The Story of "Earn It!"

Over the course of 162 years, Warwood Tool has been fortunate enough to supply some of the bravest men and women in our country’s great history. We have a long standing tradition of supplying the armed forces with various tools, but there may be no greater story between Warwood and the US Military than the story of “Earning a Warwood.” This story was brought to us courtesy of the USMC.

In World Wars I and II, hand dug trenches were a common battle ground. It was very common for soldiers on the front lines to dig foxholes/trenches, by hand, for many different reasons…cover, fighting position, defense, etc. In trench warfare it was common to crawl hundreds of meters just to climb into miles and miles of trenches, most not much bigger than a hall way. A long rifle and bullets does little damage in that environment, but knives, small shovels, clubs, and bats worked exceptionally well to rid the trenches of opposing forces...And many of the opposing forces knew this and would often carry knives and clubs.

Warwood Tool made their way in to this equation by being the US Military supplier of the Trenching Mattocks that the soldiers would use to dig the trenches. This tool was similar in design to a modern day pick mattock. It had a forged steel head that weighed approximately 3-4 lbs, and came with a detachable, slip on hickory handle that was between 24”-36” long (depending on the model). The handle was tapered so the head could slide down the handle to come off for easier packing and carrying, and then could be quickly slipped back on and fastened for digging.
Back in the trenches, the soldiers needed a weapon to give them an advantage over their opponents...They found such an improvised piece in the handle of the

Trenching Mattocks. Many Marines played sports and remained very athletic. Baseball, or a life on the farm was all the training the Marines needed to wield such a club. Later the tradition of "earning a Warwood" became a sort of trophy at school houses and for units to help instill camaraderie, as squads would compete for the honor of earning the Warwood. Different units would decorate them differently, but over time the tradition faded.

When we learned of this story at Warwood Tool we were humbled, honored, inspired, and left in awe of the men and women in our armed forces. Making hand tools pales in comparison to the work done defending a nation, but “Earning It!” every day, and making the absolute best hand tools we can make is our small contribution to those men and women. We carry the phrase “Earn It!” through everything we do…It’s how we keep their tradition alive in our plant, and it inspires us to be better every day.