Radioactive Stupid #3

As the company 1stSgt for Headhunting & Skullduggery Company in 3/3, I was renowned for giving some of the most engaging liberty briefs in 3d Marine Division. On one occasion I found myself giving a quick class on how to safely operate a tactical folding knife.

The first part of the successful utilization of a folding knife is to safely remove it from your pocket. Then open your knife as prescribed by the manufacturer. Some knives have a quick assist spring while others feature a thumb stud for one handed opening.

 Your overall knife handling experience will be enhanced by not grasping it by the sharp pointy end.

Once the knife is open, apply its bladed function to your immediate cutting needs. Proper utilization  could include cutting 550 cord, opening mail, or plunging the entire blade into the brain of an undead shambler through its eye socket.

Now comes the most critical part of proper knife operations. Once you are done using the knife…wait for it…you close it and put it away! This is key for a successful knife wielding experience. 

This bears repeating. Once you are done using the knife…wait for it…you close it and put it away! This is key for a successful knife wielding experience.

Why do I have to put special emphasis on this last essential step? Because Marines have most often cut themselves on seemingly innocent knives minding their own business until they viciously jumped up and bit the nearest Lance Cpl. What prompted my original brief was the Jarhead who used his knife on something, set it down, then immediately sat on it. A little more to the left and he might have lobotomized himself.

Put your knives away. Think of the buttocks!

This was another period of military instruction brought to you by America’s SgtMaj and sponsored by the letters D, U, M, B, A, S, and also the letter S. 

Semper Fidelis! 

/ / / /


  1. ASM, I saw more “Joes” cut by accident than intent. Long fixed blades seemed to be the fad for many years, and I NEVER saw one used in a fight, but saw a few cut through the cheap sheaths and cut the owner.
    The Berlin Brigade finally put out an order that forbid Soldiers from putting knives in their boots.
    A few times, I finally did the NCO thing and told some that they were not allowed to have a knife until they took a safety course….they cut themselves, and those close.

    One “cook” we took with us to Iraq wore about 4 knives on his person. He still couldn’t even open an MRE pack.

  2. Yep.

    Yeh gots to brief the mission all the way through, from ingress to egress, or assault to consolidation.

    Can’t leave it half done or someone ends up with a blade in the buttocks… every time.


  3. CI Roller, I’ll admit to having a certain fascination with bladed weapons myself. I often lament I only have two hands with which to wield them all.

    Grimmy, and if you brief something as being “SOP” all the time, sooner or later someone is going to get bit in the ass for sure.

  4. LOL yeah.

    Instruction become obsolete the exact moment it gets the SOP tag.

    SOP should be rewrit as STH (Stopped Thinking Here).

    – Grimmy

  5. 1. What can you do with a KBar except stab somebody or pry open ammo crates?
    2. In the field, carried two essential items: Dip for my NCO’s and a pair of scissors.
    3. Camillus or Ontario KBar style blades were available for issue. I’d say half my Marines wore them.
    4. Every once in awhile, some fool would stick himself, but the things stayed sheathed 99% of the time.
    5. Shortly after we left base, the scissors would be loaned out and I wouldn’t see them again until we returned.
    6. Made it clear, that was the only pair; if it disappeared, no replacement would be made. They always were handed back to me.
    7. OTOH, want to see a mean, green, bloodstriped amphibious machine do a fair imitation of a two year old: let him find out that his double secret emergency reserve dip supply isn’t there because the *@%#! Capt forgot to load up.
    V/R JWest

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