One man’s War Trophies from Vietnam


By Luis Valdes

The Vietnam War was the last major US Conflict were American Soldiers, Sailors, Marine, Coast Guardsmen , and Airmen could bring back weapons as war souvenirs and trophies as mementos of their exploits in far away lands while under danger of enemy action.

Today, we’re going to look at one such collection by one man that served the US during the war. These are the words and pictures of Mr. Glenn Grady.

“It was May 1970 and I took part of the US invasion of Cambodia. I was a Combat Engineer with the 25th Inf Div. During the war; an Infantry unit found a series of enemy bunkers and we were called in to secure and clear them out. We found lots of gear and stuff. I gathered up about 1/2 a duffel bag full, including a rifle and a pistol.”

“With some luck, a buddy of mine in the mess hall came by and said he was going back to Tay Ninh base camp, I handed him the bag and told him to hide it under my bunk.” 

“He did, it was there a few weeks later when we came in. So I sent it home.”

First and foremost, I want to say to Mr. Grady. Thank you for your service and putting yourself in harms way. While that war for many Americans is ancient history. For you it sure isn’t. Thank you for your service and thank you for sharing a brief snapshot of your time there.

The guns that Mr. Grady brought back are a Chinese Type 56 Carbine in 7.62x39mm and TT-33 pattern pistol in 7.62x25mm Tokarev. Along with the firearms, Mr. Grady brought back a NVA (People’s Army of Vietnam) Pith Helmet and an officer’s Sam Brown Belt and Holster along with other mementos like Charlie Brand Flip Flops, a Field made Knife, a NVA Flag, and a NVA Mess Kit.


  1. War trophies should be allowed to be brought back. Those that do not comport with civilian ownership should be allowed to be dewat and brought back

    • Meh. Our country sent them out there to get shot at by people with those devices. Why shouldn’t they be able to bring them back intact?

  2. Federal law allows them to Bring Back, non-NFA firearms, using DD Form 603. The military ignores it, and “orders” that it is not allowed. As it violates federal statutory law, it is an “illegal order”, but it would likely take a lawsuit to get to that point.

    Personally, I think short of fragmentation weapons or chemical munitions (simply for matters of safety), any issue item taken off a dead enemy in the field should be allowed for the soldier to claim and take, unless it has a legitimate higher need for the services, like intelligence value. Simply blowing up captured AK’s is not intelligence. I laugh though, as my best WWII trophies were stolen from US military weapon destruction facilities in Germany in 1945, hand picked you might say.


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