SSD: In Memoriam SGM Billy Waugh (USA, Ret)

I’m sorry to report that the legendary Billy Waugh, who served his nation for over 50. years in US Army Special Forces, and after his military retirement with the Central Intelligence Agency, has passed away at age 93.

Born William D. Waugh, he hailed from Bastrop, Texas and joined the US Army in 1948. Initially serving as a paratrooper with later service in the Korean War, he eventually joined Special Forces and served there until his retirement in 1972 at the rank of Sergeant Major. In 1977 he joined the CIA as an paramilitary operations officer and retired from that gig in 2005.

Baddass American. May his memory be a blessing.

You can read the whole thing at Soldier Systems Daily.

In Memoriam SGM Billy Waugh (USA, Ret)

SGM Billy Waugh was someone for whom DPx Gear’s Robert Young Pelton had a great deal of respect. I wrote about a collaboration between them and Bill Harsey Jr. in 2021…

Robert Young Pelton launches new ventures and a new knife with Bill Harsey Jr.

Robert Young Pelton is an Author, Founder of DPx Gear, Adventure Traveler, and Waffle House Aficionado. He has rescued refugees, tracked war criminals across multiple continents, and chronicled dozens of conflicts worldwide in both print and film. He has launched a pair of new ventures, as well as a new knife collaboration with William Harsey Jr., which pays tribute to Special Forces and CIA Paramilitary legend Billy Waugh.

Pelton “first met Billy when he was writing his book Licensed to Kill, Hired Guns in The War on Terror.  Driving his cop Harley across the country during the winter,  Billy graciously took out time from his wedding day to meet at the local Waffle House.The two men – one an author, and one an operator, both veterans of numerous hot spots often at the same time – hit it off immediately. They have been fast friends ever since.” (via

The DEMO has a titanium body with 3-Dimensional diamond grip detailing. Its 3.78” blade is made from M390 steel and hinges on an IKBS bearing pivot. It carries a matte-black PVD coating. An awl/marlinspike riding on bronze washers swings out from the back of the handle. It is made by LionSTEEL in Maniago, Italy.

The RYP Design/Bill Harsey DEMO will be released in an initial 250 piece Billy Waugh edition with his signature laser engraved on the pocket clip. Bill Harsey’s signature will be etched on the blade. Following this, an unsigned version of the DEMO will enter regular production. This limited edition carries an MSRP of $565, though the unsigned version will come in at a lower, but yet to be determined price point.

The DEMO is the first product to be released under Pelton’s new RYP Design company. In addition to knives, RYP Design “is a new venture in which Robert Young Pelton will partner with designers and industry legends to create unique products ranging from knives, to books, to graphic novels, to survival designs”. The second new venture is a company called Straack, which will serve as the exclusive dealer for RYP Design products as well as “curate the finest equipment, tools, clothing and gear for those who don’t just rely on their equipment, they invest in it”. The name originates with the military acronym STRAC (for Strategic Army Corps), an elite unit dating back to the 50’s, but whose name has also been used to describe individuals and units who are well organized and a step above. Pelton describes Billy Waugh as “the living (he’s now 91) definition of what it is to be STRAC”.

You can learn more about Pelton, RYP Design, the DEMO, and Straack at the and websites.