I suspect a lot of folks will disagree with the Army’s decision to end bayonet training in basic training.Â 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 â€“ to â€œbasically to try to mitigate or eradicate the reluctance of human beings to kill each other,â€ Mr. Kohn says. It is one of the challenges in US or Western society â€œwhere we have such reverence for the individual, where we socialize our people to believe in the rule of law, and all of that,â€ he adds. â€œWhat youâ€™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 â€“ and the reluctance to take a life.â€
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?