A few years ago I had the honor of reviewing a knife designed and manufactured to honor the first Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan. This week I have a similar honor as I review the Marc Lee Glory Knife - designed by Eddie Killian and manufactured by Benchmade to honor the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq. It is serendipitous that Benchmade would decide to produce the knife honoring a Navy SEAL who was originally from Oregon (given that Benchmade is HQd there). Let's take a look at the knife, Eddie's motivations, and what changes were made between first prototype and production model.
On August 2, 2006, Navy SEAL Marc Lee died in the line of duty in Iraq. Reportedly, he died after having stood, without cover, in the direct line of fire in front of fellow SEALs.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13
It is right and fitting to honor a warrior with a dedicated warrior's tool. With the exception perhaps of rocks and clubs, the knife is a warrior's oldest tool. With that in mind I spoke with Eddie Killian of K5 Tactical about the knife and his involvement with its production. Eddie was approached for involvement by Chief Steven C. Bronson (USN Ret). Chief Bronson was the man who commissioned the Neil Roberts Warrior Knife to honor the first Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan, so Eddie wasn't surprised that Bronson would be involved in this effort to honor Marc Lee. If you take a look at the pictures you can see that the knife is quite unique in appearance and I asked Eddie about that.
"This knife was designed to honor a Navy SEAL who had died, and that was my greatest influence in this effort. That was always in the back of my mind," he told me. "The media just doesn't properly cover this stuff," he said.
Eddie told me about an event he had just recently attended. On March 14th - just last month - which would have been Marc Lee's birthday, Eddie traveled to SEAL Team 3 to distribute limited edition specially engraved knives to members of Marc's task unit from Iraq. Marc's call sign was "Charle 14" and that was engraved on each blade directly below the K5 Tactical logo.
In attendance for the event were Eddie and his wife, Chief Bronson, Marc's mother, Marc's brother, Marc's sister-in-law and Marc's nephew. To the best of Eddie's recollection, 39 knives were distributed that day.
But my interview with Eddie wasn't just about what he did as part of this project. He was very quick to point out that:
- Benchmade Knives not only stepped up to pay the entire cost of the creation of the knife, but they've also funded all expenses related to starting the Marc Lee Foundation. The Foundation is intended to fund scholarships for active duty soldiers as well as funding construction for a recreation center in Marc's hometown in Oregon.
- SpecOps Brand developed the sheath, custom for this knife design. They donated all development time and materials.
The original prototype Eddie built was slightly different from the final product Benchmade produced. Most notably, the choil and hilt specifications are different between the two. With the balde made from 154CM and the grip slabs made out of G-10 synthetic, the knife quite easily handles use and abuse. The overall length of the knife is 12.5" and it weighs just over a half-pound at 10.1 ounces. The 7.3" blade has a ceramic-based coating that prevents corrosion from salt water or exposure to the elements.
While I haven't been able, as I said, to get one to actually abuse and test, it's my great pleasure to call this knife to your attention. It's a quality designed and built blade to honor a man who lived a quality life and gave it in the service of his country.