as he was seeing an old, lost familiar reflection of his youth. Well I knew I had finally found Don Tillman and will be making arrangements to put his lost property in his hand.

I will try and get some written history and experiences from Don as it relates to his time with this vehicle and will update as information comes available.

Thought I'd share a positive experience that is hopefully one of many to come.



 

ketsueki82

New member
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Location
Ohio
That's just down right heart warming!! Congrats on the "locating" the owner!! Hard to believe that was 50+ years!! A Kuddo's to ZIPPO for taking care of the lighter also!! Most MFG wouldn't give a darn.
That's why I like Zippo products they are really are still a family styled business and you can have them repair any lighter of theirs all the way back to the very first product they made in 1935. I also have a ideal where I prefer local businesses and Zippo is still based in Bradford PA. They would have also replated the lighter case if it was desired but I think it looks better with the patina of wear.

Sent from my SM-A215U using Tapatalk
 

Mullaney

Well-known member
Supporting Vendor
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Charlotte NC
That's why I like Zippo products they are really are still a family styled business and you can have them repair any lighter of theirs all the way back to the very first product they made in 1935. I also have a ideal where I prefer local businesses and Zippo is still based in Bradford PA. They would have also replated the lighter case if it was desired but I think it looks better with the patina of wear.

Sent from my SM-A215U using Tapatalk
.
Simply FANTASTIC... Real customer service @ Zippo for sure!
Being able to find the original owner is a wonderful thing.
 
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