In the spring of 1969 I was detailed to pick up my platoon’s mail at the company headquarters of C/75th Rangers in An Khe, Vietnam. Like many old-time post offices, the company mailroom featured a wall of “pigeon hole” slots that individual letters and packages could be slid into. Standing there waiting for the clerk to bag up our mail, I glanced over at this wall. It seemed like at least half of those pigeon holes had a long, narrow box in them shipped from a knife company in Portland, Oregon, called “Gerber Legendary Blades.” Of course, each contained what was a unique concept for the time: a purpose built, commercial fighting knife, the Gerber MK-II Combat.
First Designed in 1966
The Gerber MK-II is said to have been designed around a drawing sent to the company by Army Captain C.A. Holzman in 1966. I have been told he based the “wasp waist” pattern of the double-edge 7-inch blade on a Roman short-sword (I assume that would be the early “Mainz” pattern gladius). Others have called the MK-II an improved version of the WW-II Fairbairn-Sykes commando knife. In either case, the knife was obviously created to be a deadly weapon first and a tool second.