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Old 10-14-2020, 11:00 AM
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The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient  
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Default The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient

Wasn't sure where to post this but just wanted to share this great article I came across today about the knife that saved Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia, the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the Medal of Honor.

The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient - Task & Purpose

I will post some of it below for those who may not want to click on the link...

Quote:
Bellavia was awarded the Medal of Honor in recognition of his heroic actions of Nov. 10, 2004, when he killed five enemy fighters during a chaotic battle inside an enemy-held house during the second battle of Fallujah, rescuing an entire squad in the process.

But according to Bellavia, he likely wouldn't have made it out alive had it not been for his knife.

During a Monday roundtable, Bellavia described engaging enemy fighters inside the dark house full of propane tanks and plastic explosives, first with his M4 carbine and then with an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

But after killing four insurgents, Bellavia was confronted by a wounded fighter who engaged him in hand-to-hand combat, forcing the soldier to pull out his Gerber Rex Applegate folding knife and kill him. The Gerber Applegate combat folding knife with a serrated edge.



Here's how Bellavia described the encounter in a 2006 oral history of second battle of Fallujah:

"I was covering his mouth, telling him to shut up. His breath was horrible, just stale, nasty breath. The moral of the story is that the dude bites my left hand near the thumb knuckle through my glove. I open up my SAPI plate and hit him with the inside of my vest. He's screaming, there are people screaming downstairs and I have no composure at all. This is not a John Rambo moment. I'm really scared. I stand up and he digs into my leg with his fingers. I'm looking for my Rex Applegate Gerber knife: not a multi-tool, just a serious blade. I go to reach for it and he puts his teeth — I don't wear underwear and he bites me right in the genital region. ..."

"I don't know if he thought I was going to give him mercy, but in the struggle my Velcro knife case slid off my belt and was now on the ground next to his head. I hear someone yell down from above me in a panic. The man underneath me yells back. The more I put pressure on his left arm the more he goes limp. I flick my blade to the side and it snaps to the ready. I had never stabbed anyone before so I went down on him with a stabbing motion. I lost the grip on the knife and it went right across the base of my right pinkie finger. As soon as I let it go, a hot wave hit me and it smelled like rust. I put one hand on his mouth and other under his chin and just started to push like I was giving him CPR. The stream only got powerful when I pushed down and it opened up. I fell over and was completely exhausted."
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Last edited by 357-RevolverGuy; 10-14-2020 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 10-14-2020, 11:13 AM
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The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient  
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That's an intense description of what I perceive real combat to be like. I feel like that's the combat moment that really sticks in a person's brain and dreams for the rest of their lives.

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Old 10-14-2020, 11:53 AM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is online now
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The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient The knife that saved the Iraq War's first living Medal of Honor recipient  
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I have one of those knives. I got it for $69 in late 80's/early 90's. The price then skyrocketed! The nylon sheath is lightly padded, and has straps to carry either vertically or horizontally. When I have to wear a sport coat or suit I have horizontally on my belt at 5:00 position (and often a Gerber multi tool at 7:00)

The light padding seemed an excess at first, but it muffles the bumping sound when it contacts a wall. Being a cross lock, it is illegale. in many southern states. They were produced in two lengths, mine has a 5.5" blade and isn't exactly leagle in my state, but don't pull it in front of an LEO and they don't say anything (Ohio's CCW does not cover knives, but you get some leeway!)

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Old 10-14-2020, 12:01 PM
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Thanks. I have a knife like that, but didn't know he used one.

An El Salvadoran soldier, out of ammo and the sole survivor of his unit, charged Iraqi insurgents and stabbed several, causing them to bolt.

He received his nation's equivalent to our MH and new knives like his.

I think you can see Bellevia's MH ceremony on YouTube, like most recent ones. And Lara Logan, then still on, 60 Minutes, interviewed Sal Guinta about his MH and how he earned it.

BTW, I had lunch with Col. Applegate a few years before his death. A fascinating man.

Last edited by Texas Star; 10-14-2020 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 10-14-2020, 01:04 PM
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As a side note, Bellavia's book, "House to House" is a real page turner.
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Old 10-14-2020, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterdeb View Post
As a side note, Bellavia's book, "House to House" is a real page turner.
Was unaware of the book- I’ll put that one on my list.
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Old 10-14-2020, 07:43 PM
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Check him on YouTube. He's an inspirational speaker, too.

BTW, his MH was the first in Iraq to a LIVING RECEPIENT. Paul Smith's was posthumous.

My son was fighting about 2 miles from where Sgt. Smith gave his life with such conspicuous gallantry.

Last edited by Texas Star; 10-14-2020 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:03 PM
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You can always depend on cold steel.
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan the Butcher View Post
I have one of those knives. I got it for $69 in late 80's/early 90's. The price then skyrocketed! The nylon sheath is lightly padded, and has straps to carry either vertically or horizontally. When I have to wear a sport coat or suit I have horizontally on my belt at 5:00 position (and often a Gerber multi tool at 7:00)

The light padding seemed an excess at first, but it muffles the bumping sound when it contacts a wall. Being a cross lock, it is illegale. in many southern states. They were produced in two lengths, mine has a 5.5" blade and isn't exactly leagle in my state, but don't pull it in front of an LEO and they don't say anything (Ohio's CCW does not cover knives, but you get some leeway!)

Ivan
I’m curious what makes the lock illegal?All the states I know in the south allow automatics and all types of knives.
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:43 PM
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I have that same knife as well. Fortunately I have never had to use it in a situation like that, and hope that I never do.
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Old 10-15-2020, 10:36 AM
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My XO was an airborne ranger with three tours in the Nam and a battlefield commission. He told me, if you use a knife, you WILL get cut. Get used to the idea or you will likely die.
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Old 10-15-2020, 01:13 PM
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I thought I could make out Fairbairn's name on the blade.
The Fairbairn Sykes Fighting Knives - Home Page
The Sykes-Fairbairn is the knife I most admire and lust for.
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Old 10-15-2020, 02:26 PM
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A knife will do the job. I cut a mugger in 1994 with a swiss army knife. I stuck it in his midsection and pushed and i could feel like twisted rubber cords giving way like prong prong PRONG. Pulled it back and went again and the blade folded back and cut deep into the tip of my thumb. Dudes eyes got big as saucers and he took a step back, turned and ran holding his belly. I stood in the street with my arms raised cheering like Rambo. Then dumb me reported it and was promptly arrested for AWDSI. 4500.0 lawyer dollars later i was cleared.
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Old 10-15-2020, 02:46 PM
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It’s my experience that an encounter with knives often leaves both parties bleeding.

That description of combat in the link was harrowing.
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Old 10-15-2020, 05:36 PM
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First rule of knife fighting-have a knife. Some are better than others of course.
Several recent veterans have told me the Army has become anti-knife, carrying even a Swiss Army knife, a "demo knife", a multitool marks you as a psycho and a nut case and earns you dirty looks and snide remarks, one Marine said he got tired of being hassled over carrying a multitool even though he used it regularly in his duties.
IIRC in years gone by Marines were issued a fighting knife-the Kabar, e.g. Marine doctrine was your bayonet stays on the end of your rifle. In my day the Gerber Mark II was the "in" knife, a Randall if you could get one. The Boy Scout and then demo knife I carried made opening cans of C rations a breeze.
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Old 10-15-2020, 05:37 PM
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I think the best line I ever heard about a knife fight was that one fighter will go to the hospital. The other will go to the morgue.

There are no longer any illegal knives in Texas. I'm not even sure I know what a cross lock knife is or why the lock itself would make a knife illegal. In some jurisdictions, NYC being a prime example until recently, if a knife can be opened one handed, especially if a flick of the wrist enables it, i.e., a gravity-type knife, it was an illegal weapon. That was true for years and years but recently I think NYC wised up and dropped that silly concept.

Warfare, especially in the 20th century from WW2 on, became a very sterile "thing" in terms of combat. Firing guns at distances behind cover became the norm. It became rare for warriors to engage in hand to hand combat, bayonet combat, or similar. I won't say never and the spec-ops fighters have their share of it but hand to hand "sword fighting", or hatchets, maces, etc., was a filthy and immensely staggering way to fight but human combatants did it for thousands of years.

After rifles came into play volley fire was often employed but even that is "dirty", not "sterile, because you're literally eye to eye. Not that clearing a house of enemy combatants is sterile but, regardless, the warrior uses cover and distance. To suddenly have to go hand to hand with an edged weapon has to be exceedingly frightening.

I'm fixing to raise a glass to Sgt. Bellavia as soon as I walk away from this computer! HOOAH!!!!
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Old 10-15-2020, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterdeb View Post
As a side note, Bellavia's book, "House to House" is a real page turner.
Yes. Yes it is.
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