Desert Storm

From 1996 Newsletter

During my 17 years as a knife maker, I have had some interesting things happen. What happened when I decided to make a few knives to donate to our troops in Desert Storm really took on a life of it’s own.

I designed a little fighter and a special sheath with the idea of sending a few as thanks to our troops in the desert. After mentioning this to a few other knife makers they wanted to do it also. I gave them the pattern to help grind the blades and I finished the handles and had the sheaths made.

Next, I opened it up to anyone who would help with materials or money as it was getting expensive to supply all the materials and the sheaths. Soon there were 100 knives in production and dozens of people involved.

As they were nearing completion I had to find a way to randomly distribute them. I contacted a local military base and was told “the blades are too long”. I guess they must have been too dangerous for them to carry along with their other equipment like tanks, missiles and the like. The only suggestion they offered was to send them addressed to: “any soldier Dessert Storm”. That would probably be fine for the original six or so but I could see someone getting too nice a collection of this knife.

I looked for another way. In trying everything I could think of to get these to the intended troops, I contacted my Indiana Senator, Richard Lugar. His aide found the same response, so he took the idea to Senator Lugar and he had the answer. He would personally take them to the Pentagon and give them to Gen. Colin Powell. WOW!!!

By now the short war was over and Senator Lugar’s office asked if they could distribute the knives to the P.O.W.’s. I was both thrilled and honored. The next thing I knew I was getting letters from the P.O.W.’s that I had read about in the newspaper followed by a personal letter from General Powell and to top it off, a letter from Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf!!

It ended up that we gave out free (or at cost as donations ran out) 147 knives, specially marked with the Desert Storm USA stamp and serial numbers. I also sold a non-serial numbered version to the public – this is still a popular knife in fact. By the way, a serial numbered version is still available, at cost, with a proof of service in Desert Storm.

This project has given me a scrapbook full of memories and a display containing the original prototype can be seen at the National Knife Museum in Chattanooga, TN.