Make sure when you are carving it is in a well lite area and it has your undivided attention; Otherwise, you'll end up with cut up fingers. Go slow never feel like your going to slow and have to go faster this can lead to accidents.
Instead of trying to explain the different cuts and how to handle the knife I'm just going to redirect you to a really nice video on youtube. Click Here For Link This video explains everything really well.
Tools you need:
Carving knife, I use a Mora Erik Frost 122,
piece of wood( any piece of old wood will do; mine is just a cheap board I used for breaking in Tae Kwon Do)
A printer or sketching skills.
Step 1: Find a Silhouette
Step 2: Rough Sketch
Step 3: Rough Carving
Step 4: Finish Up
Now you have a cool looking relief carving you can hang on the wall, or put on your desk.
Happy Veterans Day!