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  #1  
Old 02-06-2012, 09:13 PM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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"The Magic Randall"

On Sheldon's forum I posted this old model-1, which has become the favorite of my limited accumulation of Randalls. The knife generated an interesting discussion due to its pinned handle, late-50s shape, and early 60s sheath.









When I received it, the handle was considerably worse for the wear than pictured ... but was nice and tight, just cracked (by the way .... I speculate that air shipment subjected the knife to low pressure and helped open the cracks a little... something to keep in mind.) I loved the knife though and didn't even think of returning it. Because....

...Here in New Orleans, I have a friend, Sal Giardina, who is nationally/internationaly known as one of the best at repairing stringed instruments, using nothing but traditional techniques. He works on fabulous violins, basses, including many well known musician?s favorite guitars.

See: http://www.salvadorgiardina.com/

He laughed at the handle cracking, said it was nothing. He took my knife, a little epoxy, a little ebony dust? voila. He asked if I wanted it restored to pristene condition... I opted for basic so as not to have an anomolous feature. He said he can do the same to ivory, bone etc., though it requires a more extensive effort.

I thought I would share that just because a handle is cracked, or even badly damaged, there are experts out there that can make it right. You all might consider this option ? using a specialist from that industry to repair wood handles (or call Sal), especially on valuable and/or rare items. He isn't cheap, but worth every penny. (Note: The "after" pictures were taken immediately after he returned the knife. Some of the epoxy is still visible, but a little razor scraping removed all trace.)






Last edited by Jacknola; 07-27-2017 at 01:53 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2012, 10:41 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Thanks for the post and the pics, Jack. Amazinng transformation. Wood handles in the "pinned era" are rare as hens teeth. I'll bet I can count the number I've seen on one hand that's missing a finger or two.

Best,

Ron
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2012, 10:01 PM
Dirtdigger Dirtdigger is offline
 
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Did you pin the airborne pin on the end?
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:09 PM
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Cool

Here are a couple of more pictures after Sal had finished the last step. Notice that imperfections are still visable... but this is because I asked him not to restore the wood to perfect condition. When he repairs/restores ... say ... violins, etc., the finished product is absolutely pristine. I hope this example is useful for people working on old knives, or considering the desirability of damaged antique items.









Note: I like used Vietnam War era stuff. Being ex-airborne, ex-SF, combat vet in Vietnam 1967-68, this knife has already become my favorite. I've got a cool "story" made up to go with the knife ... good fiction ... but "but buy the knife, not the story" right?

It might re-appear some day when my heirs dump my accumulate junk!

Regards... Jack

Last edited by Jacknola; 08-03-2017 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:29 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacknola View Post
Note: I like used Vietnam War era stuff. Being ex-airborne, ex-SF, combat vet in Vietnam 1967-68, this knife has already become my favorite. I've got a cool "story" made up to go with the knife ... good fiction ... but "but buy the knife, not the story" right?

It might re-appear some day when my heirs dump my accumulate junk!

Regards... Jack
Jack,

Besides memories, I have very few "momentos" of my tour: Letters from home, a few photos and this South Vietnamese flag that I pulled down from a hooch after a firefight along side the Ong Nho river on May 10th, 1968 during "The Battle of Saigon":



http://www.mrfa2.org/Citation4a.htm

There was a lot of lead flying that day and I owe my butt to a headstone that I was able to hunker behind. I think it's fits in your category of "well used Vietnam War era stuff".

If you ever get out to California, look me up and I'll buy you a beer and show you a few old knives.

Best,

Ron
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:57 PM
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Dang Ron, that would be nice. I do get to California occasionally, my youngest son is a shipping agent at long beach harbor. My good friend from Special Forces and Vietnam, Dr. Lonnie Holmes, is a mover in the SF chapter in S. California... and they sponsor a terrific pistol competition, drawing swat teams, seal teams, SF teams from everywhere. I'll probably come out for his pistol competition again this fall.

He may have saved my life in Vietnam by forceably hospitalizing me thinking I had malaria. I have a picture of us when he finally let me go back to my A-team.



I accidentally got him interested in Randalls last year, and now he is outpacing me by considerable margin. Lonnie was a medic who after 44 months in SEAsia and 6 years in the Army, went to med school and became one of S. California's leading heart surgeons (Dr. Lewis Holmes, ahem).

By the way... that post of mine that you quote seems to have disappeared. Oh well, I can't wait to see your collection of Viet stuff and especially Randalls. It will probably bankrupt me thereafter. Regards.

Last edited by Jacknola; 09-01-2017 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:09 PM
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Something is strange... is my account disabled? My posts and pictures previously posted and partly quoted by Ron are no longer here, and I can't log on. Have I done something wrong or offended anyone? What the heck?
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:14 PM
Rick Bowles Rick Bowles is offline
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Jack,
I don't know what the problem is but it's not you. We'll look into it.
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  #9  
Old 02-09-2012, 09:16 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Hi Jack,

I can see your pics just fine. I did not include them when I quoted you because there was no need.

Back on track: I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area (A ways from SoCal). If you do get out this way, maybe we can still figure out how to get together. I'll send you my tel. no. by PM. Just give me a call a bit ahead of time if and when you're able to make it.

Best,

Ron
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:59 AM
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Moosehead Moosehead is offline
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Hi Jack!

I have no problem seeing your photos and all of your posts are still on this thread.

Of course you haven't done anything wrong or offended anyone!

I don't understand why you are unable to log on, but I'm sure it's some kind of temporary Internet glitch. Give it another try today.

Thanks for your participation and patience.

Cheers!

David


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  #11  
Old 02-10-2012, 07:51 PM
Alberta Al Alberta Al is offline
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Jack and Ron,

Keep up the great postings!

Cheers,

Alan
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  #12  
Old 02-11-2012, 12:07 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Thanks for your kind words, Alan. I have no intention of not letting my alligator mouth continue to overload my mosquito butt
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:56 PM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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Here's a way to display a few knives discretely in study ... visiting 10 year olds won't be tempted to sword fight but can show with lift of lid. It is a silverflatware storage box, remove divider, some tiger stripe lining. These things go for $50-$60 on e-bay and the boxes are very nice looking, about 16x14x8 or so. Or you can put a 45 cal pistol in bottom drawer.






Last edited by Jacknola; 07-27-2017 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:35 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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What an incredibly neat idea, Jack! You have some great knives.

Best,

Ron
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  #15  
Old 02-15-2012, 12:06 AM
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the magic-Randall

The ?story? of this knife

I?m bored tonight. So? I thought I would write up the ?story? that explains the oddities of this Randall model-1.

Background: This model-1 has some interesting contradictions. Firstly, it has a pinned ebony wood handle. According to Ron, Randall ceased pinning handles in about 1957 except for a few specific exceptions, and I understand that pinned wood handles were pretty rare.

Second, the blade has a shape that is difficult to rationalize. Ron posted on another site his explanation of three separate blade shapes (I hope I get description this right) ? 50s-61 the deep fishhook shaped choll, drop clip shape similar to this knife. Then a 1-2 year period 60-62 where the choll took on a more radical radius deviating from the ?fishhook? shape to a shallower depth, but with a more acute angle. Finally in about 1962 Randall went to a thicker ricosso and shallow more gently radiused choll. Ron and others are qualified to comment on this progression ? I am not.

But this particular model-1, while having a 50s look to the choll radius, the pinned handle of mid-late 50s, and the 60-61 shallower depth of the choll, is paired with a sheath from late 62-early 63. The knife has pretty obviously been with this sheath for a LONG time as everything fits like a glove.

So what is the explanation for the contradictions? Well, one might be that the knife was made in the late 50s and stored because of a lack of demand for wood-handled fighters? until Vietnam began to heat up at which time the knife was sheathed and shipped. Another might be that the pin was added later to stabilize the handle. Or perhaps the original sheath was lost an someone subbed this one. But it remains a delightful unknown.

So ...in the tradition of "collectors" of just about anything, I have a far better ?story? to explain the contradictions in the knife, and that story is fully backed up by pictures ? a wise man once said ... ?buy the knife, not the story", right... but he knew nothing about...

The Magic-Randall

In 1957 my twin brother and I were very young but with a strong bent for boy scout adventure, probably because of a strange gene as much as anything. Our father was a pathfinder-paratrooper KIA in Normandy, our grandfather lost an eye in France in WW-I, see pictures # 1-2-3., and we were reared on those stories. Anyway, that summer on 1957, we were visiting British Singapore with my step-dad.

On a wild hair, we took my dad?s WWII Randall and slipped away (therein lies a story), caught the train to Kuala Lumpur and then thumbed up into the Cameron Highlands to Tana Rata, where we were allowed to join the British Commonweath forces fighting the CTs (communist terrorists) in Malaya, as paras (scouts). The Brits thought we were local militia lads or something. Picture 4 is the only picture of us in Malaya I still have ... notice how young I look. Unfortunately I lost that precious WW-II Randall in an action that I won?t relate, suffice to say it was the first time I was shot at by anything but a BB gun, I didn't react very well, and my brother pretty much covered me... but I can say that thereafter we were both hooked, and always wanted a Randall close at hand. In retrospect, I guess we were both hooked on something else too.. something addictive....

The Brits found out our true age and kicked us out, sent us back to the States where we went on to high school in Gainesville, Florida. In 1958 my brother and I found out where the Randall shop was located (this was not easy pre-internet... you had to find a rural phone book, map, etc). We saved our money cutting lawns all summer and hitchhiked to Orlando? quite a trek in pre-interstate Florida.

Mr. Randall himself was busy at his shop when we arrived, a pretty gruff and tough old guy, definitely not interested in giving time or selling knives to shave-tails. But then I showed him pictures of my pathfinder-paratrooper father, and described our adventures in Malaya. Mr. Bo Randall was fiercely anti-communist and he softened and allowed us each to purchase a Randall. I was handed (I didn't get to pick) a model-1 fighter that Mr. Randall had made in 1956, complete with sheath. See picture 5, taken by my brother, of Mr. Randall presenting me with the very knife in 1958?



Being addicted to adventure, in late 1960 I again "left" school and soon found my way to Africa by working on a tramp steamer out of Jacksonville, and of course I took my Randall ... little did I know that it was about to become mystically powerful, the magic-Randall.

In 1960-61, the Belgium Congo was a mad house of post-independence disorder. Katanga Province had broken away from Lumumba?s communist backed government and its president Mr. Tshambi, hired the renowned South African mercenary, Maj. Mike Hoare, to create a military force he called the ?5th Commando.? Well, given my short experience in Malaya, he allowed me to join. I was in Elisabethville when Lumumba was forced to publically eat the paper his speeches were written on and then killed. And I was subsequently on the famous march to rescue the white hostages in Stanleyville ? I have a number of pictures but picture #6 shows us moving in our jeeps, me holding my model-1 Randall.

After rescuing the hostages, our Commando was withdrawing and I was sent to wade a chest-high river to secure the opposite side of a rude bridge for our jeeps. On the advice of the old South African mercs, I always carried my knife in my teeth when in water ... good thing, because ? half way across the stream, a huge croc suddenly boiled up like a Polaris missile surfacing, and grabbed my web gear by the canteen. Before he could roll me over, I took my knife from my teeth and made a wild swing at the croc, luckily slicing off one of his ears. I then desperately cut the web gear free.

Scared half to death I fired a full magazine in his general direction either hitting him or scaring him off ? but lost my web gear and the sheath for my knife. The South African boys were laughing their heads off... but I didn't think it was a #### bit funny. In all my life, I can say that was the most heart-stopping scare I ever experienced... which covers a LOT of scares.

But... our native troops from the Luba tribe (Bantu) were in awe of the escape from the croc. They rescued the ear of the croc from the river, and then crowded around babbling and pointing calling out "mboko uchawi kisu," or "magic knife." I found out that they believed that the Randall knife must be a mystical blade because it took the blood of a killer croc, denying him a sure victim ... and that the person carrying that knife, even touching it, would be invulnerable, safe from all dangers.

That night, drums throbbing, a "priest" in a carven wooden mask preformed a black arts ceremony where all 30 of my boys insisted on passing the Randall around the chanting, swaying, circle. They all made a nick on the back of their hand, rubbing in their blood on the blade to mix with the blood of the croc ear. The incantations continued almost to daylight.

The next day, my main chogga then made me an extraodinary temporary sheath from bamboo and hide (those boys were expert carvers) that I used for the rest of 1961. They always referred to the knife in their native Swahili, as the "magic-knife." Thereafter I always called it "the magic-Randall." Picture #7 shows me in May, 1961, with that temporary sheath for my magic-Randall, and I recently found a old Polaroid color pic of the sheath with my web gear, #8.



In late 1961, the UN forces, Irish paratroopers etc., joined the fight on behalf of the so called ?central government? against Katanga. After being captured by the UN, I was properly contrite, whined, and claimed underage (I had learned how to grovel with the best, if necessary) ... it worked and I and was allowed to return to the States. I thus missed the death of UN chief Dag Hammarskj?ld, the fight of the 5 Commando against Lumumba?s? Cuban communist forces, and the take over of the Congo by the US supported government of Mobutu.

Back in Florida I decided to become legit and followed my twin brother into the US Army, jump school, Special Forces. In late 1962 while still in Training Group, I again went to see Mr. Randall, showed him my ?magic-Randall? and the croc ear, and related the story of the Congo. I also gave him the carved sheath made by the Luba Katangians. To my gratification, he was immensely delighted and had my knife re-sheathed with a new JRB, which has lasted to the present day (I think that Katanga sheath is still in the Randall museum somewhere).

And that is how my 1950s magic-Randall found a home in a 1962 vintage sheath, to this day. .......... What isn't explained is the soft glow that forevermore seemed to issue from the blade whenever in danger-close ... a glow, aura, I came to rely on as a harbinger.

To further trace the saga of the ?magic Randall? thereafter, here is a short pictorial history?.

In 1963 my team was committed into Laos. (Note: Prior to 1963, Special Forces teams were generally under the command of the CIA station chief when operating in a foreign country. The military of course had a cow about this and eventually brought SF back under their command to operate within the command structure of the MAC (Military Assistance Command) missions. They immediately tried to ban the beret, hating the idea of anything ?special,? but Pres. Kennedy by executive order made the green beret the official head gear of SF? and to this day on Nov. 22 you will see a detail of SF lay a green beret on Pres. Kennedy?s grave.)

Picture #9 is a shot of our ?civilian? team arriving in Laos in 1963, me with magic-Randall on hip with new sheath. Notice the picture of me, picture # 10, in the field with my magic-Randall under my arm? wearing it gangster style.... stupid posturing.



But picture #11 documents an amazing series of happenstances. I was on R&R in Brunei in 1964 when Sukarno, the ego-maniac communist dictator of Indonesia, decided to take out the newly formed country of Malaysia. How I ended up "assisting" the Aussies and commonwealth forces for two months is a long story, but #11 shows me being snide about something as usual, wearing the magic-Randall, ... and loading up for another jungle helo ride ...

Basically I was Shanghai'ed - under orders from US Military Assistance Command-Malaya (not my chain of command), advising Aussies in Sabah, which wasn't yet part of Malaysia, under command of a British General, fighting Communist Indonesians who were being trained by US Military Assistance Command-Indonesia ... geeezzzzz... well, at least Bandar city was nice, especially my reunion with Lai Choi San, a stunning chinese girl I had met a few years before as a teenager in Singapore. (I've since found out that her mother, same name and also a beauty, had quite a fearsome reputation in the S. China Sea - I can believe it - and you can google her if you doubt me...)

Fast forward to 1965-66 and we (Randall and me) were A-teamed into Vietnam. Here is perhaps the only existing picture, # 12, of a SF trooper sharpening his Randall in the field in Vietnam, and picture # 13, while it doesn't show the magic-Randall, does show the sheath in the field.



In 1967 I was temporally back in the states, and on short notice was seconded to the 8th SF group in Panama for a short training mission into Bolivia to help fight off Che Guevara?s ridiculous invasion (Che?s Cubans wouldn?t even go outside to ... whatever ... if it was raining, much less operate - pathetic; there is a little-known interesting story how we found him). In the immortal words later famously uttered by a US President ? ?we got him.? See picture #14.

Back to Vietnam, my magic-Randall was still casting its protection ? but I was pretty sick (see picture #15 with Randall, and notice how thin I was). My SF medic buddy, Lonny Holmes, 44 months in SE Asia, hospitalized me against my will for malaria. Lonny later went to med school and became one of S. California?s leading heart surgeons, and is a budding Randall collector today. While hospitalized, I had a chance to get a picture taken in Kontum with my twin brother, who was in MACVsog, and who was at his base at FOB-2 across the river, just back from a mission into Laos (picture # 16 note: here is a link to a narrative about his experience in MACVsog - http://www.macvsog.cc/spike_team_delaware.htm ).



It would be repetitious to relate all the events we (magic-Randall and I) experienced in Vietnam from 1968-1975. So I?ll forgo describing our role in ... say ... the Tet offenses; the fights at Lang Vei, Duc Lop, and Bu Dop; the tank battle at Ben Het; the defense of, An Loc, etc., etc., etc. I'll just note that among many adventures the magic-Randall accompanied a couple of "minor" missions, Lon Som 719 back into Laos - the operation that could have won the war (pic# 18), and a small party organized by Col. Bull Simmons in 1970 (see picture # 17).



Things were relatively quiet during the mid-?70s and I almost went crazy with garrison army life under that idiot, Carter, and his kum-bah-yah foreign policy. Luckily, I did get to Pakistan a couple of times though, in 1977, (picture 19....magic-Randall was under coat...lot of good it would do me in that terrain, needed a Lee-Enfield or something that would reach out a mile or so). Some of my Baluch ?boys? pictured in #19 later became jihadist leaders against the USSR.

For some reason I missed the fiasco of the Iran rescue operation and my magic-Randall went for a spell without its glow. At last, in early 1980, we got a short but interesting mission into Angola with Mr. Savimbi's UNITA forces. This was part of their long, 20-year battle against the communists, and eventually 50,000 Cuban troops in the field. I don't have many pictures that survived, mostly because my camera didn't survive a pretty wild reunion with a few of my Luba lads, and some S.A. mercs I had known 20 years earlier. But later I found a picture from the Times that I was inadvertently in... (see 20 above)

Finally, in the 80s the US started to kick the stuffing out of the communists everywhere, and I enjoyed getting in on the action, especially since I was protected by my mystical knife. I was able to get a picture taken in action in Granada in 1983 (#21) ? god only knows why I had the magic-Randall in my hand when this picture was taken, but notice the weird glow emanating from the blade.



#22 is a picture of my liaison to the mujahidin in Afghanistan in 1985 ... I felt like I was with Gen. Jeb freaking Stuart. I don't want to discuss Col. North and my experiences with the "Contras" in Nicaragua - statute of limitations you know. So the next picture, #23 shows me and the magic-Randall in Panama (Operation Just Cause) in 1989, getting ready to "search" another presidential palace (It's been my experience that "Presidential Palaces" are good places to search, or hang out).

Both of us, me and knife, were getting a little long-in-the-tooth when Desert Shield-Desert Storm, blew up in 1991. Besides, that was mostly a ponderous, heavy unit, regular Army ?death-star? operation. But joy-joy (read-sarcasm), Gen. Swartzkoff assigned us to look for scuds? picture #24 is a picture of me with magic-Randall heading off for a distinctly non-SF, ranger-type operation. Unfortunately that direct-action mission is what SF had degenerated into, and to a large extent still is trapped into today ... in short, somewhere SF lost its mission in my opinion.



Fortunately I somehow missed the Clinton-mess in Mogadishu and the "wag-the-dog" war in the Balkans, and thought seriously about retiring. But after 9/11 I found myself on a short mission into Afghanistan with some friends (picture 25). Unfortunately several of this team didn't make it ... some B-team people playing with bigboy toys, accidently guided a bomb into friendly territory... and where was I? Well, magic-Randall and I were cutting brush a mile away ... can't even remember why, but ...

In 2003 in a final curtain call for 40 years in the US military and Special Forces, I was able to get into Kurdistan with my magic-Randall, picture # 26 with the Peshmerga Kurds in N. Iraq. In my opinion, this was an exellent SF mission, one of the best I've been in on. And the highlight? Of course it was the "liberation" and careful search of one of Saddam's Kirkurk palaces by our Kurds. As I previously mentioned, "Presidential Palaces" are good places to search ....



Destiny seems to have a sense irony as the twilight of the saga of the magic-Randall approaches. It's our fate to bookend adventuring as it was begun, as a ?contractor,? with quite a few trips into Afghanistan including one in 2005 (#27), and another in 2007 shown in picture #28. Magic Randall was positively glowing throughout that trip .. the aura that always seemed to radiate whenever danger was near.

In 2010 again in Afghanistan we took a picture, #29, (at base unnamed) to try and emulate the 1966 picture of the magic-Randall in Vietnam. And I had the bitter-sweet experience of handing the magic-Randall directly to my son ... As I was leaving, he was arriving at Baghram the same day... a poignant and symbolic moment.

So, the old war horse Randall found a way to go on without me ... my oldest son, Captain U.S.M.C., graduate of Annapolis, carried the magic-Randall on his deployment down the Hellmund River in 2011, advising an Afghan border patrol battalion, picture #30. Notice the glow emmanating from the knife. I'll tell you this ... that picture was in Marine Corp Gazette... and when I saw the radiance on the knife, casting its protective spell, it eased my stateside mind.



One more picture, # 31, ? Memorial day, 2012, twin brother, me, Lonny Holmes and another old SF buddy at the Vietnam Memorial. The lame park police would not allow us to walk around carrying any big knives much less a Randall fighter. I tried to explain the mystic nature of that "kisu" but they turned a deaf ear. Barbarians...

Gentlemen, that is the short version of the story of how the ?magic-Randall? model-1 got its name, and it fully explains why an extraodinary, mid-1950s blade, lived most of its life in a 1962 sheath.

When Randalls first came to our attention, they were a tool, an expensive one but a powerful friend and security blanket. You could dig an emergency hole with them, stick them in a tree and use for a step, open rations, clean your fingernails, pry open doors, split bamboo for punji stakes, cut the skin of a helicopter. The world at that time was not yet collecting pristine Randalls because of their sheer beauty ... it didn't occur to us. No.. they were usually found abused, dirty, rusted, incredibly sharp, pitted, dented - not unlike the men that carred them - but on the belt of many a SF, Marine, ranger, pilot, etc., going in harms way.

Today, 2012, the world seems on the verge of a nasty outbreak of peace. If so, perhaps the magic-Randall can safely retire in a cushy box to be admired by uncomprehending children, and be less valued by those who prefer unmarked beauty over history and utility. And it is true that beauty has a quality that can be awesome posed against the obvious purpose of a Randall.

But, it's nice to know that if the call again goes out, the bugle sounds, drums are heard on the horizon, the magic-Randall can still do what it was intended to do ... and'll begin to glow that eerie sheen once again.

And that is my story about this magic-Randall ? and I?m sticking too it. Regards.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-27-2017 at 02:05 PM.
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