5th Special Forces Group (ABN) Iron Guard Mess Association SOG knife.
During the Vietnam War personnel assigned to Special Forces were paid an Independent Rations Allowance / a per diem. Each Special Forces Camp created a non-profit Mess Association that an individual would buy Club and Mess Hall chit books. With the proceeds they would purchase souvenirs (plaques, lighter, knives ect.) that were presented to the veteran at the end of his tour.
In 1967, the 5th Special Forces Group (ABN) Mess Association approached Conrad “Ben” Baker to have SOG knives manufactured that were engraved with the Special Forces Crest and 5th SPECIAL FORCES GROUP (Abn), VIETNAM on the blade. The original Mess Association knives that were manufactured through CISO’s contacts had a plum blade and were shipped to 5th SFG Headquarters. There was an issue with payment that was supposed to be made directly to the manufacture and Ben Baker had to intervene to have the invoice paid. Afterwards the manufacturer declined any further orders and the 5th SFG Mess Association had to acquire their knives through different channels. This is the reason for several different variations to the knives.
It should be noted that MAC V SOG personnel were augmented through 5th Special Forces Group and did not receive the Mess Association knife at the end of their tour, only 5th SFG personnel.