An American Classic

Pearl Harbor, the Yalu River in Korea, the jungles of Vietnam, the Iraqi desert, and the skies above Kosovo - the Zippo lighter has been on every American battlefield since World War II. It has embodied the American GI's one durable connection to the "real world" back home.
Zippos have made smoke breaks possible under the most severe combat and weather conditions, but the lighter also has found use as a signaling device, food warmer, leech remover, and in less noble employment, torching huts or lighting hash pipes. In spite of the fact that its primary use always has been to light now-shameful cigarettes, the Zippo is as much a part of American military lore as the M-1 Garand, the dog tag, or the flak jacket.

This prized possession, invented by a 36-year-old oil-company-manager-turned -inventor, continues to be a part of many servicememembers' lives.

Excerpt from The Retired Officer , March, 2000.