While I’d been reading Chuck Karwan’s articles for some time, actually meeting him for the first time took me by a bit of surprise. Twenty some years ago I was walking the aisles at the Oregon Knife Collector’s Show in Eugene when I happened to notice Chuck and his daughter, Kate, behind one of the tables. Until that time I didn’t realize Chuck was living relatively close to Eugene and my wife’s family. I introduced myself, talked shop with him for a while, and bought a stack of old magazines off his daughter, something I made a point of doing at several following shows (remember Kate?). Chuck and I soon became close friends. Not long after that he introduced me to an old Special Forces buddy of his, Sergeant Major John Larsen. John was still on active duty with a SF unit at Fort Lewis in those days. As anyone that has shared a meal with them will tell you, it was hard to beat the “comedy team” of “Chuck and John” for entertainment. They were natural foils for each other’s wit.
The late Peter Capstick once told me that our writing specialty was made up of too small a group of people for anything but “first names.” Hanging out with Chuck really brought that home to me, as he had soon introduced me to the majority of the better known firearm and hunting writers in the business. Over the next several years Chuck and I worked closely on a number of projects. I contributed chapters to a couple of his DBI handgun books, and with his help, published several firearm articles in Gun World magazine. We also worked together on the start up of another combat knife oriented magazine during late 1980s. Naturally, when I was asked to be the editor of Tactical Knives, Chuck was one of the first people I called to give me a hand.
If you want to really get to know someone, try taking an all night, nonstop 1,000-mile road trip with him. Chuck and I did this several times over the years, having long conversations about our pasts just to stay awake on the road. For those who have not heard, Chuck was a West Point graduate, an all-services wrestling champion, an infantry platoon leader with the First Cavalry Division in Vietnam, the honor graduate of his Ranger class, and a Special Forces officer for a number of years after the war. As a writer, he penned hundreds of firearm and cutlery articles in a wide range of publications. He also turned out several well researched combat hand-gunning works for the old DBI Books. As anyone that knew him will tell you, Chuck was a walking encyclopedia of technical firearm information and most of it was from first-hand experience with the weapons in question.
Those of us close to Chuck knew his health hadn’t been the best for the last year or so. In late summer he went through a delicate heart surgery and, for a while, it looked like things were looking up for him. On September 8th Chuck suffered a sudden massive heart attack and passed away.
I think I can speak for everyone at Harris Publications when I say loosing Chuck is a tragedy none of us will soon get over. He was one of the most knowledgeable and likeable writers in the business. He was also one of my closest friends. Our heart felt sympathy goes out to his family.
-Steven Dick, Editor In Chief
SOG's Contractor is a fully-functional folding knife influenced by the construction industry.
by Tactical Life / Mar 21, 2009