By Cari Gervin
Community News Writer
Father’s Day is just around the corner. If your dad is a Braves fan, wouldn’t he appreciate a tomahawk to take to this weekend’s sold-out showdown with the Boston Red Sox?
Doesn’t he crave a real, military tomahawk that can cut a car in half, break through a cement wall and split the Kevlar helmet of a terrorist? Who needs a foam tomahawk to do the Chop when you could use one of these babies?
Seriously, the fine staff at Turner Field would most definitely not let your father inside the gates with such a weapon in hand.
But if your dad loves knives, camping or the military —; and you have $350 to spend on him—; a tomahawk from Hixson’s own RMJ Tactical might be just the ticket.
Ryan Johnson, a blacksmithing and engineering wunderkind at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, first created the Eagle Talon Tactical Tomahawk in 2000 at the request of soldiers stationed in Bosnia.
After the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr. Johnson began to get orders from more and more members of the military. He crafted each weapon by hand, which took a long time.
In January 2005, Mr. Johnson decided to team up with family friends Richard and Jeff Carmack to form RMJ Tactical. Most of the production has been mechanized, but Mr. Johnson still sharpens every blade by hand.
And those blades are sharp. Richard Carmack said the tomahawk was originally crafted to cut through a Kevlar helmet in hand-to-hand ground combat. The team has since discovered that it can cut through metal and concrete.
Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, members of the Delta Force, SWAT teams and the Marines have all bought RMJ tomahawks over the past few years. Mr. Carmack said many family members are shipping them to their sons stationed in Iraq.
The company offers a discount for members of the active military and first responders and prioritizes orders that are going to soldiers.
Mr. Carmack said he gets stories every day from soldiers who have used their tomahawks to save lives. As one might imagine, most of these stories are too gruesome to tell.
However, Mr. Carmack recalled one young man writing to say he had used the weapon to chop live rockets off a crashed enemy plane, possibly preventing his compatriots from being blown up.
Still, large portions of tomahawk buyers are not fighting a war. Some are serious weapon aficionados, and some are serious outdoorsmen into wilderness survival skills.
The smaller Kestrel tomahawk is just as sharp as the larger Eagle, which makes it perfect for hacking down trees, cutting rope and killing any scary animal that might wander into your tent at night.
E-mail Cari Gervin at firstname.lastname@example.org
RMJ Tactical can be reached at 648-2772 or www.rmjtactical.com