According to the AP [via KTUU], the U.S. Army has dropped bayonet practice from basic training. “Adapting to battlefield experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army is revamping its basic training regimen for the first time in three decades by nixing five-mile runs and bayonet drills in favor of zigzag sprints and honing core muscles . . . Bayonet drills had continued for decades, even though soldiers no longer carry the blades on their automatic rifles. [Army Training and Doctrine Command Lt. Gen. Mark] Hertling ordered the drills dropped. ‘We have to make the training relevant to the conditions on the modern battlefield,’ Hertling said during a visit to Fort Jackson in January.” Hang on a second there sir. They may not carry the blades on their rifles, but they ARE available. More specifically, the M4, M14 and M16 all hold bayonets, which are an effective wire cutter as well as fearsome sharp pointy thingie. There’s also an M11 bayonet for explosives ordinance disposal (good luck with that). So, while it’s certainly true that charging at a line of defenders with a bayonet may no longer be the done thing, and the bayonet may not be a soldier’s best bet in close quarters fighting, and you can certainly put an eye out with that thing, perhaps someone should figure out something to do with a rifle-mounted bayonet before dropping the skill entirely. Just sayin’.

One Response to U.S. Army Drops Bayonet Practice

  1. Robert, I hear what you’re saying and certainly a lot of \old-timers who fondly(?) remember bayonet drills will agree, but I have to side with TRADOC here. The Army only has a finite amount of training time and getting young soldiers ready to duke it out with the Taliban in the way the war is actually being fought is more important than training with a highly symbolic (if occasionally useful) weapon. FWIW in 23 years of service I never had bayonet training outside of basic – if it really was a critical skill, army units would have trained on it constantly, the fact that they don’t says volumes.

    Also at the risk of being pedantic, the photo shows a couple of Marines, not Soldiers.

    Or was that just the point (sic) you were trying to make?

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