In a piece filled with insight from former members on the controversial assaults done by the team, one eye-opening portion revealed that sometimes Team 6's choice of weapon during nights raids are “primeval tomahawks.”
And not just any tomahawk, but ones created by renowned North Carolina knife maker Daniel Winkler.
Winkler is known best for his Native-American designs, which led to filmmakers of the 1992 drama “The Last of the Mohicans,” set during the French and Indian War in the 1750s, to call on Winkler to create realistic tomahawks and knives for the film.
Winkler notes that along with making rubber versions for the film’s action sequences, he and his team also created “actual functioning knives and tomahawks” that the actors did carry.
Winkler was also brought on as a consultant for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow’s 2012 Best Picture nominated film looks at the decade-long hunt for bin Laden, including his death at the hands of SEAL Team 6.
In the New York Times story, members of Team 6’s Red Squadron, which brandishes a logo of crossed tomahawks below the face of a Native American warrior, received a hatchet made by Winkler after their first year on the team.
Former members tell the paper that some on the team “carried the hatchets on missions, and at least one killed an enemy fighter with the weapon.”
Though the story points out that SEAL operators reject the use of tomahawks because they are “too bulky to take into combat and not as effective as firearms,” former Team 6 member Dom Raso told the Times that during his time with the unit he saw the hatchets used “for breaching, getting into doors, manipulating small locks, hand-to-hand combat and other things.” He tells the paper he did see hatchet kills.
According to the story, Winkler said many of the tomahawks were paid for by private donors.
Business Insider reached out to Winker for insight on the weapons he provided SEAL Team 6, but he said he could not “discuss my involvement with any of the US Special Operations community.”
However, he did grant us permission to include pictures of tomahawks that he sells on his site.
Here’s a look at some of Winkler’s custom-designed works:
Titled the WK II Stealth Axe, it's described on the site as a "close quarters axe."
WK II Winkler/Sayoc RnD Hawks was made with the goal to "exceed the standards of what a tomahawk could be — a practical application tool of exceptional craftsmanship."
WK II Hammer Combat Axe is "the same as those carried by elite SOF (Special Operations Forces) operators."
WK II Combat Axe is another favorite of the SOF community specialized for "breaching/combat."