Knives Made from Buffalo Horns Went to Rickover

Associated Press

General Dynamics Corp. went to such lengths to please Adm. Hyman G. Rickover that it bought two Asian water buffalo horns to satisfy one of his requests, according to an investigative report.

Gifts and services provided to Rickover by General Dynamics were disclosed Tuesday in a report to the secretary of the Navy written by the Ad Hoc Gratuities Board, a panel of three top Navy officials created last November to investigate the matter.

The Navy released the investigative report after receiving a check from General Dynamics for a fine of $676,283.30 to settle $67,628.30 in improper gifts and services.

12 Fruit Knives


In one instance it detailed, General Dynamics said it had been asked to produce 12 fruit knives with water buffalo horn handles “based upon a sample of a knife provided by Adm. Rickover.”

The company produced the knives after testing Rickover’s sample for metal composition, had them “washed in gold by a commercial firm” and dispatched an employee to New York City to buy two Asian water buffalo horns to complete them.

Free Chauffeur Services

Rickover, known as the “father of the nuclear Navy” before his retirement in 1982, received free chauffeur services and gifts of a used encyclopedia set, special Italian appliances and “a type of shower curtain he had admired in a hotel.”


General Dynamics also provided Rickover with “five to eight hard-bound books selected from the New York Times best-seller list during each sea trial” of a nuclear submarine.

Other “gratuities” listed included free dry-cleaning services whenever Rickover went out on sea trials with a new submarine, along with an electric toothbrush, lemon drop candy and “25 to 30 pounds of fresh fish . . . and a variety of fresh fruit for each sea trial.”