Then your buddy got lucky or he's a GI getting ready to ship out to the sand box. I think they will expedite orders for servicemen. Both of my last 2 Randall's took over 5 years each, just like the estimate they gave me. They only require a $50 deposit, if I remember correctly. It's a pleasant surprise when they show up.
Yes you are correct. They have a special program for deploying servicemen. It is limited to a few models and options and require name etching of the buyer. Over the last decade, I have gotten a knife for my son while he was deployed. And I got one for myself during my final deployment.