Gerber is reinforcing its deep connection to the US Military in a new partnership with Team Red, White and Blue. The collaboration will put hundreds of Gerber products in the hands of veterans across the country, building on Gerber’s ties with service members that go back to the 60s.
Outside of military circles, today’s knife users are largely unaware of Gerber’s time-honored connection with the warfighter. “It’s something over the last decade that the brand has not talked enough about,” Andrew Gritzbaugh, Gerber’s VP of Marketing tells us. But he says many Vietnam veterans remember the MK-II, a fixed blade knife designed by Captain Buz Holman and first produced by Gerber in 1966. This fighting knife found its way overseas and quickly became an iconic piece of military history.
Gerber solidified its ties to the military during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Gritzbaugh says early on, the men and women of the Armed Forces were heading out with minimal equipment and Gerber tools were a common choice for soldiers doing their own gear shopping. “Guys were going to war with the kit they bought themselves at the PX [Post Exchange], and a lot of those products were Gerber knives and multitools.”
When the Army launched the Rapid Fielding Initiative in 2002, it examined what soldiers were carrying to determine what should be part of a standard issue loadout. It found that many were carrying the MP600, Gerber’s one-hand opening multitool. “That’s when it became standard issue,” Gritzbaugh says. “It was one of the biggest honors the company has ever had.”
Another common sight on US military bases is the 06 Automatic knife. Over 300,000 06 Autos have been issued in the 10 years since the knife’s release. “With the ramp up of the war you’ve got soldiers going down range facing all kinds of unforeseen problems,” Gritzbaugh explains. “An automatic knife is one of those pieces of equipment that every soldier or marine should have.” Last year the company celebrated the decade of service with an Anniversary Edition of the 06.
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Gerber’s new partnership with Team RWB will support the organization’s mission of enriching the lives of American’s veterans by connecting them to their community. Graduates of Team RWB’s year-long Eagle Leader Fellowship program will receive a “Still Serving” kit that contains two of Gerber’s latest releases, the US-Assist knife and the Center-Drive multitool. The company will also donate products to facilitate Team RWB-lead activities across the country. “Gerber’s commitment to service members extends beyond their time in active duty and we’re honored to support such a strong, growing, and impactful organization,” Gritzbaugh says.
Knife featured in image: Gerber 06 Auto