If you need to kill some time this afternoon, do yourself a favor and go read the incredible New York Times piece SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the world’s most celebrated elite black ops team.
One of the cool facts extracted from the is a tidbit about SEAL Team 6’s choice of weaponry. According to the Times, each member of SEAL Team 6 is given a “primeval tomahawk” after their first year in the squadron. The hatchet is custom made by world famosu North Carolina master bladesmith Daniel Winkler, the man who crafted the Native America weapons in The Last of the Mohicans — One of the most Bro-tastic movies of all time.
Via the New York Times.
Some Team 6 assault troops also used tomahawks crafted by Daniel Winkler, a knife maker in North Carolina who forged blades for the film “The Last of the Mohicans.” During one period, members of Team 6’s Red Squadron — its logo shows crossed tomahawks below the face of a Native American warrior — received a Winkler hatchet after their first year in the squadron, according to two members. In an interview, Mr. Winkler declined to discuss which SEAL units had received his tomahawks, but did say many were paid for by private donors.
Here’s what one of Winkler’s WK II Stealth Axe tomahawks looks like, according to his website:
That’s pretty badass. However, it’s hard to imagine, however, in an era of high tech weaponry that an elite group of special forces uses such a primitive weapon during operations, right? Wrong. Believe it or not, SEAL Team 6 members use these all the time — including for kills — according to the Times:
The weapons were not just wall ornaments. Several former Team 6 members said that some men carried the hatchets on missions, and at least one killed an enemy fighter with the weapon. Dom Raso, a former Team 6 member who left the Navy in 2012, said that hatchets were used “for breaching, getting into doors, manipulating small locks, hand-to-hand combat and other things.” He added that hatchet and blade kills occurred during his time with the SEALs.
“Whatever tool you need to protect yourself and your brothers, whether it is a blade or a gun, you are going to use,” said Mr. Raso, who has worked with Mr. Winkler in producing a blade.
But not everyone agrees that it’s useful in the field:
Many SEAL operators rejected any use of tomahawks — saying they were too bulky to take into combat and not as effective as firearms — even as they acknowledged the messiness of warfare.
“It’s a dirty business,” said one former senior enlisted Team 6 member. “What’s the difference between shooting them as I was told and pulling out a knife and stabbing them or hatcheting them?”
Uh… Touche, I guess? I just think it’s cool that the guy who made the weapons for one of the most badass movies of all time ALSO makes the weapons for real-life badasses, like SEAL Team 6. That’s freakin’ awesome.
Go read the full article over at the New York Times…
[H/T: Business Insider]