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Bayonet training: missing the point

When it comes to the Army's decision last year to cut out bayonet training from basic, they are missing the point. Master Gunnery Sergeant Shane T. Franklin (USMC, ret.) writes at Guns and Patriots (Human Events):

In today's technology-driven battlefield there is a misconception on the value of bayonet training. The main focus of bayonet training is not to prepare Marines to "go over the top" in a massed bayonet charge as in World War I or the Civil War. Bayonet training is a physical means of developing and reinforcing a combat mindset. There are several factors in developing a combat mindset, some of which are hard physical training and mental training. The bayonet provides a physical vehicle for developing these as well as providing Marines with additional time handling weapons and moving with weapons.

A bayonet charge, Red Millet-style, is very unlikely to happen on today's battlefield. But that's not to say that it won't happen. And it is certainly no reason to take away something that will increase a soldier's ability to kill and stay alive in battle. More importantly, however, is that taking away bayonet training is removing what I would consider to be a key component of the soldier's warrior spirit.

Bayonet training has been around a long time. Even after the advent of technologically superior weapons systems there is still a reason for it. The primary weapons system of all Marines is the brain. Pressing buttons may be the most effective means of safely engaging the enemy, but this type of training does nothing to train the mindset of the Marine who must actually occupy the ground and deal with the enemy up close and personal. We must not discard or take for granted time-proven training methods because we have become so intelligent that we do not understand them

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