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Army Veteran Says Goodbye to His Coke Bottle

By:  Jordan Baker Jun 5, 2014
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WWII bottle

The WWII Coca-Cola contour at the Coke headquarters in Atlanta, Ga.

In 1942, Dominic Grillo purchased a Coca-Cola bottle while serving in the United States Military at the Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan. Today, that bottle has remained unopened.

“It’s still pretty full!” said Grillo, 91. The classic Coca-Cola bottle sat for years in perfect condition in the kitchen cabinet; with no scratch in sight.

Dominic Grillo

Dominic Grillo, WWII Vet drafted Dec.1942 at age 20.


The bottle has traveled all over the world. It has seen the battles of World War II and the quiet suburbs of Michigan. The contour bottle remained in Grillo’s possession from the moment he purchased it in Michigan before travelling to Japan with the US Army.

Grillo lived a normal upbringing in Michigan as a young boy. When he became a young man, he enlisted into the Army after watching close friends become drafted into the war.

“It was time,” said Grillo. He traveled overseas for 31 days; first in the Philippines and later Japan. His years of service would continue for another four years.

But no matter how many miles the bottle has traveled, Grillo says the most important place it has traveled was right at home.

His unopened bottle gained fans from friends, family members, and even strangers over the last 72 years. “They couldn’t believe I had it,” said Grillo.

WWII bottle

Sealed tight after decades of traveling. 


He first purchased the bottle of Coca-Cola while stationed at Fort Custer, a military training base in Augusta, Michigan. Grillo grabbed a snack at the local store and picked up a bottle of Coke while there.

“I was gonna drink it and said, ‘Oh I’ll drink it when the war is over and share it with the boys’,” said Grillo. But after the war ended, Grillo never opened the bottle.

He pondered the idea of opening the bottle when he was discharged, but when that day came he left it unopened.  Weddings and the birth of his first born were moments to celebrate, but he never got around to opening the bottle.

The Army Veteran says no one has ever attempted to convince him to open the bottle, but he was tempted.

WWII bottle

The WWII vintage contour bottle now calls the Coca-Cola archives home along with other WWII collector items like this painting by Courtney Allen.

With the cap still attached, the bottle remains a symbol of Grillo’s four years of service and the milestones that took place in his life.

After 72 years, Grillo finally decided to part with his Coke bottle. He decided to donate the bottle to the collection of the Coca-Cola Company Archives, where it was graciously accepted. After traveling the globe, Grillo decided the bottle was ready to go to Coca-Cola’s home base of Atlanta, where it will have a special place. Although Grillo never opened the bottle, he certainly experienced happiness.


About the Author

Jordan Baker

Jordan Baker is a Senior Mass Communications major at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a current staff writer for The Bulls Eye student newspaper and a contributing writer for local newspapers.  Her experience as a staff writer, video editor and marketing intern drives her to continue exploring the world of media.  She plans to pursue a career in print or broadcast journalism when she receives her Bachelor’s Degree. Check out her work at http://thebullseye.org/