I read with sorrow a story this morning on Military.com that reported the head of Army basic training is moving to do away with bayonet skills.
It's funny that just a few days ago I was discussing with a colleague why the military has all but abandoned the bayonet. I mean, there is no more intimidating device than said blade protruding from the barrel of a rifle. Think of a squad of Marines storming a house in the battle of Fallujah with bayonets fixed...talk about devil dogs.
There's military effectiveness in having such a secondary weapon in close quarters battle when the quarters are REAL close. Taking the one and a half to two seconds to draw your combat knife from your armor could mean the difference between life and death. Having the bad boy already deployed for action could buy you those few precious seconds.
Besides, most of the combat knives hanging off Joes' armor and MOLLE aren't ever going to be used for anything more than tearing open a packet of country captain chicken.
But more than the tactical use of the bayonet, there's that strategic objective -- the intimidation factor. You have one of those bad boy Ka-Bars attached to your M4/M16, you're going to get noticed...and in a good way. The enemy is going to focus on that blade coming at them instead of you, when the doors are being kicked -- and besides, think of what the bad guys would think when they see that squad of Joes coming toward their compound with knives attached to their guns: they mean business.
Look, I understand Gen. Hurtling's dilemma: too much training means we gotta shave off some marginal skills. And and sure some of you are going to generate some convincing arguments that knives should be kept off the end of rifles based on today's longer-range engagements.
But let's take a step back and maybe get a little medieval on someone for a change. Maybe the intimidation alone will keep the enemy from firing a shot.
Just a thought...