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Mortar Thoughts

Many years ago one of the fellows I worked with was a retired air force veteran who spent some time in Vietnam. He knew that I collected military medals and gave me a mortar round which was made in 1943. He said WWII items like this were still being used in Vietnam! Think of that for a moment, if WWII munitions were still being used 25 years later after all the fighting during the last two years of WWII, the Korean war and in Vietnam until then, the American production capacity must have been huge and the quality must have been exceptionally high! It makes me wonder what the cost of production for one of these might have been. Even though this round is totally empty without any explosives remaining it could still be dangerous if it falls off a shelf and on one's head or foot. My only remaining question is how does something like this get out into the civilian world legally? Was it declared surplus due to age or did it just stray?