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The Spirit of the Bayonet

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The Spirit of the Bayonet

The Bayonet has been in the news lately. Unfortunately, this classic tool of war is now temporarily associated with people who have never been and will never be anywhere near a situation that would be improved by the proper employment of said instrument.

In today’s tech-heavy world, one can see how easily the un-trained, the uninformed and the un-educated could assume something as traditional as the bayonet is no longer needed or carried by our nation’s Combat Arms troops. I don’t know if the Navy or Air Force includes bayonet training in their respective Basic Training classes, so maybe only a fraction of the 0.45 percent of our citizens actually get to practice what to do with a big knife attached to the end of a gun. I can still remember learning the answer to one of the best questions to come out of Infantry Basic Training: “What is the Spirit of the Bayonet?” and we would all chant in unison “KILL, KILL, KILL!!!!!”

The bayonet comes in many forms, from the modern U.S.-issue that, while heavy, can cut wire when used with the sheath, saw wood by means of the serrations on the back and to some extent be used as a hammer if needed. There are plenty of pictures on the web showing troops with fixed bayonets, so it is still being used. (I think readers would appreciate hearing some recent bayonet stories from our Troops—I encourage them to send them in to the comments below.)

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