I suspect a lot of folks will disagree with the Army’s decision to end bayonet training in basic training. But it seems to be a matter of opportunity costs. In other words, what other things could you be teaching soldiers? One military historian had this to say:
Bayonet training is, in short, used to undo socialization – to “basically to try to mitigate or eradicate the reluctance of human beings to kill each other,” Mr. Kohn says. It is one of the challenges in US or Western society “where we have such reverence for the individual, where we socialize our people to believe in the rule of law, and all of that,” he adds. “What you’re doing with young people is trying to get them used to the highly emotional and irrational and adrenaline-filled situations in which they are liable to find themselves whether they are within sight of the enemy or not – and the reluctance to take a life.”
It would seem that for soldiers who are likely to end up in hand-to-hand combat situations, some knife and bayonet skills would seem to still be warranted. But I can see the logic in replacing it in basic training with other skills that might be more useful. What do some folks who have served in combat think about this?