Original U.S. Vietnam War Zippo Lighter Engraved - U.S.S. Wasp CVS 18
Original Item: Lighters could be customized with regimental cyphers and engravings, and were purchased by GIs returning home as a memento of their military service in the specific theater of operation.
This lighter is a genuine ZIPPO brand windproof lighter, made in Bradford, PA. It has been engraved with a small set of Naval Aviator wings, as well as the name and likeness of the Aircraft Carrier, U.S.S. Wasp CVS-18. The Wasp was originally launched as CV-18 in 1943, and saw extensive service in World War II as part of the Pacific Fleet. After the war, the ship went through two extensive refits, one in 1952 to become CVA-18, and another later in 1956 to become CVS-18. These upgrades were to make the ship able to carry Jet-propelled fighters, as opposed to the propeller-driven fighters used during World War II. As this lighter has the later marking, that indicates post 1956 production, most likely during the 60s.
The U.S.S. Wasp had a long career, even serving as the recovery ship for five of the Gemini space missions, before she was struck from the Naval records in 1972 and scrapped.
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