Thursday, April 17, 2003

Decks of cards have history


Tristate reacts to war

Many Tristate residents have asked, but the decks of cards being used to spot bad guys in Iraq were not made by Cincinnati-based United States Playing Card Co.

However, there was ample reason to think so, said George White, the company's vice president of marketing.

The decks - about 1,000 of which were made by the Defense Department - use the company's Hoyle-brand Joker image. They also show Saddam Hussein as the Ace of Spades, which may remind war buffs of other Ace of Spades decks that were made by the company.

U.S. Playing Card has been making cards for the military for nearly a century, White said.

Remember those Vietnam-era images of soldiers tucking the Ace of Spades in their helmets? U.S. Playing Card made entire decks of the aces because they were believed to inspire fear among enemy fighters. Similar decks were reissued in Operation Desert Shield, but more as a tradition than as a psy-ops weapon, White said.




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