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A Veteran’s Story

Dear Colonel Littleton, 

    My Number 37 Satchel arrived today and all I can say is “wow”. It is even more beautiful in person than its picture, if that is even possible. It is extremely well designed both aesthetically and functionally. I can see that a lot of thought has gone into it.

     I must say that it  brings back many memories of my service in the Air Force in the 1960’s. I was a First Lieutenant back then and was trained to lead a special intelligence unit. That involved about six months of classified training and then I was sent overseas to Clark Air Base in the Philippines which was a staging area for Vietnam. During my tour in the Philippines, I was transferred for a short tour to Vietnam, not far from the demarcation line that separates the south from the north. My job involved only working at night out of specialized vans. That is what I was brought over for. It was work that I will forever be proud of; working with some incredibly hard working dedicated men.

    I had a satchel that I borrowed from a navigator friend of mine that was remarkably similar to yours – I would say vintage WWll. The leather and design were not as nice as yours; still it was very functional and that’s what counted most. I remember its looks just like it was yesterday. That satchel and I spent a lot of time together. Even now in my mind’s eye, over 45 years later, I can see every scratch and beauty mark both on it and in it.

     In my unit everybody had security clearances up through and including access to top secret documents. In fact they were the ones who created those documents or provided the input for their creation; but due to the nature of my job and responsibilities, my clearance went one level beyond that.

    The problem was that I couldn’t leave those higher classified documents out in the open, even though the area itself was secure. What I used was the satchel that I’ve mentioned which was almost EXACTLY like Satchel #37, but with different front pockets, that kept those papers  secure and not visible by anyone passing by my desk. That bag never left my side. And I mean NEVER, while I was working, and then it was locked up at the end of my shift until I returned the next day.

    That was a long time ago. My friend transferred out of Vietnam before I did, so I never returned that bag to him. I was tempted to take it with me to my next assignment at the Strategic Air Command (SAC) Headquarters in Omaha Nebraska but I figured that the fellow replacing me could make better use of it right then and there than I could, and I gave it to him.

    I am sure that the satchel is probably still providing good service to someone, at least I like to think that it is. Since owning that bag I have had a great love and respect for leather cases and over the years have owned many very nice ones, but nothing like that old military satchel until now.

    Colonel, I thought you might enjoy hearing about how bags very similar to yours were used in the military and the impact they had for some guys like myself.  I’m sure there are similar stories from other men and women who have served in the military.  Thank you so much for doing what you do. My warmest regards to you and those who work with you to produce these wonderful products. I work now in the corporate world and although I no longer have top secret documents, I do carry reports and such that in my world are confidential and Satchel Number 37 will be put to good use.

Sincerely,

Richard