SEAL Team 6, best known for killing Osama bin Laden in 2011, used hatchets made by Daniel Winkler, a North Carolina knife maker who forged blades for the 1992 movie “The Last Mohicans” starring Daniel Dey-Lewis, according to the The New York Times.
The article titled, “The Secret History of SEAL Team 6: Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines,” claims that “during one period, members of Team 6’s Red Squadron — its logo shows crossed tomahawks below the face of a Native American warrior — received a Winkler hatchet after their first year in the squadron.”
In an interview, Winkler refused to say which SEAL units had received his tomahawks, but acknowledged that many were paid for by private donors.
Several former Team 6 members said that some SEAL members carried the hatchets on missions, and at least one killed an enemy fighter with the weapon.
Dom Raso, a former Team 6 member who left the Navy in 2012, said that hatchets were used “for breaching, getting into doors, manipulating small locks, hand-to-hand combat and other things.” He added that hatchet and blade kills occurred during his time with the SEALs.
“Whatever tool you need to protect yourself and your brothers, whether it is a blade or a gun, you are going to use,” said Raso, who has worked with Mr. Winkler in producing a blade.
The article also claims many SEAL operators refused to use tomahawks — because they were too bulky to take into combat and not as effective as firearms.
“It’s a dirty business,” said one former senior enlisted Team 6 member. “What’s the difference between shooting them as I was told and pulling out a knife and stabbing them or hatcheting them?”
The article takes a close look at how Team 6 operates, and describes a cuture of secrecy surrounding Team 6, saying it’s “so shrouded in secrecy — the Pentagon does not even publicly acknowledge that name.” It goes on to call it “one of the nation’s most mythologized, most secretive and least scrutinized military organizations,” saying the unit “has been transformed by more than a decade of combat into a global manhunting machine.”