I have been quite busy here with work, and have not had a chance to follow the blog as I should. First I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of those who sent birthday wishes. It is truly humbling to see the outpouring of gratitude from perfect strangers on this website. I am ashamed that I have not reciprocated the good wishes of the readers of this blog. Please pass on my gratitude on behalf of myself, Nicole and the kleine mann.
Second I would like to address the postings of LTG Hertling. My current assignment is with the Command Group of the 1st Armored Division. The same division that LTG Hertling just left. My time with the General was albeit brief and in an indirect support role, but I was extremely impressed with his candor and professionalism. Respect is earned and not given. From speaking with others who did, I can say that have not seen a General (to include GEN Petraeus) more respected or admired then LTG Hertling. There are those that might doubt his gasp upon reality but I would offer the Generals own comments about his resume and add that I doubt that any of his detractors have led anything higher then a squad during combat operations in Iraq. Big Army makes decisions for the whole of the Army because of decades worth of Army experience. Bottom line; this guy is not a career staff officer nor is he an armchair General. Your readers should probably listen to him.
Yes, it is quite true that the Army has moved away from many Cold War common tasks. Ask any Infantryman when the last time he applied camouflage to himself or dug a foxhole and I am sure he will tell you "basic training". He can, however, raid and cover ground quicker then his predecessors. It is just the nature of how the war in Iraq is being fought. I would offer that when they did away with things like Sergeant's Time Training, a lot of fieldcraft was lost. So it is with bayonet drills. For better or worse it is just not the Army that many of the readers knew from the 80's and 90's.
The Army aside, the decision to take away the bayonet makes little to no difference to your mission focus. I would not doubt if your readers would prefer their KaBar's to the bayonet anyway.
Now it is obvious that I raised my kids to think for themselves and equally obvious that we disagree on this issue. However, the only time I winced was when reading this: "I doubt that any of his detractors have led anything higher then a squad during combat operations in Iraq."
If I may exercise a father's prerogative to gently chide his son, this is gratuitously and needlessly insulting to those of you, veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, who have emailed me and posted to the contrary of LTG Hertzler's opinion -- some of you who have told me you owe your lives to the bayonet and bayonet training. I'm sure he didn't intend it to be insulting to them, but that is how, I am positive, that they will take it.
Well, as I have said before many times, us Vanderboeghs are opinionated so-and-sos.
And since we are on the subject of bayonets, here are two photos of a Marine outfit in Iraq in 2004, forwarding by Irregular RCB with this comment:
K/3/1 USMC Fallujah assault 2004. Bayonets fixed. Photo from an embedded photographer with our unit.