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02 Ralph I enlisted in the U.S. Army when I turned 17. The Army wanted me to get into some sort of tech job (due to my high test scores), but I opted for combat arms. When I got my orders for the 25th ID, my mom wanted me to be safe and apparently have the ability to tell time—she bought me a really nice watch (which I lost during an airmobile mission) and a knife. It was an OKC 499 Survival knife. Like any wild-eyed kid, I had to name the knife; I named it “Ralph.”

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Opposite page: The author's four knives (left to right): OKC 499, KA-BAR Little Finn, Remington pocket knife, Russell Barlow

Below: OKC 499. This knife served the author well during 10 years of military service. The stories it could tell (the author is glad it can’t talk!).

Ralph stayed strapped to my web gear. If I had down time, I spent it cleaning and sharpening Ralph. That knife was always ready in case I ever needed it. I became known among some of the other men by my knife; and nobody asked to borrow it. Ralph has a carbon-steel blade that really holds an edge. That knife was always with me during the 10-plus years I spent in the military. After that, it served as my hunting/bush knife. I have since retired Ralph. It served me well, and I still clean and sharpen it on a regular basis.

OKC 499 Ontario Knife Company (OKC) has been making the 499 for decades, and it has been carried by U.S. military personal the entire time. The Blade is 50-55 HRC that keeps an extremely sharp edge. The knife has an overall length of 9.5 inches, and the blade has a flat grind on the primary bevel and a swedge at the tip. The knife comes with a heavy leather sheath complete with a small sharpening stone.

MAY/JUNE 2019 • KNIVES ILLUSTRATED 77 10/25/2018 9:45:26 PM

3/5/19 1:07 AM

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