Here's the basics on the knife project. I just spoke with the combatives group, and it looks like at least five of them would jump all over the chance to own one of these right now for anything close to $300 or less. My guess is there'd be a whole lot more than that, but out of a class of forty people, I got five to say yes on the spot. Considering we work with roughly 500 troops a month in Combatives, and roughly another 500 in all the other areas, my guess is this would be a pretty strong seller. Especially if I strap a couple of them on the legs of some our instructors...
At any rate, the basic introduction to the project and my proposal to the makers follows. Let me know where you post it so I can follow along. And thanks as always for the assist. (By the way - if it works out, I'll buy you serial number 0001!)
My name is Michael Brewer. I am currently serving as a US Army Reserve soldier, and in my civilian life, I am a combat tactics instructor for all branches of service. Specifically, my job is to train Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen deploying to the Middle East in support of the Global War on Terror. My areas of specialty are weapons and small unit tactics, including all manner of US small arms, squad-based urban warfare, convoy live fire training, combatives (US Army Hand to Hand Fighting), and just about anything else that relates to the fighting end of being a US servicemember. Over the past year, I've conducted hundreds of AAR's with troops both deploying and returning from theater. I've probed to find any information I could find both as an instructor and as a soldier that might improve our troops' odds of winning each and every fight. Obviously, a lot of this information is not appropriate to share publicly, but a lot of it can only be addressed by civilians who support our troops. I'm writing this introduction about just such a topic.
Much has been made over the past several decades about edged weapons, both as fighting implements and as tools for soldiers in the field. As most soldiers have told me time and again, the staggering majority of the designs currently available have missed big. Knives tend to be "one-trick ponies" in the words of a recently retired Master Sergeant. "They either cut or they stab, but never both. If they're cutting knives, my Joes will bust the tips off 'em nine times out of ten. If they're stabbing knives, they don't do us any good as cutting tools because a double edged dagger is no good at all for utility purposes. Even the ones that find some kind of balance are too thin to deal with any kind of hard work, let alone the kind of rigors common to our guys in the field. Folding knives snap right at the pivot, and the bayonets we're issued are so soft you can't even put a good edge on them, let alone keep it there."
My father is an accomplished knifemaker who has crafted some amazing pieces for me over the years. He's built several damascus blades that have withstood abuses unlike anything a knife is meant for. One of them literally cut a mobile home in half over the course of a work day. Regrettably, he is in semi-retirement due to a shoulder injury and a lack of a forge. That's why I am putting this information out to the public. Working with these soldiers, I have compiled their suggestions into a design that most feel would not only suit their needs today, but would account for most of the foreseeable needs of the future. I would like to find a knifemaker that is willing to build a prototype knife according to these suggestions. This would be a custom knife, and would not be a government contract by any means. However, it is a knife designed by and for servicemen and women, and would very likely be popular across the full spectrum. What's more, because the knifemaker who accepts would be going to some degree of personal expense and effort on a project not of their own design - based on faith and the suggrestions of others, as it were - I would be willing to give the design rights to the knifemaker in exchange for a pair of prototypes. I'd want to conduct some of the most severe tests ever conducted on a knife, document them, and present them to the chain of command that I work for in both civilian and military sectors. I'd forward all requests to the knifemaker for orders and modifications. In other words, you make the knife according to specs and provide me with a pair of prototypes, and I'll test it, evaluate it, write up a report, and pass it along to the market group that suggested it in the first place - and I'll hand you the rights to the design itself free and clear.
What do you get out of it? At best, an inside track on what could be one of the more popular military knives today, and someone else handles a good chunk of your marketing for free. At worst, you get a few orders from the soldiers that "created" the design and you recover your investment, and you still have the rights to the design free and clear. What do I get out of it? I get what I believe will be one of the most practical and functional fighting and utility knives available, and I get to give my soldiers the opportunity to carry into battle with them a tool that I would unhesitatingly bet my own life on. I think it's definitely a good proposition all around.
If anyone is interested in undertaking the project, please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or call 719.494.6501. Thank you all for your consideration, and I look forward to speaking with you soon.
and this on US Army stationary:
AFZC-PAO 2 May 2006
MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD
SUBJECT: Soldier Knife Project
1. SPC Courtney E. Pace, PAO, 2BCT, 2ID
2. The PAO just received the research package you compiled regarding the ?Soldier Knife? design. Our office would be extremely interested in giving the project some publicity, especially since this is a civilian project based on military feedback.
3. The unit got back from Iraq in August of 2005, and several members of the unit have said that your knife design would definitely solve many of the issues they encountered with their currently issued gear.
4. The PAO would be interested in covering the project, including interviews with you and whatever knife maker agrees to take on the design and building of the knife.
5. We will also cover the ?torture testing? you and others will put the knife through using military related scenarios. This aspect will appeal to readers as it proves the usefulness and detailed thinking that went into the design.
COURTNEY E. PACE
2BCT, 2ID PAO