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.
The Yarborough knife is a special award given to graduates of the U.S. Army Special Forces Qualification Course. Named after Lieutenant General William P. Yarborough, a major player in the U.S. Army Special Forces history, the idea for this unique knife was introduced in the 1960s. Yarborough felt that Special Forces soldiers should have a symbol for their elite status. And so, the Yarborough knife came into existence and continues to be awarded to graduates today. But here’s a fun fact: even though every Green Beret gets one, not all of them actually carry it during missions. It’s more of a symbol of the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to become a Green Beret.
Lieutenant General William P. Yarborough
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.
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.
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.
Serialized 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. LTG Yarborough was the first to receive the knife serial-numbered 001 hand-delivered to his home.
Beginning in August 2002, every soldier who graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC), part of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, was issued the Yarborough Knife with its own serial number and signed a special record book. Since 2008, when the issuance of the Yarborough knife was resumed, each knife now contains not only the serial number, but also the limited edition number of its blade.
Navy Seal Yarborough Knife
There is the Navy SEAL version of the Yarborough knife called the “Neil Roberts Warrior”. It was designed by Bill Harsey with input from Chris Reeve to commemorate Neil Roberts, the first U.S. Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan in 2002. This knife is made of the same steel and steel processing as the Yarborough knife given to each graduate of the Special Forces “Q” course. A numbered edition of 184 knives is reserved for the Navy SEAL community – as Neil Roberts graduated from Class #184.
Chris Reeve Yarborough Knife
A version of the Yarborough knife branded as the Green Beret Knife, is available at Chris Reeve Knives. It was designed by renowned knifemaker Bill Harsey with function and manufacturing input from Chris Reeve. The reliable, hardworking tool fully copies the looks and the operational factors of the original Yarborough knife – except that the civilian model has no “Yarborough” inscription or serial number on the blade.
Yarborough Knife Sheath
The Yarborough knife, as well as the Chris Reeve’s Green Beret Knife, comes with an American-made nylon sheath with a Kydex insert that helps guard the blade. The nylon outer and the Kydex lining make a great combination to protect the famous knife from the influencing factors it may be exposed to.
Yarborough Knife Display Box
A Yarborough knife is an achievement that you would like to display. It looks great when displayed in a case designed specifically for this symbol of fortitude of mind and body. The Yarborough knife box holds the Yarborough securely in place. Black Velcloth enables easy attachment of velcro backed tabs. Stained alder or oak frame offers a choice of colors.
Green Beret knife – Review and Test
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