During the earlier years of my law enforcement career, when I served as a revolver-toting police officer, I rarely if ever carried a pocketknife. But this changed when I joined the U.S. Customs Service and was issued two edged-weapons along with two handguns, a 9mm submachine gun, a Colt CAR-15 and a short-barreled Remington 870 Police model shotgun. One of the edged weapons I carried strapped to my survival vest was a government-issue aircrew survival knife. I carried this and other knives when I flew drug interdiction missions and covert air operations in the Caribbean, as well as when I participated in undercover marine operations to the coast of Colombia.
During one air interdiction mission on a Bahamian island, we rescued a private pilot who was badly burned after crash-landing his marijuana-laden aircraft in shallow water along the coast. The PIC (pilot in charge) of a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter intentionally left me behind because he believed the badly burned “suspected” drug smuggler was in urgent need of medical care. As soon as they left the area, I was quickly confronted by a large group of smugglers who beached their go-fast boats nearby. I stood on the beach, the only person clad in a green Nomex flight suit, a U.S. Customs raid jacket, a 9mm pistol, several spare magazines and a U.S. military-issue aircrew survival knife—it was obvious who I was.