The Yarborough Knife: Symbol of a legacy

October 11, 2022

While Special Forces Soldiers are known for their prowess with many weapons, one weapon in their arsenal stands out in particular and that is the Yarborough Knife.

This knife is named after Lieutenant General William P. Yarborough, who is known as “the father of modern Special Forces.” The 12.5-inch combat utility knife originated from a simple conversation about the need for a standard Special Forces knife between Yarborough and Lieutenant General Doug Brown at lunch. Yarborough wanted Special Forces Soldiers to have excellent edge blade weapon, like their ancestors had during World War II.

General Yarborough

Since August 2002, every soldier who graduates from Special Forces Qualification Course at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School has received a Yarborough knife. The knife had its own serial number and each soldier had to sign in a special ledger along with most of the elite members of the United States Army, including that same Yarborough. The knife was originally also available for current Green Beret and Special Forces veterans.

The issuance of Yarborough knives was discontinued in 2004 after about a thousand custom knives were produced. Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Csrnko, USAJFKSWCS Commander, reinstituted the issue of the knife and he was the first to sign up for the new blades in 2008. Moreover, each knife now contains not only the serial number, but also the limited edition number of its blade.

Yarborough knife

The moment every Green Beret takes the stage after SFQC, they are receiving the legacy of the Brotherhood of Special Forces, signing the pages of an illustrious history that is accessible to a select few. Just a few years after its inception, the honor of the Yarborough knife has become almost as much of a Special Forces legacy and tradition as the Green Beret itself, and also has been shared with a small number of dignitaries such as President George W. Bush.

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