BY: Garret Macrine, CPP
Law Enforcement Instructor
Miami-Dade School of Justice
In the year 2002, I was just about to graduate from university with a degree in business and entrepreneurship. I was living in Miami the last 3.5 years after graduating from Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne PA. I was 22 at the time and looking for a challenge and an adventure, and I wanted to help fight terrorism and be on the front lines. Due to my heritage, I was entitled to dual citizenship with Israel. Shortly after I arrived in August I was given a national ID card and then put into the draft, by November I was in a uniform in the IDF.
Before I left I packed up all my worldly possessions into suitcases, then booked my flights months early because I was so eager to go. I remember looking at those bags each and every day waiting to leave. Then I realized something, it had been weeks that I had not used the contents of the bags, highlighting the fact that I didn’t need all that stuff. We go through life accumulating ”stuff” to own and eventually our stuff owns us. I had a paradigm shift and decided to go to Israel with only what I absolutely needed and what would fit in a single large ruck I could carry on my back.
So the quest started by packing light and smart. The more I researched about what I would need in Israel and in the IDF, the more interesting and education packing became. With only a couple of weeks left I started furiously researching and getting what I needed. I came across a catalog company called Shomer-Tec where I found several interesting items for someone just like me, one item that sparked my interest was a titanium knife called an MPK. The ad said it was made by a company called Mission. I had never heard of them and I already had a knife called a Buck Field Mate, and I had a Leatherman and a Spyderco clipit. The MPK was their only product at the time and was interesting to me because of a few attractive features, first it was extremely light weight, which was critical, second it was advertised that it had gone through some pretty grueling trials with the US Navy. You could pry with it, dig with it and hammer with it. I thought this was great and the only thing that held me back was the price. I called Shomer-Tec and spoke to the owner, a nice man named Jeff who was also a veteran of the IDF, which was a coincidence. I got the knife for cost. When it came in the mail it was much lighter then I expected. I remember thinking it looked like a shark.
The knife came with me to Israel and ended up as part of my kit and in my vest in combat. It also served as my utility knife for odd jobs around the base and even where I lived. The knife came with a bulky sheath that didn’t work well with my vest. IDF combat vests have a built in place for a fixed blade knife right behind the 5.56 magazine pouchs on your front. The space is not big enough for the whole sheath because it was designed for a USMC KA-Bar which were given to the IDF by the US. The KA-Bar has a light thin leather sheath. So my solution was to get a KA-Bar sheath and cut it with a razor along the back edge so as to make a blade cover that would just prevent the knife from cutting the fabric of my vest. For the next several years I wore the knife on my vest and used it every week. I opened ammo creates with it that came on pallets, I cut cord and line with it, I opened cans of food in the field with it. I preyed open several locked closets and interior doors of terrorist houses when searching them after contact. If it was a metal door I used our set of irons or hydraulics, but a wooden frame unit was perfect for my knife. It was fun to use it in that capacity. I enjoyed testing the blades tinsel strength against anything needing destruction. The metal was very flexible and would always return to its true form. Edge retention was a problem but the serrated portion maintained a good cutting surface.
I used that knife for everything in the military, except it never cut enemy flesh.
Later I came back to the US on a vacation and met up with some friends from college in Miami. We decided to take a surfing trip to Costa Rica. I took the knife with me. We spent two weeks living in a tent at a different beach every night. All we had was a rented 4X4, a tent and what we could carry in our rucks with three surf boards on the roof. In this setting the sheath was perfect! I tied the two holes at the top of the sheath through the drawstring in my board shorts so the knife was essentially at my crotch on my waistline dead center. The knife stayed there when I surfed, sleep, drove, hikes and most important I used that knife every day for opening coconuts to drink and eat. After you drink coconut water and eat it for three days you get terrible bowel issues, but then it goes away and you are fine with it. The knife dulled by then and was now relying on power of the swing and I found a large stick to hammer the back of the knife through stuff. Like coconut husk. By the end of the trip the edge was almost rounded and would not cut skin. As soon as I got state side I sent the knife off to a place called pioneer valley knife and tool. They sharpened the knife for me for only $5. + shipping. It came back as good as new. I got robbed in Costa Rica 3 times, yes 3. Once was in my sleep they broke into my rental car on the beach. Man it was desolate out there, days would pass and we would see no one at all, but they saw us. The second time they stole one of our surf boards while we were out in the water. We left one board back and it was taken off the top of the truck. We saw it happen but we were so far out we swam back and the culprit was long gone. Third time is a charm, this time the guy tried to steel our camera out of our bag after we gave him a ride, we caught him later that night in a small town near by and the knife was used as a tool of intimidation. No violence, no words. Just a 7 inch blade in my hand at night on a deserted dirt road was enough. Both thieves ran and dropped the camera. Costa was fun.
Back in Israel not long after and by now I had a custom Kydex sheath made for the knife and was not carrying it on my vest front any more, I mounted horizontally at the base of my vest in the rear, it was in between my ruck that I would wear in the field. I could grab it by reaching behind my back under my ruck and it could come right out. I made this decision because I was in a house arresting a terrorist with my team. To say the least, the terrorist resisted just when the flex cuffs where going on, we had a short but intense fight and he was subdued and handcuffed by us. I quickly realized I didn’t want a weapon easy for both of us to get to. The Kydex was zip tied to a molle like mount on the back of the vest. It stayed there the rest of my time in combat service. In the IDF I saw many knives, KA-Bar, Spyderco, Emerson, Cold Steel but my knife became a team favorite, everyone wanted to use it when a knife was needed. Even the two guys in my team who each had SOG Pentagon knives because they knew their blades were limited to combat and not utility.
Fast forward to 2012 and I am back in the US permanently, this time in the USCG, I served as a member of TACLET South until 2020. The knife is still used often and perhaps closer to the environment it was designed for, the sea. However it does not do even close to the work it did over in the Middle East, interestingly I have seen one with an orange handle in the CG used on the small boats. Due to budgetary constraints the CG now uses Spyderco H1 Jumpmaster as their knife of choice. This is a much less expensive option.
I have used this knife in combat, in the Middle East, on the sea, in the Costa jungle, in my kitchen, in my garden, in the FL Everglades, in the Colombian jungle and I will say the following to conclude. It is the one fixed blade knife that is my go to for any task requiring such a tool. Being one of the originals produced by Mission, it is lacking some of the modern metal working techniques now used in todays Mission products to help these knives maintain their sharp edge when cutting harder materials over extended periods in the field. Also I would recommend having at least two sheaths for the knife, one of them being a low profile variety with rivets. More recently I started to carry the MPS and a Tec-Lok sheath. The MPS is easier to conceal and out of site when I do low visibility LE work and it can easily transition to my vest for heavy work.