Many soldiers and civilians in the Pentagon will tell us bayonets and bayonet training is a vestige of an old fashioned Army less useful than the pinky finger. It is true that bayonet charges died a bloody death on the muddy fields of France almost a century ago, but until recently the Army believed there was intrinsic value in teaching this technique of last resort with an antiquated weapon.
The increasingly point and click, casualty adverse military culture does not bode well for the success of future wars. War is still not a video game and so units get overrun, soldiers’ weapons jam so what then? Now that the Army has decided to stop bayonet training are U.S. soldiers going to find themselves without the tools or the training to defend themselves?
Even if you argued these situations are so rare that they are not worth considering what about the intangible benefits of teaching our soldiers to be warriors – warriors whether they have missiles, rifles, knives or their bare hands? Do our military leaders really think this is less important than close order drill or sexual harassment training?