Gunny talks with Sgt. Andrew Jacobson, a commander with Company C, 1st Tank Battalion. Working with director Sidney J. Furie, Gunny recently worked on a training film for the Marines’ Individual First Aid Kit (I.F.A.K.).
TK: What have you been working on lately?
I just finished making a training film for the Marines in San Diego with Sidney J. Furie—the director of my first movie, The Boys in Company C, and my third, Purple Hearts. It’s about the Marines’ new and improved Individual First Aid Kit (I.F.A.K.). Sidney asked me to join him to make this 15-minute film for the troops on using this kit that is going to save lots of lives. For my part, I was there two days with Sidney and the troops and had a blast.
TK: Speaking of stuff for the troops, how do today’s MRE’s, Meals Ready to Eat, compare to the old C-Rations of your day?
They do not compare whatsoever. You give me a choice of the MREs and the C-Rations, and I’ll take the C-Rations every time. The MREs are really bland, and you can be more creative with the C-Rations. The MREs are more crammed with calories, though, so these young warriors of today out there humping get calories faster than we did. But for taste…it’s C-Rations. I’ve got cases of MREs in the barn, though, in case we ever have an earthquake or disaster. They make great “Bug-Out” rations.
TK: In the movie Sommersby, with Richard Gere and Jodie Foster, you played a blacksmith. Do you think you could do it for real—forge your own blade and make a knife?
I’m a firm believer that I could. I could run a forge. A knife doesn’t have a lot of working parts, you know. All I would need to figure out would be the steel. That’s the difference between a good knife and a bad knife. For me the right hardness has to be the one that will hold an edge longest. Once I had that right, I think I could make the handle and do all the rest.
TK: Is shaving hair on your arm the quickest and best way to test your knife’s sharpness?
It works for me. Absolutely. Also, from experience, I can lightly run my finger across the blade and know when that sucker is really sharp.
TK: In Hollywood movies, guys cut their fingers just by touching a Samurai blade. Are they so sharp you can’t even touch them?
No—that’s “Hollyweird.” You can touch them. But you gently rub your finger across—not down the blade.
TK: On your show “Lock ‘N Load,” you compared General George Patton’s saber with the old cavalry swords. Which one won?
They were reproductions, and we were hitting bags full of shavings, like sawdust. We were on a horse, charging full blast to take a swipe at the bag, which was hanging on a rope. If you hit a man with those reproductions, it would kill him, no doubt about it. But we couldn’t even penetrate the burlap wrapping with those junk blades. Only when we used the saber and swords as a lance could we penetrate the bags. The cavalry sword had a nice bend in it, so as far as I’m concerned, it is the more effective weapon—even though the reproduction garbage didn’t prove it. You can’t use precious 200-year-old swords in tests like these.
TK: I understand you have a big summer movie opening on July 27 with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill.
It’s a funny movie, called Neighborhood Watch. It’s caused a bit of an uproar because of the title and the initial trailer, in light of what has happened with the Neighborhood Watch in Florida. But the film is actually more of a sci-fi/extra terrestrial angle. My experience working with Ben, Vince and Jonah was a blast—we did a lot of ad lib, those guys are comic geniuses. It’ll be hilarious.
TK: The Knife Rights group (kniferights.org) you support is having a big battle in New York where District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has launched an all-out attack on pocketknives.
I am fully behind the group, and everybody interested in their Second Amendment Rights ought to be. The NYPD arrested a man for having a legal-sized pocketknife in his pocket. Then they used that as an excuse to go into his house and take all his guns. When they finally decided the knife was legal and let him out of jail, he couldn’t get his guns back. Make no mistake: these anti-knife people are really after your guns. We’d better start engaging them right now.
TK: Do you see this year’s election as critical for gun and knife owners?
I really want to use this column to encourage all 18-and-above people to get out and vote this November. Study the issues, study the candidates. Never mind if they’re Democrat or Republican. Where do they stand on knife rights, gun control and ownership? That’s the question. Your voice must be heard on this critical subject. Get out there and vote in November.
TK: Do you have a new book for us?
I’ve been reading and loving “Killing Lincoln,” by columnist Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. The subtitle is “The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever.” This is a book you can’t put down, a huge bestseller because it captures more details and suspense. If you’re any kind of history or Civil War buff, you’d better get this book, because it is phenomenal. Get it at Amazon and other places, like your library.
TK: Did you hear about the 6-year-old boy being attacked by a mountain lion in the Big Bend National park in Texas? His father came to his rescue with a Spyderco Calypso pocketknife with a 3-inch blade. Stabbed the lion repeatedly and drove it away. The boy had bites and scrapes but nothing life-threatening.
Obviously a brave man, and a reminder to carry a knife out there where we don’t know what’s going to happen. The Boy Scouts have it right: “Be prepared!”
TK: Do you like a Gut Hook on a knife for deer and big game?
A Gut Hook makes it a lot easier to get the stomach out of the animal without tearing it open, and having its contents wash all over your meat. Once you slice into that stomach, you’ve got a real mess, with tainted meat.
TK: The Mountain Men we admire so much for their skills and experiences were said to like buffalo meat so much that they could eat 8 to 10 pounds a day. You have a lot of buffalo in your freezer. Is it that much better than other meats?
Because I always shoot the oldest bulls, my buffalo meat is mixed with hamburger. The old bulls don’t make the best steaks and roasts. But they do make the greatest hamburger, with zero fat! I think the Mountain Men were right about the taste. It’s better than beef. Farmers have grain-fed their beef with corn and stuff to fatten them up. They can’t depend on the grass alone, like buffalo. So farmers fatten up the cattle. It makes the price higher, but it’s harder on the arteries. But we haven’t clawed our way up through the food chain so we can just eat vegetables. I want red meat, but I want to watch the fat.
TK: Those Jeremiah Johnson type guys sat around the fire with their Green River knives, slicing off big chunks of buffalo and eating right from their knife blades.
What’s wrong with that? It’s just like me going to the fridge and taking a swig of milk right from the carton.
TK: Thanks, Gunny.
For all kinds of Gunny memorabilia and DVDs, including DVDs, including “Full Metal Jacket” and “Mail Call” episodes, check out the Gunny Digital Px at px.rleeermey.com.
Gunny talks with Sgt. Andrew Jacobson, a commander with Company C, 1st Tank Battalion.…
by Jay Langston / Sep 1, 2012