FORT BRAGG, NC – While Special Forces Soldiers are known for their mastery of many weapons, one weapon in their arsenal stands out in particular: the Yarborough Knife.
Named after Lt. Gen. William P. Yarborough, who is known as the “father of modern Special Forces,” the 12.5-inch combat utility knife began as a simple dinner conversation between Yarborough and Lt. Gen. Doug Brown about the need for a standard knife for Special Forces. Yarborough wanted Special Forces Soldiers to have a distinct edge blade weapon like their ancestors in World War II.
Beginning in August 2002 every Soldier who graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course, part of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, was issued the Yarborough Knife with its own serial number, and signed a special record book along with the most elite members of the United States Army, including Yarborough himself. The knife was also initially available for current Green Berets and Special Forces veterans.
Distribution of the Yarborough Knife was discontinued in 2004, after roughly one-thousand knives were issued. Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Csrnko, commanding general of USAJFKSWCS, reinstituted the issue of the knife, and was the first to sign for the new blades in 2008, with each knife now containing a serial followed by the limited edition number of its blade.
As each Green Beret crosses the stage upon graduation of the SFQC, he receives a legacy of the Brotherhood of Special Forces, signing in the pages of an illustrious history, shared by a select few. Only a few short years after its conception, the honor of the Yarborough Knife has now become almost as large of a part of the heritage and tradition of Special Forces as the Green Beret, and has also been shared with a small number of dignitaries such as President George W. Bush.