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Marine NCO Sword Certification Details

Our WKC sword is currently certified by Marine Corps Systems Command. The USMC Certification Regulation requires the serial number be etched on the spine of the blade and directs that certifications for items like swords be renewed every 3 years.

  • Country One's sword was certified in 2002, but needs to be renewed (which will require the addition of the serial number to the edge of the blade) or the certification will be revoked.
  • Country Two's sword certification has been expired for decades. Worse, some of Country Two's reseller web sites state that the certification number does not need to be on the spine of the blade ... a deceptively false statement. Country Two's expired certification number is located within the maker's mark, and not on the spine as required.
  • For detailed information about certifications and why some are falsely claiming to be certified, read the text below the images...

Does the Serial Number Have to be on the Spine?

For vendors selling to the individual Marine ... yes.
For bidders to Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support (formerly DSCP)... currently no.

Quality Assurance Certification Manual for Marine Corps Uniform Items and Accessories, USMC Regulation 180 002910 00, 29 Jan 2004, page 4, (2),"Re-certification is required of all vendors and manufacturers. End item manufacturers are re-certified every three years."

Quality Assurance Certification Manual for Marine Corps Uniform Items and Accessories, USMC Regulation 180 002910 00, amended 01 July 2004, page 14, says (reference to serial number location): "On the top of the sword spine behind the hilt."

This confusion between vendors selling to individual Marines and bidders to DLA Troop Support has caused some internet resellers to deceptively claim that their non-certified swords are actually certified.

For each year over the past few years, DLA Troop Support has advertised contracts to supply the Marine Corps with "non-personalized" swords that are kept in Unit Arms Rooms for temporary issue to Marine NCOs. These swords have no name block in the etch ... hence non-personalized. DLA Troop Support solicitation documents for the contract include the correct technical specifications for the Marine NCO Sword, but do not refer to any certification requirements. The civilians in DLA Troop Support evaluate the sample swords and take the low-bid sword that in their opinion meets the Marine Corps' specification. In the past, they have not required a certification number on the blade.

We have found it interesting that many times over the past several years, the contract was issued as a one-year contract that the Government could optionally extend for up to five years. On many occasions, the contract was not extended and re-advertised for another bid again. This situation usually indicates that the incumbent contractor has problems with delivery regarding time or quality, or both, so the Government has chosen not to exercise the extension option.

Hence, some resellers of swords that have won the DLA Troop Support contract are claiming their swords are certified by the USMC, when they have simply been purchased by the government agency.

The Marine Corps Systems Command learned of this disconnect and has since been working with DLA Troop Support to bring the procurement process into compliance with the Marine Corps' regulations and specifications.

We write all of this at the HUGE risk of sounding as if we are whining. Actually, our goal is to equip Marines with the full truth to counter the dangerous half truths. We believe that a half truth equals a half lie and is deceptively dangerous, not unlike drinking a glass of water that is half pure water and half sewage. We are tired of Marines being deceived regarding the quality of the merchandise they are buying.

Marlow White has never shied away from ethical competition. As of April 2006, the Marine Corps Systems Command listed ONLY the following certifications as current for the Marine NCO Sword:

  • Current:
    • Marlow White Uniform Company (made by WKC, Germany)
    • Marine Shop (made by WKC, Germany)
    • Wilkinson Sword (United Kingdom, but no longer producing swords)
    • Officer's Equipment Company (made by Schmitz, Germany). Note (11/2011): Schmitz has not delivered swords to Officer’s Equipment Company since 2008, although there still may be some swords available.

As of April 2006, the Marine Corps Systems Command listed two manufacturers as legacy certifications which require updating or they will be revoked:

  • Legacy Certifications (prior to 2002):
    • Hilborn-Hamburger (certification from 1994, unknown manufacturer and origin)
    • Atlanta Cutlery (certification from 1996, made in India)

The Marine Corps changed their certification requirements in 2002 to require periodic reviews and updates of certifications every 3 years. Atlanta Cutlery and Hilborn-Hamburger were both "grandfathered" and remain certified with a "legacy certification" that predated the change. The Marine Corps is requiring that legacy certifications be updated, whereupon their certification will be renewed and changed to a "Current" status or their certification will be revoked. Upon re-certification, the company must etch its certification number on the spine of the blade.

Return to Marine NCO Sword Comparisons.
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[photos are not retouched]
Marlow White's swords and sabers have ceremonial blades. As such, they are built to strict military regulations to be used in drills, ceremonies, and displays. These blades are of the highest quality but are not sharpened for use as a weapon.
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