Editor’s note: The following originally ran in the August 2015 issue of BLADE magazine. All images are from their respective manufacturers unless otherwise noted. 

Memorial Day (taking place in 2018 on Monday, May 28) holds a revered place in the hearts and minds of Americans, and knife manufacturers recognize the heritage of freedom that fits well with such a commemoration. Knives have equipped American fighting men and women since the first call for national defense more than 200 years ago, and these modern knives convey a sense of pride and honor for our time.

Buck 245 MWG

Buck 245 mwg

Buck Knives introduced the 245 MWG at the 2015 SHOT Show to honor the memory of Matthew J. Leathers, a highly decorated U.S. Navy SEAL who lost his life at sea in 2013. Matt was a member of Basic Under water Demolition/SEAL Training class 245, and the knife’s name says it all—245 to honor the class and MWG referring to the simple yet powerful phrase that was the young SEAL’s nickname: “Matt Would Go.”

The 245 MWG represents a partnership between Buck and Matt’s father, Tim Leathers. “During his nine years with the U.S. Navy SEALS, Matthew used many knives, but none that held up to his standards,” explained Stephanie Young, Buck marketing and communications manager. “He decided the only way to find a knife that met his criteria was to build it himself. Matt designed the knife that became a favorite among his fellow SEALS.”

The result of the Buck collaboration with Matt Leathers through his father is a sleek fixed-blade utility/fighting knife with a 5160 spring steel blade and tough Micarta® handle. Other features include the TEK-LOK® belt clip and a Kydex® sheath designed with a low-infrared signature.

A portion of the proceeds from sales goes to MattWouldGo LLC and in turn to the Navy SEAL Foundation.

“We are honored to bring this knife to the market for the Leathers family and happy to give something back to those who protect us,” Young commented.

Two Camillus Fixed Blades

Camillus Powell
Featured on the National Geographic Channel’s “Ultimate Survival Alaska,” retired Green Beret Grady Powell
(above) designed the Camillus Grady Powell fixed-blade tanto. Powell trains military, law enforcement and civilians in survival training.

A pair of Camillus fixed blades made to the exacting specifications of retired U.S. Army Green Beret and current military, law enforcement and survival trainer Grady Powell, and of Jared Ogden, a combat-decorated retired Navy SEAL and surface warfare officer, both of whom are featured on the National Geographic Channel TV show Ultimate Survival Alaska, makes great Memorial Day remembrance knives.

“These knives accommodate everything a SEAL or Green Beret would do in their duties,” explained Rick Constantine, Camillus marketing manager. “Both of these men had input on the design of these knives. They are true-life heroes, and that’s why we went after them. We all said we wanted to build knives that anyone would be proud to carry on active duty or elsewhere.”

Both knives feature 1095 high carbon steel blades and custom molded sheaths. Constantine said Powell wanted a knife useful in hand-to-hand situations, while Ogden stressed cutting ability and grip strength—particularly in water.

The Powell model features a half-serrated 4.87-inch blade with a G-10 handle that sports Micarta accents, and a 10.5-inch overall length.

Ogden’s knife includes a 4.75-inch blade with gut hook, a G-10 handle, a 10-inch overall length, and versatility that allows the user to fashion it into a survival spear.

Camillus SEAL knife
Ogden (above) served as both a Navy SEAL and a surface warfare officer. His military awards include the Combat Action Ribbon and the Bronze Star with “V” for Valor. He is featured on the National Geographic Channel’s “Ultimate Survival Alaska.”

Each knife is serial numbered.

“We have worked with a number of personalities through the years,” Constantine remarked, “but none have been better or more knowledgeable than these guys.”

Case FSSF V-42

Case V-42 Devil's Brigade knife
The Case V-42 reproduction is based on the company’s original museum piece. (Kris Kandler image)
Case V-42
The V-42 in its display case.

When members of the First Special Service Force Association approached Case about a revival of the legendary V-42 stiletto, the company jumped at the chance.

Special Forces Association Montana Chapter 28 and a large number of knife enthusiasts supported the idea, and the new Case V-42 is true in detail to its heritage. Commissioned by U.S. Army Colonel Robert T. Frederick in 1942, the V-42 was issued to troops of the joint U.S.-Canadian First Special Service Force (FSSF), popularly known as the Devil’s Brigade. These soldiers served with distinction in World War II, and the V-42 was with them all the way. Case evaluated its own original museum V-42 and reproduced that fighting gem with painstaking accuracy.

Though the V-42 has been reintroduced a couple of times in the past, Case officials indicate this rendition is more accurate than ever.

“We really have a greater appreciation for what goes into making this knife,” said Case representative Fred Feightner. “We actually had it X-rayed to see how the handle was put together. We examined the knife from the inside out, and this was done on a much more detailed basis than previous re-releases of the V-42. The project took about five years to complete.”

The V-42’s blade of Case chrome vanadium steel—essentially, 1095 high-carbon steel with added chromium and vanadium—is double concave ground to reproduce the distinctive centerline along its length. The stacked-leather-washer handle is constructed with specialty gimping, and the famed V-42 “thumbprint” is embedded in the ricasso of the 12.5-inch, 7-ounce knife for proper blade orientation/indexing and grip strength. The leather sheath is complete with steel teeth reinforcing the sleeve and brass rivet covers.

“We’re extremely proud and honored to present a reproduction knife that is symbolic of our military elite and the American freedom they fought, and fight every day, to protect,” noted John Sullivan, Case marketing director. “Case knives and the American military share a long and distinguished history dating as far back as World War I, so we’ve taken great measure to ensure that the V-42 reproduction model meets the highest standards and is deemed authentic by the same brave Forcemen who carried the original into battle so many years ago.”

SOG SEAL Strike

SOG Seal knife
The SOG SEAL Strike model SS1002-CP sports a 4.9-inch partially serrated blade of powder-coated AUS-8 stainless steel. The handle is glass-reinforced nylon with a stainless steel overwrap. Weight: 5.6 ounces. Overall length: 9.6 inches.

The new SEAL Strike from SOG Specialty Knives & Tools includes a 4.9-inch partially serrated AUS-8 stainless steel blade with cryogenic heat treatment, and a handle of glass-reinforced nylon.

“The biggest differentiator for the SEAL Strike is the sheath,” SOG’s Chris Cashbaugh explained. “It has several features that enhance the functions of the knife. You can use the line cutter to cut cord or webbing without having to expose the blade. The carbide sharpener is in the side of the sheath and can be used to touch up the blade while out in the field. The ferrocerium rod can help start a fire in an emergency situation.”

SOG Seal Strike sheath
Boasting the SOG logo etched in steel, the deluxe molded MOLLE-compatible sheath for the SOG SEAL Strike SS1002-CP includes a cutout for cutting line with the knife sheathed, a sharpening notch on the low side toward the tip, and a ferrocerium fire-starting rod.

The SEAL Strike fits the Memorial Day theme well since its design relates to the longtime SOG collaboration with the military and the ultimate goal of producing a knife that fills the bill for troops on deployment or anyone in the field.

Keep Reading: