Boker USA Pattern 155
Updated: Oct 8, 2018
The FIRST USAF pilot's survival knife...
Curtis LeMay’s First Choice for a Survival Knife
Most collectors are aware of the Mark 3 Fighting Knives and the U.S. Navy Mark 1 Utility Knives manufactured by Boker USA during WW2. But few are aware of another knife that Boker USA manufactured for the United States armed forces during the late 1940s and 1950s.
This military version of the 155 pattern is badly worn and poorly sharpened.
In 1948, Curtis LeMay assumed command of America’s newly formed Strategic Air Command. Over the next ten years he built an all-jet bomber force. Under his leadership, plans were made for the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile capability. The nuclear age had arrived, and LeMay crafted America’s defense system.
The air force needed to improve its survival kits and equipment, especially for cold weather artic regions. The fastest route to the Soviet Union in case of nuclear war was over the northernmost part of the globe. A good knife and survival kit were critical to the survival of a long range bomber crew if things went wrong – even in training missions.
The knife selected for use in the E-1 survival kit had to be small and lightweight. It would be used primarily as a survival tool, not a weapon. The knife chosen for this mission was made by Boker USA, the model 155. The overall length was 8 ¼”, with a blade lenth of 4 ½ inches. The weight was 6 ounces.
Boker continued to make this knife for many years, in both civilian and military versions. The primary differences between the two being the sheath, and a hole which was drilled in the pommel of the military version – to be used to add a thong or lanyard.