Ace of Spades

From Academic Kids

For the Motörhead album see Ace of Spades (album)
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Aceofspades.png
An Ace of Spades playing card

In a deck of playing cards, the Ace of Spades is commonly thought of as the highest card in the deck, although the actual value of the card varies from game to game.

The Ace of Spades has been employed, on numerous occasions, in the theatre of war. In the second World War, the American 101st Airborne Army Division were marked with the symbol painted on their helmets. In this capacity, it was used to represent good luck, due to its fortunate connotations in card playing. All four card suits were used for ease of identification of regiments within the airborne division following the confusion of a large scale combat airborne operation. Battalions within the regiments were denoted with tic marks or dots, marked from top clockwise; Headquaters at the twelve o'clock position, 1st Battalion at the three o'clock, et cetera.

Some twenty years later, the Ace of Spades was again used by American soldiers - this time as a psychological weapon in the Vietnam war. Vietnamese ancient traditions held the symbolism of the spade to mean death and ill-fortune. The soldiers were quick to pick this up, and in a bid to scare away Viet Cong soldiers without firefight, it was common practice to litter the forested grounds and fields with the card. This custom was believed to be so effective, that the Bicycle Playing Cards company was asked to supply crates of that single card in bulk. The crates were often marked with 'Bicycle Secret Weapon.'

More recently, in 2003 a deck of Most-wanted Iraqi playing cards issued to US soldiers during Operation Iraqi Freedom; each card had the picture of a wanted Iraqi official on it. Saddam Hussein got the nickname "Ace of Spades" as his was the face which adorned that card.

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