Wednesday, January 11, 2012

RMJ Tactical Shrike :: It's More than just a Tomahawk

My RMJ Tactical Shrike is a constant companion whenever I enter the wilderness or on long trips. Why? A better question is why not? Tomahawks have proven themselves immensely useful throughout history and into modern times.

My Shrike
When I entered the Army my father placed his hand on my shoulder and told me that when I deployed he would get me one deployment gift; the only stipulation was that it had to be a blade. Being a former Army Ranger my father believed in the usefulness of a good edged weapon. To this day he uses the phrase, "Stay Sharp, Do Your Job, Serve With Honor."

I received my RMJ Tactical Shrike before deploying to Iraq in the Spring of 2010 and had it on my person every mission I conducted. It worked as a great ice breaker during Iraqi Army/Police Check Point Engagements and clearing debris during Route Sanitation Missions.
The question I receive the most from people is, "Did you ever use it?" I tell them I used it all the time. It is a fabulous utilitarian tool as much as it's a work of art. Of course I know what they're insinuating... if I ever used it in anger. There was only one time that I was in a situation where I had to use it in a persuasive manor.

My platoon was on its way back to our base after conducting a daytime Route Sanitation Mission south of Baghdad when we found our Patrol caught in a large traffic jam just north of Baghdad. In an attempt to get around the traffic our patrol attempted to go around it by driving off the road. Our patrol consisted of six MRAPs and the first two vehicles had no problem, but when it came time for our largest vehicle to make this pass an old ceramic pipe about 24" in diameter broke and created a void that the front axle of the Buffalo filled.

Some of the locals saw the path that we were attempting to take and decided to follow and once they saw we were stopped again; they just arched wider around us. Now we were surrounded by traffic with a stuck vehicle. That's about the time our rear vehicles camera operator spotted a person pull a handgun and point it at other cars. In retrospect we figured he had brandished the pistol out of frustration and not because of our presence. Either way it added a sense of urgency to vacate the area. In order to get the vehicle out of the hole we needed more room to attach a tow bar and pull it out. Our LT had me dismount with eight other Soldiers with instructions to create enough of a buffer between our patrol and the traffic in order to maneuver.
I grabbed a handheld radio, positioned the Soldiers and proceeded to convince locals to move their vehicles. The first vehicle I walked up too was a beat up white sedan. I started to motion with my free hand and saying "Imshi!" or "Go Away" in Arabic. The man behind the wheel just glanced at me and kept talking to his passenger. This made me a bit upset so I tapped  on his window to get his attention and lifted my M4 from the low ready to a shouldered position; keeping the barrel pointed downward towards his wheel. He once again looked at me, smirked, and kept talking to his passenger. Locals know that we just can't start shooting for no apparent reason, so he was not overly concerned about following instructions. Now I was mad; so I reached for my Shrike. I kept it between my IOTV and body underneath my arm. I pulled it from it's sheath and smacked the front fender of his sedan with the flat side of it. His head quickly snapped around and saw me drawing my arm back for another swing. He threw his hands in the air yelling something as I smacked his car a second time yelling "Imshi!". That is when he started putting his car in gear and turning wheel away from our patrol and honking his horn. Before long we had created a bubble large enough to pull the Buffalo free. We quickly mounted back up and made our way through the traffic.

I know it isn't a really exciting story and I'm sure many other Servicemen have used their RMJ Tomahawks in much more serious situations, but that is my Shrike story.

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  1. Great story! This made me smile.

  2. Caleb,
    I love this story. Thanks for your service over there.


  3. I have owned a number of tomahawks, but I have to admit that the RMJ tactical shrike is a resourceful and versatile piece. This is indeed the weapon I must have in the most extreme conditions where structural failure is not an option. Thanks for the story, it’s really helpful. I similarly found additional info from the following website:

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