Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Army to discontinue bayonet training in Basic?

Isegoria alerts us to what will be an enormous disappointment to JayG - the Army will stop bayonet training at their summer camps. The reason? Recruits are fat and lazy:

I mentioned a few months ago that the Army was dropping bayonet training from its boot camp — or Basic Combat Training. That’s not the only change, of course, and the Army’s own story sounds a bit defensive:

“A lot of these Soldiers come in and haven’t been in physical activities in high school so we start out with a preparation drill to warm up the muscles and go on from there,” said Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Parrish, who is a Fort Sill drill sergeant. “It used to be you take a Soldier and without the progression you may be putting too much on that Soldier. They’re going to inevitably get hurt.”

He said he’s seen less injuries so far with the new crawl, walk, run methodology. Even in the beginning if some of the Soldiers are more physically fit, he said they all progress to the end state where a rigorous workout is safe for everyone.

The Army is also taking a more holistic approach focusing on nutrition as well to keep Soldiers healthy and resilient.

“We talk nutrition from day one. The health of the Soldier is the bottom line. They’re going to be ineffective if they’re in sick call, so we make sure they get time to eat and that the food they’re eating is good for them,” said Parrish.

He also has a very interesting post about how the Mumbai Police don't know how to set their combat sights. It's not clear if this had an impact on the terrorist raid or not, but you'd think it would be hard to hit the Tango if you haven't been trained on how to set the sights on your battle rifle.


Eagle said...

But I'll betcha that most (if not all) of those recruits have great mouse/thumb reaction time while they're sitting on the sofa playing Call Of Duty or Medal of Honor.

'Cuz we ALL know that soldiers only need to know how to shoot, right? Ya don't have to run very far in those video games, and a knife is mostly useless as long as you collected ammo from a nearby marker... right?

What? Military life ISN'T like a video game? THAT'S NOT FAIR! MOMMY!!!!

Isegoria said...

To clarify, the army is dropping bayonet training, and its recruits arrive fat and lazy, but the cause-and-effect goes more like this: (1) The army is dropping bayonet training, because learning to fight with a bayonet is way down on the modern army's list of priorities, and (2) because its recruits arrive fat and lazy, the army simply can't push them as hard as it used to, because pushing them that hard won't make them stronger; it will break them.

These kids haven't worked on the farm. They haven't worked construction. They haven't done any hard physical labor at all. They haven't walked to school. They haven't even ridden a bike to school. The didn't say "bye" to Mom then go riding around town all day, playing in vacant lots, climbing trees, throwing rocks, etc. They have grown up ferried about in air-conditioned mini-vans. And these aren't the rich kids.

They didn't really make a personal choice to be lazy; it's just the way modern kids are raised.

So the army has to push them, but it starts at a much lower level than before.

ASM826 said...

Knife fighting and bayonet fighting are both close dirty work. Getting mentally prepared to drive 10 inches of steel into someone's chest cavity or throat, then turn the blade and pull it out, is not an easy process.

I remember the bayonet training at Parris Island, parrying the swinging arms and slamming the bayonet home, all the while yelling, "Kill!" I never had to use that training, so I don't know what I would do, but that is how we were trained in 1977.

Sarah said...

Bayonet training was one of my favorite parts of Basic. Of course, I couldn't move on my back through the obstacle course quickly enough to avoid being stabbed in the shin by the recruit coming up right behind me, but hey, it didn't bleed THAT long.

Anonymous said...

So long as the end result is competent, motivated soldiers I don't see a problem with the process adapting to different inputs.


The Czar of Muscovy said...

This actually occurred a while back. The army is dropping bayonet training because it doesn't happen anymore. Focus is on rifle shooting skills, which have waned a bit in recent years as soldiers learned on the M16 but then receive an M4. The emphasis is on better shooting accuracy, which I'm in favor of.

Additionally, H2H is taking on a greater emphasis. Rifle range is well outside bayonet range, and H2H well inside. And H2H training has been pathetic since the 1980s when the Army tried to ninja up the troops.

The notion that the Army is doing this because the troops are fat or lazy is absolute bullshit. Army recruits are arriving in vastly better shape than ever, actually, and are motivated and know what to expect from training. The draft is long over. The army regulars I know would be more than happy to pull the heads off anyone who thinks they're in sad shape.

Sorry if the old experiences differ. The Army has been making a lot of progress in keeping troops alive by focusing on the skills they seem to be using, and dropping the old traditional things that do little good today. I recommend if you like tradition for the sake of tradition only, the Navy is the better bet.